Nathan Sawaya uses the tiny coloured bricks he played with as a child to create awe-inspiring creations that tour the world, and his exhibition The Art of the Brick opens Wednesday at the Canada Science and Technology Museum.
"I got my first Lego set when I was five years old," says the Los Angeles-based artist, and like many children he enjoyed building cars and trucks with the tiny bricks.
But it wasn't until he was 10 — when his parents refused to get him a dog — that Sawaya discovered what a bit of imagination combined with the little bricks could really accomplish.
"I tore down all my [Lego] sets and used the bricks to build myself my very own life-size dog," Sawaya recalled.
"These bricks can be whatever I imagine. It doesn't have to be what's on the front of box."
Sawaya was working as a lawyer New York City but was drawn to making art, and in his spare time tinkered with his first love, Lego. In 2002 he left his firm and devoted his life to making brick art full time.
He estimates he uses hundreds of thousands of bricks every month, and spends an average of two to three weeks on each creation.
The Art of the Brick is a survey of his works that includes original sculptures as well as Lego renditions of great works of art, including Michelangelo's David and the Mona Lisa.