Q&A with Nathan Sawaya - Creator of the largest LEGO skeleton

The Largest skeleton built with interlocking plastic bricks is the handiwork of Nathan Sawaya from the USA. At 6 metres (20 ft) long and comprising 80,020 pieces, 'Dinosaur Skeleton' is a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, meticulously built to scale. He built it over the summer of 2011 “in honour of the thousands of children who enjoy the art of LEGO building”.
Nathan Sawaya GWR LEGO skeleton

Not only did the amazing artist earn a record with LEGO bricks – he also makes his living from them as a LEGO Certified Professional. Here he reveals why the world’s most popular construction toy is also a great medium for expressing your creativity… 

What first drew you to LEGO?

I’ve been a full-time artist creating with LEGO bricks for more than a decade. Prior to that, I was playing with LEGO just like millions of other fans. I liked how LEGO could be anything I could imagine. If I wanted to be an astronaut, I built myself a rocket ship. If I wanted to be a rock star, I built myself a guitar. 
However as an artist, I like the distinct lines of the bricks. The sharp corners. The right angles. When you see one of my sculptures up close, you see all those rectangles and sharp corners. But when you back away from the sculpture and look at it from a different perspective, all those hard corners blend into soft curves. That’s the magic of sculpting with LEGO bricks.

What was the first sculpture you made as a LEGO Certified Professional?

I was already an established artist when the LEGO Company approached me regarding the Certified Professional status. It was an honour to be one of the first to be asked, and I was thrilled the company offered me this seal of endorsement. Although, I didn’t really change how I was working. I continued creating large-scale works of art, many of which are still touring the world in my exhibitions, The Art of the Brick. It does, however, make me feel proud.

Which has been the most challenging model you’ve built?

Typically the larger the sculpture, the harder the challenge and there are some pretty big works in my portfolio including a 20-ft-long (6.1-m) T-rex skeleton, which is the largest LEGO brick skeleton.
The T-rex was a beast to build, but I’d have to say the most challenging so far has been my take on a life-size Batmobile. It tours the globe as part of The Art of the Brick: DC Comics exhibition.
The jet-black sculpture measures over 18 ft (5.4 m) long, is 7 ft (2.1 m) wide and weighs 1,500 lb (680 kg). It took more than two months to create and uses half a million bricks. It was thrilling when Warner Bros. asked for my interpretation of this iconic vehicle. Between the design, construction and installation of the Batmobile, it tested every limit. It was also daunting in that everyone is familiar with Batman and his superhero ride. It’s practically a character itself in the world of comics, film and across most media.
Nathan Sawaya


How did it feel to earn your first Guinness World Records title?

When I earned my first Guinness World Records title, I felt like a little kid. I remember being nine years old reading GWR books and wanting to set a record so badly. Any record. When I finally did set a record many years later... it was awesome.

Any tips for budding LEGO professionals of the future?

Don’t get discouraged. Have patience. Creating large LEGO sculptures can take time. But also remember to have fun. There is no wrong way to create art. Try everything and remember creativity and art are not optional, I believe they are necessary and have the power to make you happier, healthier and smarter.  

Finally, do you have a favourite LEGO Minifigure?

I do have a favourite Minifigure... Just like with all my art, I created it myself.  It has Batman’s cape and cowl, Darth Vader’s head and the body of Santa.  I call it Darth Bat Claus.
For more exclusive interviews with blockbuster stars, be sure to check out Blockbusters! 2017.
Blockbusters pack shot