Do you remember the joy and fun you had playing with Lego as a kid – how it was only limited by your imagination (and your parents ability to withstand Lego pieces on the floor)? At some point, you probably thought, “Man, I wish I could just play with Lego all day!”. Well, you know what? There is actually an artist who does just that. Yeap, the lucky guy plays with Lego for a living.
Science may be the calling of some, while others have a penchant for business. But in today’s modern world, anything is possible, and there are always a few brave and artsy characters who exercise their courage and conviction to take their artistic careers seriously.
Here are 10 people (including the Lego Master) who have managed to combine work and play in a way that’s not only enriching but fun.
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1. Nathan Sawaya – Lego Artist
Based in New York, Nathan Sawaya is not just a full-time artist; he’s a Lego Certified Professional. He is acknowledged as one of the first people to have brought Lego into mainstream art.
With more than 2.5 million colored bricks at his disposal, Sawaya creates mostly 3-dimensional sculptures and massive portraits. Depending on the size and complexity, he takes his time with his work, delivering some astounding results.
From geeky sculptures like Han Solo in Carbonite to poignant pieces like Heartfelt, he uses Lego to create something visionary. His show, The Art of the Brick, is currently touring through museums throughout the world.
2. Dylan Blau – Stop Motion Animation Artist
There are some rare gems that you’d be able to find on Vine. Dylan Blau’s Vine would be one of these rare treasures. A freelance animator and a stop-motion animation artist, he has garnered quite a bit of attention thanks to his unique and CGI-free stop-motion videos.
He started off working with clay but now prefers paper when working on his projects. However, he does experiment with other props, such as red bull cans and Post-it notes.
As most of his work is on Vine, the Swiss University student constantly pushes himself even further to precisely construct a beautiful 6-second video.
3. Kseniya Simonova – Professional Performance Sand Artist
Sand is not a usual medium for many artists. However, Ukrainian artist Kseniya Simonova rose to fame for her talents in sand animation. So much so that she won Ukraine’s Got Talent in 2009, with some awesome sand-bending skills. She doesn’t just use sand to create art; she uses it to tell a story.
Her husband actually sold his printing equipment so that he could buy 3 kilograms of volcanic sand for her to work with. As a live-perfomance artist, Simonova puts in long hours, often standing, to perfect her craft.
She has and still performs for audiences around the world, including heads of state and even royalty.
4. Jack Wall – Video Game Music Composer
Have you ever thought about who might be responsible for the epic orchestral music in a video game? Jack Wall is one of these people. He’s a video game music composer. He has created different scores for some well-known video game franchises, his most famous work being the soundtrack for the Mass Efffect franchise.
Depending on the projects that he’s working on, Wall seeks inspiration in the music that he wishes to create for the games. Locations, melody and timing all come together for him during this process.
He’s also co-creator of the Video Games Live concert series and creates his own original music.
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5. Kirk Rademaker – Professional Sand Sculptor
Unlike most people who are stuck working indoors, Kirk Rademaker can usually be found on the beach with his toes in the sand. Don’t be deceived, though, he’s hard at work. Kirk has been sculpting sand professionally since 1997, making him a true veteran.
The mechanical sand sculptures, his trademark of sorts, that he creates are not only large but also beautifully detailed.
Television shows, movie stars and presidential candidates are just some of his clients. He’s been featured with five other professional sand sculptors in the TV show called “Sand Masters”.
6. Chico MacMurtrie – Robotics Art Expert
When most of us think of robots, we think of mechanical and cold objects with no emotions. Chico MacMurtrie, the founder of Amorphic Robot Works (ARW), is an artist who creates robots and transforms them into works of art filled with a certain awkward beauty.
Currently based in Brooklyn, Chico and his team are responsible for various sculptures and installations that have been shown all around the world, from Madrid to China.
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Their most recent work, the robotic church (above), is an installation and performance series featuring 35 computer-controlled sculptures, each with their own unique ability.
7. Tony Swatton – Blacksmith
When people still carry swords, you would need someone capable of making sure that your weapon is always looked after. This would be a blacksmith. Meet Tony Swatton, a modern day blacksmith.
He owns a shop called “The Sword and the Stone” that specializes in custom-made arms, armor and props. Some of them have even been featured in various movies such as The Matrix Reloaded,The Hunger Games and Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. Check out Captain Jack Sparrow’s sword; yup, he made it.
Tony is famous for his youtube show, Man at Arms, in which he creates life-sized replicas of weapons from pop culture. That’s anything from Batman’s Batarang to a Halo Energy Sword. Whatever work he does, Tony’s fiery passion comes through in his craftsmanship and attention to detail.
8. Gary Hecker – Foley Artist
As a foley artist, Gary Hecker’s task is no easy one. He creates the sounds in post-production that help aid in the sound design of a film. After all, what would Star Wars be without the buzzing sound effect of the lightsaber? I bet you can hear the clash lightsabers make in this image below. You can thank (or blame) foley artists for that.
Hecker has worked on The Empire Strikes Back and Pacific Rim among other movies. The tools that he uses to create the sound that he needs range from sand, spatula, to actual swords.
This, of course, depends on what’s suitable for the movie. As part of his profession, he’s constantly looking for ways to make new sounds that add a new level of detail to a movie.
9. Patrick Tatopoulos – Creature Designer
Aliens, mythical creatures and monsters that make you cower in a corner. These are just some of the creatures that Patrick Tatopoulos designed through the years. As a creature designer, he is responsible for conceptualizing and bringing to life these other world beings.
Having worked on films such as Spawn and Silent Hill, Patrick has worked hard starting off as a concept artist and then making a steady climb up to where he is today.
He was also a judge for the first two seasons of Face Off, which pitted prosthetic makeup artists against each other. His most recent work is the french film, Beauty and The Beast.
10. Jane Perkins – Plastic Artist
Although Jane Perkins has a background in textiles, the one thing that she loves to create with these days is plastic. She cleverly recycles plastic trinkets and objects and turns them into beautiful works of art in the fashion of various famous paintings. Her first one being Matisse’s Portrait With a Green Stripe while Girl With a Pearl Earring is her most famous, with good reason.
What truly makes her pieces stand out is the thought and care she puts into picking the right objects and colors for her art.
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She’s made intricate portraits of recognizable figures like the Afghan Girl (above) and since 2010 has continued creating ‘Plastic Classics’, where she reinterprets the artwork of old masters like Van Gogh.