Emergence of an Artist (from a Lawyer)

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I recently learned about the work of Nathan Sawaya, a former corporate lawyer in Manhattan who left the practice of law to — no kidding — become a full time LEGO® artist, as he explained here:

To ease the stress of being a corporate lawyer in Manhattan, I built sculptures out of all kinds of material. One day I decided to make a self-portrait out of LEGOs. When I got some good feedback from friends and family, I decided to launch a website showcasing my pieces. When the site crashed in early 2004 because of too much traffic, I decided to leave law to play with toys. Today my LEGO sculptures usually go for around $10,000 to $20,000, with some celebrity pieces going for six figures.

Here's one of his many amazing pieces, depicting a colorful person emerging from a boring gray one. (Probably has nothing to do with his time as a lawyer, of course.)

The Courage Within

This was called "Emergence of an Artist" on the Flickr page where I noticed it, but is actually called The Courage Within. If you want to own it, you can buy it here for just $12,500.

Sawaya told me that he "worked with some great people at the law firm, but it was not my passion…. I now travel the world creating art out of LEGO. I have several exhibitions that are currently touring, and have an art studio in Manhattan that holds over 1.5 million LEGO bricks." Not everybody will be able to turn a hobby into a career, let alone one where you get to play with LEGOs all day. (How great would that be?) But I thought this was a good reminder that you have to set aside some time for whatever it is you do in your spare time. At the very least it may keep you relatively sane, and you never know what might come of it.