Posted in Blogging, comics, Reviews

The Art of the Brick: DC Heroes

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So last week I got to attend a pretty awesome exhibition in London, it is a temporary display called The Art of the Brick: DC Super Heroes! It mixes two of my favourite things growing up as a kid Lego and Superheroes, I mean what more could you ask for? Plus I’m an artist myself and always enjoying seeing art in different mediums and this was an opportunity to see something really cool and different.

What is The Art of the Brick: DC Superheroes you ask?

I was unaware of this exhibit and remember seeing it through a sponsored advertisement on Facebook and it peaked my interest! The exhibit itself is the work of artist Nathan Sawaya who has combined two of his own passions together Lego and comic books, to create some incredible works of art in an excess of well over two million individual bricks throughout the exhibit.

This wasn’t just an art gallery thrown together overnight, Nathan did his research before attempting to create these incredible models. He was invited to DC Comics to take a look behind the scenes of what they do in terms of bringing these rich and vibrant characters to life, gracing our favourite comic books. This must have been really cool for him to meet the guys responsible for creating these amazing characters and stories and bringing them to life, which would definitely give any person inspiration for something like this exhibit.

I bought the art book of the exhibit when I was there and I really liked the introduction at the start as Nathan goes into his love and passion for both his love of Lego and Superheroes, then goes on to talk about how the exhibit tells a story and it had that effect on me. The one thing that stood out for me at the exhibit was how the sculptures themselves tell a story as you walk around and gives you a meaning of what it means to be a hero. I mean we may not have super strength like superman, the speed force in our DNA like The Flash or be able to bend our will to create weapons like Green Lantern, but each of us are a hero in our own rights and I think this is something that comes across within the exhibit.

I have included some images below which just show the entrance of the exhibit and at first glance I was like, oh holy shit this is gonna be awesome!

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As you enter the exhibit, the first thing you see are some huge comic book covers on the walls and this amazing sculpture of The Joker. I mean when you see it up close, you really see the different layers and the detail that has gone into this sculpture and it’s pretty freaking awesome to say the least! It captures the essence and charisma of The Joker and really is a great starting point for the exhibit:

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After walking through the start of the exhibit, watching a short introduction movie talking about the idea behind the exhibit, I came to the first room which featured Lego models of all members of the Justice League. This was a great start to the exhibit as it was cool seeing the different assortment of characters in Lego form, they had all founding members of the Justice League plus a whole variety of the other heroes that DC have at their disposal. The room was filled with heroes and comic book wallpaper on the walls which looked super cool, felt like I’ve stepped into the world of DC especially with music playing from the original cartoons shows of the 90’s. Check out below photos of all the Lego models in the first room of the exhibit:

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After I finished looking and taking photos of the models in this first room I then ventured onto the next one, which featured bigger models of each Justice League member. These models were built to a much bigger scale but the detail was just incredible, my favourite one for obvious reasons was The Flash model.

Check out photos from this room below:

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After this room, I walked into the third part of the exhibit which was the Fortress of Solitude Room. I’m not a huge Superman fan but colour me impressed with this room, shit man it had some pretty awesome models! One of the highlights was a piece showing Superman battling his way through a wall made up of his own cape, that was definitely a stand out piece.

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My next stand out part of the exhibit was the DC Dark Room, which was dedicated to some of the most iconic DC Villains. It was cool as there was huge comic book mosaics and damn they were impressive! One of my favourite ones was the Killing Joke DC comic cover, the number of bricks and time it must have taken to complete that must have been an insane amount of time. There was also a huge Joker head that had been constructed from a fair thousand different Lego bricks and it captured the essence of the clown prince of crime. Dotted around the middle of the room was Lego head skulls made in the form of some of Batman’s worse enemies, my personal favourite one was the Deathstroke skull. Then on the outside walls of this room were some bigger models on a bigger scale than the skulls, which included The Riddler, Harley Quinn and one of Superman looking in a mirror seeing Bizarro as his reflection. I mean I knew this exhibit would be dope but holy shit these models were so creative and carefully crafted.

