World Peace by Playing

posted in: Art, Reviews 2

Last night I watched “The Lego Movie” on DVD and really loved it. It reminded me how much I love Legos and how much of an influence that toy was for me as a child. In 2003 I made a special artwork for a show of Lego models by artists that traveled around Japan. Here is the painting, which was based on some actual Lego models I had made with my own kids, probably sometime in the 1990’s. Some of the Legos in my kid’s collection were vintage parts from my own Lego collection from the 1960’s. Here is a photo of the model:


I made a little house for this couple that includes a rotating look-out tower and a palm tree.


The movie well portrays the culture of Lego play, which includes a tension between following directions to make distinct “realistic” models and freestyle improvisation. When I was a child my approach was to try to follow the instructions first, and then use that understanding to make my own original creations. I’m still a read-the-instructions first type of person. The movie makes the point that everyone has the ability to be creative, and that creativity may express itself in many different but all valid ways. There is strength in following instruction and building realistic models, and strength in free design. Cool. In fact, the “Follow Instructions” people and the “Freestyle Improvisation” people need each other in order to survive and prosper. So that leads me to WORLD PEACE BY PLAYING! Yea! Rock on Lego toys forever!

Review from the New York Times

2 Responses

  1. Ryan Silberman
    | Reply

    I saw The Lego Movie in theaters and I absolutely ADORED it! The rapid-fire comedy had me laughing the whole way through, and its message on creativity/instruction-following really hits home. It makes me wish I still had the big buckets of Legos my older brother once had under his bed.
    (And on another note, I have The Lego Movie game on Wii U)

    Nice painting and cute models! ^_^

  2. Roshi
    | Reply

    Hmmm, I am writing a piece about “Right Concentration”, the last of the eightfold path, and this discussion about following instructions and playing fits perfectly into instruction for meditation – fits just like the two noses in the painting. What happens when they kiss?

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