It's hard to imagine a world without Lego. From its ubiquitous bricks, to its theme parks, to the host of media tie-ins, via video games, movies, comics and more – Lego is the biggest toy brand on the planet.
In this post we've celebrated the Lego legacy (or should we say Legocy, ahem) by presenting you with some of the greatest models ever built. So sit back and enjoy, as we showcase the very best in Lego art, from both certified Lego professionals and some amateurs whose love for Lego knows no bounds.
01. Mystic Currency
"I like making art in difficult places," says Miami-based visual artist Dante Dentoni, who specialises in site-specific sculptural installations that mix Lego, cement and wood, along with ready made toys, to reveal a harmonic interconnectivity between physical and emotional environments.
Mystic Currency is a perfect example of his work; it takes the form of a corner of a wall where the plaster has been hacked away to reveal a Lego substrate beneath, and if you peer into the gaps you'll discover playful tableaux made up of Lego figures.
02. Afternoon of a Faun
David Hughes describes himself as a designer and artist who uses Lego bricks to create contemporary art. As well as flat Lego recreations of famous artworks, he also makes three-dimensional sculptures such as Afternoon of a Faun that are available to buy through his site, although be warned that they're built to order and don't come cheap. And if you're after your own special work of Lego art, David is happy to accept commissions.
03. New Money
Los Angeles-based Andy Bauch enjoys using bright and cheerful Lego bricks to explore darker, more complex subjects, and he employs computer algorithms and software assistance to create intricate mosaics that have a lot more to them than meets the eye.
His most recent exhibition, New Money, used 100,000 Lego bricks and $10,000 in cryptocurrencies to comment on the simultaneous freedom and volatility of rapidly developing digital currencies, and came with an irresistible twist: if you can decode Bauch's patterns you'll reveal the private keys to their wallets, and the money's yours to grab.
04. Batman Batarang
This brilliant Batman Batarang crash landed in London to mark the release of the Lego Batman movie. Made from 35,000 lego bricks, the creation took the team at Bright Bricks 225 hours to build, with broken pavement, smoke and lights (all non-Lego based) completing the scene of destruction.
05. JME – Integrity
Lego Albums is a project by Harry Heaton, an artist who recreates iconic album covers using the little bricks. The finished products resemble low-resolution pixelated versions of album art, but are nonetheless brilliant. This replica of JME's Integrity album is definitely one of our favourites. Check out Heaton's collection to find yours.
06. The Simpsons town of Springfield
Everyone loves the Simpsons, but veteran Lego artist Matt De Lanoy clearly loves them more than most. Just a few months after the release of the official Simpsons Lego set, he's recreated the entire town of Springfield in coloured bricks, including the Kwik-E-Mart, Moe's, Krusty Burger, the nuclear power plant and more. This image only shows one corner of his creation – see more on his Flickr page.
07. Warren Elsmore
Professional Lego artist Warren Elsmore broke records in March, with an exhibition of 72 Lego models. Attracting over 50,000 visitors, with 2,000 on the busiest day, the likes of the Olympic Park and St Pancras Station in London and the Forth Bridge were on show. His Las Vegas strip also proved hugely popular.
08. Jin Kei
Korean Lego artist Jin Kei has given life to one of the giant four-legged mammals from Salvador Dali’s painting The Elephants. The artist added his own steampunk twist with mechanical accessories, and at 32 inches, this makes for a seriously impressive piece of Lego art.
09. Back to the Future train
We were extremely excited to learn that Back to the Future Lego was a thing. Our excitement then prompted us to search for BTTF Lego fan art, which is when we came across this 19th century train by G Russo.
Russo is keen to get his design developed into an actual Lego set. And he's gone all out to try and ensure that happens, adding fine details including two side panels that fold open to reveal an overhead door, some foldout steps, and various controls, levers, pipes, and wheels for controlling the train.
10. Pixel Kiss
The talented team at Brickworkz create the most amazing custom Lego art work. One such example is this piece, modelled based on the Pop Art style of Roy Lichtenstein's Kiss V 1969.
Composed of over 20,000 Lego bricks, the cool mosaic currently resides at legal office of William Ellyson in Richmond, Virginia.
