As children, we had favorite toys — dolls, trucks, yo-yos — they were our constant companions. Yet we aged, and so did our toys most of the time. Some have found a way to keep their toys through life and make them into a profession.
Currently, there are 13 LEGO Certified Professionals in the world building sculptures and projects with special permission from the company. Sean Kenney is one of them.
“The LEGO Group selects people . . . whom they think best exemplify the fundamentals of building proficiency, enthusiasm and professionalism,” Kenney said.
However, it took Kenney time to get to there. Originally, he worked as a graphic designer in New York. Every night he would return home and build LEGO sculptures for friends. He realized it was his passion. He quit his job and began working for LEGO.
“It’s wonderful to see people enjoying the LEGO creations I’ve made. It inspires me to build even more cool things,” Kenney said.
Some of his favorites are an interactive toy store exhibit, a model of his old work labeled “Success,” and a 50,000 piece model of Greenwich Village.
Though his process varies from piece to piece, Sean said he starts with a sketch, proceeds to a prototype and then begins working on the full project — gluing the blocks together to ensure stability.
“Depending on the size of the sculpture, it can take anywhere from a few days to weeks or even months. And if the model is something that needs to be uniquely recognized, I spend a lot more time making sure it’s perfect,” Kenney said.
Kenney has worked with companies such as Chase Insurance, Google and the Philadelphia Zoo. He has made artwork, lamps and themed books with simple LEGO bricks.
“A sculpture made with LEGO bricks is fun and bright and something everyone can relate to. When you look at a LEGO sculpture you understand how it was put together, and maybe even can imagine doing it yourself,” Kenney said.
Currently, Sean is displaying his collection of nature themed LEGO sculptures. From an eight-foot-tall hummingbird to a mother buffalo made with 45,143 LEGO pieces, the collection is spread across Ames’ Reiman Gardens. With 27 sculptures in the collection, the nation-wide tour has been extended to 2015. The “Nature Connects” Collection is scheduled to stay in Reiman Gardens until Oct. 28. Then it will move to the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, Neb., in February.
Lego Sculpture Exhibit
Breakdown of number of legos to complete sculptures
- Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly — 37,481 pieces
- Mosaic -— 29, 587 pieces
- Rose — 41,242 pieces
- Water Platter and Koi — 14,740 pieces
- Germinating Acorn — 15,581pieces
- Green Darner Dragonfly — 6,535 pieces
- Bison and Calf — 61,372 pieces
- Garden Worker — 37,497 pieces
- Goldfinches — 575 pieces
- Lawn Mower — 13,704 pieces
- Humming bird and Flower — 31,565 pieces
- Fox and Rabbit — 18,908 pieces
- American Bumblebee — 16, 383 pieces
- Moth Orchid — 2,300 pieces