Well this is a bit of a different one but who doesn’t love Lego? 😀
Originally posted on The AU Review.
Ryan “Brick Man” McNaught is the only LEGO Certified Professional in the Southern Hemisphere, whose incredible LEGO-building career spans models and mosaics vast! The AU caught up with the Brick Man ahead of the arrival of more than 50 of his original works in Sydney to chat about the Brick Man Experience, super-secret building tips and everyone’s favourite little coloured bricks.
What is your first memory of Lego?
I was 3 years old, and my grandmother Hazel bought me a LEGO set from coles, I remember very clearly playing with it on the floor next to grandads chair.
You were originally an Information Technology Manager. How and when did you decide that wasn’t the path for you and that your destiny was paved by little bricks…?
Like most career changes it just sort of happened, I was doing more and more LEGO projects after hours and it eventually was like working 2 jobs, so I had to make a decision, which of course was easy when you had to choose the board room or a LEGO workshop!
How does one become a Lego Certified Professional?
There is only 12 of us in the world and each of us became one in a different way, so there is no set path per se, how I got it was I was working with mindstorms which is the LEGO robotics system, and I wrote some software to let mindstorms work with the ipad, so kids could control models from their ipads. Anyway some guys from LEGO saw it and we got chatting from there.
What is the standard process for approaching a new model?
It’s all about research before we even pick up a brick, its about learning about what we are going to build, on average every project has about 10% research time. The more we understand what we are creating the better the outcome. From there we will do sketches and drawings before we actually build.
At any one time about how many Lego bricks do you have?
It’s not easy to keep count, but its around the 5 million brick mark give or take, it also depends on what projects we are working on.
Do you have a favourite Lego piece that you have built?
The LEGO colosseum is my favourite, it was such a difficult model to build, it has a lot of little secret detail things in it too.
What can audiences expect from the “Brickman Experience”?
I’ve got over 60 models on display, some of the largest ever seen in Australia and I’ve got plenty of things for people to help me build too. I’ve also got a couple of secret never seen before models which will be unveiled just for Sydney!
And finally, do you have a super-secret special tip for all Lego builders out there?
Build things you love, if you are into space, then build rockets, or if you like trains, building things you are interested in means you add a whole heap of passion into your models, and that really shines through. Also don’t be afraid to build the same thing a few times, each version will get better and better.
LEGO! Ah, the world’s most popular toy. There’s something just so magical about these little coloured bricks that holds the adoration of children and adults alike. That love of building and creating is something we never seem to grow out of, thank goodness. Now you can see the work of one such man who has dedicated his life to our beloved bricks and become The Brickman (Ryan McNaught), the only Lego Certified Professional in the whole Southern Hemisphere. In The Brick Man Experience: An Exhibition of LEGO Works you get to see some of his most incredible LEGO creations right up close, and feel that little pang of longing to play.
As you enter the exhibition you are greeted with some fun factoids about LEGO, for example 1989 was the year that our little yellow characters first received their multiple facial expressions (extra fact- they were with the pirates collection!). But as you enter into the big exhibit room prepare to be wow-d.
From the first piece, an amazingly ombre giant flower, to the Opera House and Colosseum, to a giant ship, a space shuttle, a Ferrari, a helicopter. Everything makes you stop and inspect with careful wonder at the amount of incredible detail and just HOW MANY BRICKS are in each and every one. Most of the models are two sided, showing the outside and the incredible inside. You could stand there and explore the inside of the Opera Hall for hours (although you may face the wrath of Jabba the Hutt). The Colosseum is split into old and new, one side showing its original form in the age of Gladiators, the other as a work of restoration and popular tourist destination. My favorite piece was the giant ship though! With something different in each and every little room, and even carefully thought out ballast at the bottom of the ship.
The exhibit also recognizes that seeing all these LEGO models makes hands twitchy to build, so along the way there are several chances to get your hands on some bricks. There are two large murals underway, made with little squares that everyone can build on to contribute to the picture, and there is also a large area for kids to get building as Brickmen in Training.
The Brick Man Experience is fun and exciting for children of all ages (even the fully grown ones). There is plenty to be amazed by, and everything is close enough to see clearly (but far enough away to worry about little determined hands) that you can quite easily spend your time just watching the story of the model unfold through the carefully planned and executed detail. Mr Brickman, I’d love to build LEGO with you sometime!