11. Lego aircraft carrier
This Lego aircraft carrier USS Harry Truman has got to be one of the most impressive creations on our list, in terms of size and detail. The 200,000 brick, 4.5m long, 350-pound aircraft carrier comes complete with electrical lights as well as moving elevators and radar dishes.
The epic sculpture, built by German Lego fan Malle Hawking, also includes a half submarine and a mini gunboat on the side.
12. Lego framed rainbow
After discovering the Lego Factory and latest Lego Digital Designer software, artist Simon C Page became hooked on Lego art design. And this Lego framed rainbow is his first creation.
Created out of 3,029 bricks, there are over 200 1×1 pieces of each of the 16 colours used throughout. "It has took me over six hours to put together and wasn't easy – stacking nearly 50 1 x 1 piece end to end nearly 50 times across, all the time keeping to a strict colouring pattern," he said on his website.
13. A futuristic Japan
Project Build Up Japan was sponsored and curated by the legendary toy brick makers and encouraged school children to build imaginary structures of a Japan that they wanted to see.
With a little help from their parents and a few Lego officials, children across Japan were able to create their country the way they wanted it. The total number of Lego bricks used was a jaw-dropping 1.8 million.
14. Lifesize Lego forest
How cool is this? This isn’t a child-sized toy set: it’s actually a lifesize Lego forest in the Australian Outback. It’s made up of 15 pine trees, and 15 flower sets, all 66 times bigger than their design toy counterparts – making the trees a whopping 4m high.
The iconic toy brick company built this amazing creation in Living Desert State Park, a 2400ha reserve more than 700 miles west of Sydney, as part of its 50-year anniversary celebration.
15. Lego advent
Last year, the UK's only certified Lego technician Duncan Titchmarsh built this huge advent calendar sculpture. Made up of approximately 600,000 bricks, the installation was unveiled in central London's Covent Garden shopping area.
Each door was opened at 4pm every day in the lead up to Xmas day. The presents behind each were also cool Lego creations. What an awesome way to celebrate the festive season.
16. Sea Monster
Take a trip to Disney World in Florida and you'll find this awesome Lego sea monster, Brickley. The cool character is made out of 170,000 Lego bricks, stretches a whopping 30 feet and weighs half a ton!
The brilliant sculpture is one of many found in Downtown Disney at the Lego Imagination centre. Other models include a Transformer, giant models of Woody and Buzz Lightyear and the Seven Dwarves.
Paul Hetherington – known in the Lego world as BrickBaron – had already given a sneak peek to this incredible creation, by showing off the lower structure full of mermaids, oceans and ships. Little did we know that it would actually play as part of a much larger sculpture featuring the God of the sea.
Poseidon was built for the Vancouver Lego Club's Mythology exhibit at the Surrey Museum; taking place from July until September 15th. The attention to detail is astonishing: we don't know if we'd have the patience to build something as impressive as this. You can see more photos of Poseidon, as well as Paul's other work on his Flickr page.
This stunning sculpture was created by Bram Lambrecht using LSculpt – a program which converts a triangle mesh into an LDraw file. Like the sphere generator, the generated model consists of a surface of 1×1 plates oriented in whichever direction provides the best detail.
We love that Bram has taken the time to create not only the body and branch but the shadow too. It's these details that make certain Lego sculptures stand out from the rest. You can see more of Bram's work on his official website.
19. Biggest ever Mario
Although created in 2009, this huge Mario sculpture still deserves a mention. Brick layer Dirk Van Haesbroeck took just over two weeks to finalise the plumber. Mario is comprised of 30,000 Lego bricks with the pedestal containing another 12,000. This video showcases the 160 hours of work in just over a minute.
Once the sculpture was finished, it was auctioned off on eBay in aid of Ronald McDonald, a Dutch organisation that arranges proper housing for relatives of hospitalised children in the vicinity of clinics. It sold for an impressive $5100. You can see more of Dirk's Lego art on his Facebook page.
Despite its short run on television almost ten years ago, fans of Firefly and film Serenity still express an intense love and passion for the Joss Whedon series. One such fan decided to build the ultimate homage to the sci-fi show with a replica of the ship Serenity.
Adrian Drake used around 70,000 Lego pieces and the project took 475 hours over the course of 21 months. The ship itself weighs an incredible 135 pounds due to the intricate details Adrian has included. You can more of Adrian's stunning Lego art on his website.
