LEGO Evolves As an Art Form in a New Highly Stylized Soho Exhibition
March 6, 2013



Feb 28, 2013 – Mar 17, 2013


New York, NY (February 11, 2013) – LEGO® is out of the toy box and into the art gallery.  New York-based contemporary artist and celebrated sculptor Nathan Sawaya is debuting a brand new collection of artwork entitled IN PIECES, a multimedia collaboration with award-winning Australian photographer Dean West. 

Sawaya is best-known for his preeminent and iconic work out of LEGO, while Australian photographer West specializes in hyper realism imagery.  The two artists spent years traveling and working together to blend their crafts resulting in the IN PIECES collection of visually stunning two-dimensional images that are exhibited with corresponding and complimentary three-dimensional LEGO sculptures.

“I’m excited to debut a new form of LEGO art and to continue to take this childhood toy into a new frontier of sophisticated contemporary art,” said Sawaya.  “LEGO is no longer just for building cars and trucks, it’s a legitimate art medium and I’m proud to have been on the forefront of what is evolving into a bit of an art revolution for the toy.”

IN PIECES features a series of large-scale tableau compositions based on ideas about nature, culture, society and more specifically, identity.

“Identity as a cultural creation has been heavily commercialized and manipulated,” said West.  “We wanted to prominently portray this by mashing up our artistic styles and mediums into a highly stylized representation of contemporary life.  The integration of Nathan’s unique sculptures adds an innovative and compelling element to the narrative and aesthetic of the collection.”

West and Sawaya collaborated on every element of these pieces of artwork.  The duo traveled to various locales in California, Toronto, New York, Utah and Nevada to photograph the scenes for these stories.  Sawaya built the featured sculptures piece by piece, trying to capture the illusion that the LEGO sculptures are native to the setting.

IN PIECES, presented by Avant Gallery, will launch in New York City on Thursday, February 28th at the Openhouse Gallery (201 Mulberry Street) in SoHo.   The exhibition will be open daily to the public from February 28th – March 17th (10:00 AM – 6:00 PM).  For more information on IN PIECES please log onto:  Appointments are available.


Nathan Sawaya had a promising career as a practicing attorney when he walked away and to become an artist nearly 10 years ago.  Now he no longer negotiates contracts in a boardroom, but instead creates awe-inspiring art exclusively with LEGO bricks.  Nathan’s artwork is seen around the world in exhibitions, entitled THE ART OF THE BRICK, and in galleries in New York, Paris, Miami and Hawaii.  See more of his work at

Dean West is an acclaimed and award-winning photographer who specializes in highly conceptual and thought-provoking contemporary portraiture.  His body of work has been featured in top photography magazines and art galleries around the world.  Born in Australia and currently living in Toronto, Dean has also been named “one of the world’s best emerging photographers” by After Capture Magazine and included in Saatchi & Saatchi’s collection of the world’s top 100 emerging photographers.  See more of his work at



The IN PIECES images have been constructed by combining West’s modern photography techniques and Sawaya’s unique sculptures made out of LEGO. Key to the series narrative and aesthetic, Sawaya’s sculptures are much like the construction of a digital photograph. Thousands of bricks are glued together to form recognizable objects much like the assembly of pixels in a digital image. The similarities in technology not only help shape the aesthetic of IN PIECES, but they are key to deconstructing each tableau composition.

Using mostly frontal style imagery of the North American landscape, the simple unvarnished vernacular locations, reference the American Picture Postcard. Pastel blues, greens and yellows wash across the photographs as if, they themselves, had also been hand colored lithograph. The imagery from a distance, appears entirely photographic, however as the viewer begins to digest the imagery, each work reveals the brick by brick fabricated construction.



Founded in 2007 by Dmitry Prut, the Avant Gallery in Miami, Florida is a 5,000 square foot space featuring a collection of local and international designers and artists such as Marcel Wanders, Arik Levy, Phillippe Starck, Nathan Sawaya, Alejandro Vigilante, Alec Monopoly and  Guy Le Baube, among others. The gallery attracts a high profile clientele that runs the gamut from movie stars to professional athletes, to musicians, famed interior designers and artchitects, to some of the world’s leading art collectors.   With Prut’s early interest in the arts, and his fearless approach in business, his success as an entrepreneur in the art world comes as no surprise.  In the January 2012 “Best of the City” issue of Miami Magazine, Avant Gallery topped the list by coming in first overall.

Avant Gallery represents, promotes and showcases artists and talent from the disciplines of contemporary art, design and passionate manufacturing – ranging from the world-renowned presently in the peak of their career, to the newest, emerging, and brilliant as-of-yet unknowns who are making their mark on the world’s colorful collage.  For more information please visit:


Daniel Pickett
Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since. In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features. He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced. In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s “Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on,,, Boing-Boing,, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows. But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.
Read other articles by Daniel Pickett.




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