The standard 2x4x1 Lego brick has been a well known object since the year 1958. Generations of children and adults worldwide are now able to see this humble brick, and from there a vast number of us can immediately start imagining what 3D models of artwork can be built with it.
Yet in fact there is not just one kind of Lego brick. There are indeed well over 2000 different Lego bricks that work with the standard brick we can all immediately identify, in many shades of colour. Thus it is well and truly possible to build just about anything with Lego, be it sculptures, mechanical machines or robots. All that we need to add to these bricks is our own imagination and creativity, which is in truth infinite.
A major misconception about Lego is that it’s frequently disregarded as a “child’s toy”. It is true that many children like Lego, yet due to the small size of standard Lego bricks Duplo and Lego Juniors is strongly recommended for children under school age. Yet a very large number of adults like and build with Lego too.
When it comes to Lego (and any other form of art) nothing much can be done with the required materials alone. We ourselves have to do the work in order to create interesting results. This is the case with various materials including Lego bricks, pens and pencils, musical instruments, paint and much more. At the very beginning of our lifetime we can all create (at the very least) disorganised colours and sounds with them. However as we continue to grow and then gain more skill, we can create far more interesting things with those materials.
Ironically I wasn’t a fan of Lego until my parents got me a Harry Potter Lego castle for Christmas as an 18 year old. Beforehand I dismissed it as a mere kids toy. Though once I had finally put together my first Lego set I thought very differently. For the past ten years my collection of sets has grown enormously and I now have a Harry Potter themed Lego village/train set that I’m continuing to build (part of this is shown in the picture to the right). Initially I would build sets I’d find in the shop. Yet now we have a Lego Store at our local theme park, Dreamworld and I’m able to buy containers of individual and unique pieces from the Pick a Brick Wall. Thus I can now do a combination of Lego sets and adding creations of my own to the mix. Very often I even mix-and-match sets during the process.
I’ll end this written piece by saying that building with Lego involves us using an equal combination of mathematical and artistic skills, which are two very different ways of thinking that are rarely ever combined. Also, while we are building a three dimensional model of an object or machine, we’re able to learn the logistics of how things are made. Along the way we’ll also pick up skills of engineering, architecture and mechanics. No other activity (including computer games, video games or apps) can offer this opportunity nearly as effectively.
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