Next page: 20 more brilliant examples of Lego art
21. Pop-up book Lego art
What can we say about Nathan? Well, first off he's one of the, if not the biggest Lego artist around. Counting himself as one of the world's certified Lego professionals, when he's not jetting off around the world showcasing his artwork in prestigious galleries, he's at his studio creating the next array of Lego art masterpieces.
Here, the pop-up book is a celebration of Waldo H. Hunt – ''the king of pop-up.'' It's created entirely out of Lego (which is handy for this list) and is based around a poem Nathan wrote himself. You can see the said poem across the pages of the book, which we think is a lovely touch.
See more of Nathan's incredible work at his personal website. Or see below…
We could compile this entire list with Nathan's creations but we'll treat you to just two. Crowd has been trawling the United States for quite some time thanks to Nathan's popular exhibitions so you may have seen it before.
Inspired by the throngs of people walking the streets of New York, Crowd also gives us a sense of George Orwell's 1984 with its watchful eye. The blending of the Lego colours is a perfect example of how talented Nathan is; combining art and toys has never looked so good.
Both Pop-up book and Crowd are currently on tour as part of Nathan's The Art of the Brick exhibition. Schedule information can be found on his website.
23. Cool robots
Anyone who can call themselves a 'professional kid' and can make money from building robots (and other such things) out of Lego, definitely deserves a mention. Sean Kenney is another certified Lego art professional and does just that and has been making waves on the sculpture scene for quite some time.
In this video, the short tutorial coincides with the release of his book Cool Robots. He shows you how you too can become a Lego artist (who wouldn't want that?!) with the Lego pieces that you already own. Check out the rest of his work on his website.
24. The Love Boat Lego art
Australian designer Ryan McNaught is another artist who can claim to be a Certified Lego Professional on his CV – pretty cool huh? The Love Boat is just one of his incredible works and this photo is merely the middle interior. You can see the rest of the pictures, along with his other work on his Flickr stream.
McNaught specialises in interactive models and has even made a Qantas Airbus A380 incorporating Lego Mindstorms technology in the past. It's no wonder he has a stash of awards. You can contact Ryan via his website.
25. Movie Dudes
Angus Maclane is one of Pixar's many talented staff members. He has the distinction of working on almost every feature after joining the company in 1997 including Up, Wall-E and Toy Story 3.
If that doesn't make him talented enough, he is an avid Lego builder in his spare time. Take a look at his Flickr stream and you'll see that Angus has managed to create the likes of Gizmo, Indiana Jones, and Dennis Quad using only Lego pieces.
26. Star Wars star destroyer
We couldn't compile a list about Lego art without a mention of Star Wars, right? Lego's master builder Erik Varszegi compiled this amazing rendition of Star Wars' Venator class star destroyer using only Lego pieces. Just look at the size of it!
This 8-foot Star Wars Republic Attack Cruiser LEGO model is one of many creations made from Erik's hands. You can see more images for this Star Wars replica via this Flickr stream.
27. Obama's Inauguration
Lego Master Model builder Gary McIntire doesn't do things by halves. When Obama's inauguration took place on 20 January, 2009, he felt there was no other way to celebrate than with Lego.
Take a look at his amazing reconstruction of that monumental day, with hundreds of tiny Lego characters and a Lego White House so close to the real thing. Who knew Lego could make politics fun?!
28. Creatures of habitat at Philadelphia Zoo
We just had to feature another of Sean's Lego sculptures. This collection entitled Creatures of Habitat was created for Philadelphia Zoo to raise awareness of endangered species. And what could be more engaging than Lego animals?
Children flocked to see the sculptures which included a polar bear, penguins and monkeys on display during 2010. Sadly, the sculptures have now been safely locked away but you can still continue to support endangered animals – just not Lego ones.
29. Allianz Stadium
This Allianz Arena Lego replica was built following the original plans from Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron. It took an incredible 4,209 hours of work and over a million Lego pieces to create.
Inside, there are a staggering 30,000 miniature Lego figures to make up the audience. The stadium even contains interior LED lighting to glow red, white and blue to match that of the actual stadium. Special translucent bricks were commissioned for the project.