Check out the DC Dark Room below:

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Next up on the tour was the Hall of Justice Room, needing no explanation was dedicated to all original members of the Justice League. This room was pretty special as it featured massive busts of each Justice League member, with accompanying comic book mosaic covers relevant to each hero. As you enter the room the first model is of Aquaman with his accompanying comic book cover which was vibrant in colour. The next model was of The Flash’s bust and his comic book cover featuring the Reverse Flash, again I did look at this one for a while as I am a massive fan of The Flash. Then walking around the room anti-clockwise, Green Lantern was the next one which was cool as his comic book cover featured a very crazy looking Hal Jordan. On the back part of the room was Wonder Woman and Cyborg’s models both with their comic book covers. Then in the middle part of the room was models of Batman and Superman, the two most iconic DC superheroes without a shadow of a doubt. They were a little bigger in scale compared to the rest of the Justice League members, but it was cool having them as the center piece of the room with their comic book covers on the adjacent walls. If you are a true DC fan then the Hall of Justice Room is definitely a highlight of the exhibit.

Check out below photos from the Hall of Justice Room:

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The second to last part of the exhibit was the Gotham Room which definitely was an epic display of Batman inspired models, probably the pièce de résistance of the entire exhibit. As you enter the room there is a massive Bat Signal constructed of just over 76,000 individual Lego bricks, which had a working light in the model which was so awesome to experience it up close. Then next to that was a massive scale model of Batman titled The Darkest Knight, which was constructed of almost 65,000 individual bricks. Behind this model was an interactive wall that had some cool animated images, showing Batman standing on a building, with bats flying around and some villains popping up like Cheetah. It was an awesome series of projections that appeared on the wall and it did had a cool atmosphere to the room. There was a shelf that had six different Batman cowl busts, all in various colours, each constructed of  440 bricks which looked really cool in the different variants. On that same side of the room was a bust model of Batman titled Building Batman, constructed of 6000 bricks. The model was half complete as it showed a work in progress and you could see the inside of the model and how it has been built in different layers. The final model in the room that I really thought was epic was a Batman Vs Superman model, constructed of almost 30,000 individual bricks. This was a stand out piece in this room as had the two iconic characters on a model of a city about to go at it, with the BVS logo made of Lego onto the buildings.

Check out below photos from the Gotham Room:

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Sadly after the Gotham Room it was the conclusion of the exhibit, which was the Batcave Room. This was awesome as you had to walk through a tunnel that was formed into a tunnel reminiscent of the Batcave from the comics. In this room was the mother of all models from the exhibit, it was a life-size scale of the Batmobile constructed of almost 500,000 individual Lego bricks. That’s half a million individual Lego bricks, I can’t even comprehend that amount of Lego or how long that must have taken to build! I just saw it and my jaw dropped to the floor as it was without a doubt the stand out piece of the whole exhibit for me. On the plaque next to the model it explained a little about how Nathan worked with legendary comic book artist Jim Lee on this model. I mean that must’ve been a real honour to have work with such a figure in the DC Comics world, for me that would have been a real privilege. The Batcave Room had concept art featuring different parts of Batman’s lair from the costume display cabinets, to the Bat Computer and different areas within the cave. It also had the theme from the original animated series cartoon playing in the background which added a nostalgic atmosphere to the room. I had a real solid look at  the Batmobile as the work that must have gone into building that model was just fantastic, plus the glowing headlights added character to the model.

Check out photos from the BatCave Room below:

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That concludes the end of The Art of the Brick: DC Heroes exhibit in London and what an experience I had! Each of the models in the themed rooms were just fantastic and you could really appreciate the time, effort and love that has gone into crafting these incredible scaled models. I really liked that with each model, there is a plaque that gave some detailed information into the character, why they are important to the exhibition and the number of bricks used for each model which I found really interesting to read…man i am such a nerd! All of the models are lit brilliantly that adds great composition to the models, meaning that each angle you look at gives off a different effect. This comes into play for the massive Joker head, grey kneeling Batman and the Batmobile especially.

I would definitely recommend this exhibition for any DC fan as I think it is something that any comic book fan should experience. You could do the tour really quick but I was in there a good couple of hours really examining each model and reading each plaque to get insight into the work and passion behind the artist. As this was definitely an exhibit that featured passion from a talented artist who thought outside the box, giving a fantastic end result. One thing that you will feel walking away from this exhibit is inspiration and a feeling of wanting to be creative. I mean for me personally, as soon as I walked out of the gift shop and out of the exhibit it really inspired me and got me thinking of getting back into my own creative work. I could not compliment the work of Nathan Sawaya enough as I think he and his team have done an absolutely incredible job with this exhibition and I would visit it again without a second thought.

So what are you waiting for? Go book your tickets now and experience something truly awesome!

 

 

 

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