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Self-described “brick artist” Nathan Sawaya is known for his incredible art pieces constructed with LEGO. Sawaya was a New York City lawyer until 2004, when he made the courageous decision to make art his profession, even while saddled with $100,000 in debt from student loans. Now that his intricate pieces have garnered attention from clients worldwide, including Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, Sawaya spends six figures on LEGO pieces annually. Some of his large-scale works — such as a six-foot-tall Han Solo frozen in carbonite (shown in the gallery above) and a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton twenty feet in length — require as many as 80,000 LEGO pieces.
Sawaya’s success is a testament to people following their passions, regardless of whether the idea seems likely to bear fruit. He said of his career:
“I had creative periods now and again, but it wasn’t until I was practicing law that I really needed a creative outlet. I’d come home from long days at the office and draw, paint, and sculpt from clay, wire–even candy. I liked the concept of something additive in nature–where small pieces lead to a larger form. That’s when I thought, ‘What about this toy from my childhood?'”
The rest, as they say, was history.