30. The Burn
Cole Blaq is an artist hailing from Germany. He's created some awesome Lego designs including his graffiti series. Here, Cole has managed to create an almost true-to-life burning fire using only Lego bricks.
The mixture of light to dark colours is what really makes this piece work. Although Cole isn't actually endorsed by Lego, we think they should be stopping by his website pronto!
Okay, okay, we know we should stop featuring his work but it's just so good! This giant Ruby-Throated Hummingbird magically hovers eight feet about the ground while getting its grub from a giant flower.
This piece took Sean and his team over four weeks to design and five weeks to build with 31,565 Lego pieces. We're still baffled about how Sean managed to keep the bird hovering in the air. It's currently on show at the Reiman Gardens in Iowa as part of Sean's travelling exhibition Nature Connects.
32. Working harpsichord
Henry Lim has a habit involving Lego which sometimes results in some incredible sculptures. With the exception of the wire strings, this instrument is entirely constructed out of Lego parts. And it is playable.
It took him two years of designing, theorising, collecting parts, building, testing and then building again. You can take a tour of the harpsichord or indulge in its history via his website. Lego art at it's very best.
Brooklyn based artist Jonathan Lopes has started working with Lego, recreating his beloved Brooklyn landscape. Although small in scale (it has to fit in his living room) the urban creation is breathtaking.
The buildings are real spots he walks past everyday and the finished product took him over two years to complete. The city has since been broken up into sections to be displayed around his beloved home city. You can see the rest of his work over on his website.
34. St Pancras Christmas Tree
We know it's a little early (or late?) to be mentioning Christmas but we couldn't help ourselves once we laid eyes upon this incredible Christmas tree that was placed in London's St. Pancras in 2011.
Commissioned by the UK's only certified Lego professional Duncan Titchmarsh and his team at Bright Bricks, the tree consisted of approximately 400,000 Lego bricks and remains as the biggest Lego tree in history. Who can beat them this year?
35. Life-sized Lego SUV
Back in September 2011, a Connecticut-based team of 22 master builders created a life-sized Lego SUV to mark the release Ford's 2012 production range. Sadly, the car doesn't actually drive or work in any way shape or form but it sure looks cool!
The team spent a gruelling 2,500 hours creating the car, using 380,000 bricks (that's around $40,000 dollars to you and me.) In its entirety, the car weighs over 2,600 pounds.
Shawn Snyder has got some serious Lego skills and one of our favourites is this Predator creation. We've had a bit of a love affair with Predator lately (thanks to our sci-fi addiction) and this just seals the deal.
Snyder has created a range of different predators on his website as well as Star Wars characters and superheroes. It's a truly impressive collection from a guy that counts Lego art as a hobby.
37. Princess Mononoke
Professional Lego artist Eric Hashburger says that qualities for a project must use bright, primary colours and be something that is part of pop culture – something that is easily recognised by most people, whether constructed from Lego bricks or not.
Here, he realised that characters from Japanese anime were prime subjects. This model of San from Princess Mononoke is just over 5ft tall and weighs around 80 pounds. Adrian is also quick to add that the sculpture is completey glue free. To see more of Hasburger's work, visit his Lego art website.
38. London Olympic Stadium
We've already mentioned Warren Elsmore, but his gold-standard creation deserves another mention. To celebrate the Olympics, Warren decided to build a homage to the stadium in Lego art.
The extraordinary work consists of approximately 250,000 standard Lego bricks and took Warren and his wife over 300 hours to construct.
39. Batman to Joker mosaic
Arthur has already created a number of impressive mosaics, including the Afghan Girl and Anakin morphing into Darth Vadar. However, we were most impressed by this incredible Batman and Joker creation. From one angle the picture is Batman and then from the other angle it slowly turns into the Joker.
Arthur believes that this is the fourth lenticular mosaic, with the first being Chris Doyle's mosaic Dorian Bley. You can see more of Arthur Gugick's incredible Lego art on his website.
40. Lost Worlds Dinosaur
Brickville DesignWorks is a commercial venture, with the goal of using Lego bricks and products to produce sculptures for events, displays and exhibits. The team is headed by Robin Sather, Canada's only certified Lego art professional.
This dinosaur sculpture was created for the Telus World of Science and is one of the company's largest creations. You can see more of Brickville DesignWork's Lego art on here.
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