Rialto Center for the Arts

Nathan SawayaNathan Sawaya is a New York-based artist who creates awe-inspiring works out of some of the most unlikely things. His art focuses on large-scale sculptures using only toy building blocks: LEGO® bricks to be exact.


Sawaya was the first artist to ever take LEGO in to the art world. For years, Sawaya’s critically acclaimed exhibition – The Art of the Brick® – has entertained and inspired art lovers and enthusiasts. Now, with multiple exhibitions touring North America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East, Sawaya is inspiring millions around the globe. Each exhibition focuses on LEGO as an art medium. The creations, constructed from nearly one million pieces, were built from standard bricks beginning as early as 2000. In 2011, CNN named The Art of the Brick on of the top 12 must see exhibitions in the world.


Born in Colville, Washington and raised in Veneta, Oregon, Sawaya’s childhood dreams were always fun and creative. He drew cartoons, wrote stories, perfected magic tricks and of course also played with LEGO. His days were filled with imagination. When it came time for college, Sawaya moved to New York City and attended NYU. He attended NYU School of Law and became an attorney. But soon he realized he would rather be sitting on the floor expressing himself with LEGO bricks, than sitting in a board room negotiating contracts.


It was then that Sawaya rediscovered his beloved LEGO bricks and indulged in his inner child to create what many believe is a new art revolution using LEGO as an art medium.


Today Sawaya has more than 3.5 million colored bricks in his New York and Los Angeles art studios. His work is obsessively and painstakingly crafted and is both beautiful and playful. Sawaya’s ability to transform LEGO bricks into something new, his devotion to scale and color perfection, the way he conceptualizes the action of the subject matter, enables him to elevate an ordinary toy to the status of fine art.


Sawaya’s art form takes shape primarily in 3-dimensional sculptures and oversized portraits. He continues to create daily with the brick medium while accepting commission work from from around the world.


Lately, Sawaya has been leaving his mark with his own form of street art. Dubbed “Hugman”, Nathan has placed hundreds of these 15-inch tall LEGO figures hugging such things as sign posts, bicycle racks and park bench legs around the world.


For more information about Nathan Sawaya and his artwork, visit brickartist.com.
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