An In-depth Look at Nathan Sawaya, the LEGO Brick Artist.
Who graduates from NYU Law School and becomes a corporate attorney for a well known international firm just to give it all up to play with LEGOs? Nathan Sawaya did just that. Once a corporate attorney for an international law firm, he is now a full-time independent artist who presently has exhibits in New York, Miami and Maui. His artwork has been exhibited in countries all over the world and is nothing short of incredible. He has built custom lego brick art pieces for several events, trade shows as well as corporate logo sculptures. He has made almost everything you can think of out of these little plastic bricks like umbrellas, portraits, life size replicas, animals, figures and objects.
A Hobby Becomes A Business / Career Opportunity
Sawaya’s story is a model for any business owner or professional who wants to take their business and/or career in a new direction even when it may seem risky to others. Sawaya left a career as an attorney which for him was relatively safe but not necessarily fulfilling, for a career as an artist. Not just any artist, a LEGO brick artist. Sawaya was determined and decided to literally build a new career based on something he was passionate about. Gaining national attention as an artist in 2004 by winning a national search for a professional LEGO Master Model Builder, Sawaya has been enamored with LEGOs ever since he got his first set at 5 years old.
By turning his hobby into a career, Sawaya proves that there is nothing better than making a living doing something you love to do. It also proves that no matter what career or business you started, it is never too late to make a change. We do not have to be cemented to our first choice. There is always risk in business and there is no greater investment than when we first invest in our own ideas and strengths even when some would consider them just hobbies.
A Life Long Passion Defines A Brand
Sawaya went from having a career as an attorney to becoming a brand. Even with a degree from NYU, being an attorney was not as fulfilling as creating awe-inspiring art with LEGOs. In an interview with Image Magazine, Sawaya said that rather than use his desk-top to study, he used it to build a model of Greenwich Village, NY. Sawaya did not allow his law degree to define who he was or in which direction his career would inevitably go. Too often we feel like we have already invested a lot in ourselves or our business and are not willing to try something new even when what we are doing is not what we are passionate about. Sawaya proves that it is never too late to make a change and the change does not have to be limited to the confines of what we studied in school. By default you are going to more than likely have a wealth of knowledge on things you are passionate about. Never underestimate just how much you know and didn’t learn from sitting in a class but rather from life experience and interest. This knowledge is just as important as what was learned in school and in cases like Nathan Sawaya’s more profitable as well as fulfilling.
The LEGO Bricks Build Success and Promotion
Branding is when you market a product using the creation of a name, symbol and/or design that identifies and differentiates your product and/or service from other products or services. Clearly Sawaya has accomplished this by literally using building blocks to success. Although Nathan Sawaya is not alone when it comes to creating art with LEGOs, what makes his artwork unique and sets him apart from other artists is the type of LEGOs he uses. Sawaya’s creations are unmatched in the world of LEGO art because he has limited his creations to LEGO bricks only. In doing this Sawaya is not just a LEGO artist, he is a LEGO Brick Artist, creating a brand for himself.
Sawaya has brought LEGOs to the forefront of the art world. His work will be and probably already has been seen by many people who may have never thought about buying LEGOs. Think of all of the people that have seen his creations worldwide. This has become a wonderful promotional marketing tool for LEGO. LEGO describes their bricks as their most important piece and the foundation of their brand. The LEGO brick that is available today was first made available in 1958. Through the artwork of Sawaya we see that 55 years later LEGO bricks are still relevant and a whole new generation is introduced to what can be created with just the use of LEGOs and imagination. If I were on the board of the LEGO, Sawaya would be one of my favorite people.
So what are the building blocks to success? I think passion, creativity and ambition are key characteristics to get you started.
How have you used an idea that would be considered by most to be a “Hobby” as a way to promote your business?
What steps did you take to build your Brand? Would you leave your career to follow your passion?