Lego Artist Nathan Sawaya Launches Children's Book Series

“With a story, I’m trying to make something a child would enjoy, having a lesson and teaching about creativity, collaboration and construction," says Sawaya.
Left, courtesy of Dean West, right, courtesy of The Art of the Brick
Nathan Sawaya

Renowned Lego artist Nathan Sawaya has gone from snapping bricks to clacking the keyboard.

The artist, whose work has appeared in places such as the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington (as well as the White House), has just released his first set of children’s book featuring the adventures of Hugman, a Lego-style character who belongs to a little boy named, naturally, Nathan.

The idea for the books finds its origin in some of Sawaya’s Lego street art. When the Los Angeles-based artist lived in New York, he made medium-sized human figures out of Lego bricks hugging everyday city objects such as lampposts and bike racks.

“In the past few years, I wanted to bring [Hugman] to life,” Sawaya tells Heat Vision. “That was the spark.”

Sawaya teamed with a Belgium-based artist named Maarten Lenoir, with the two collaborating on a series titled The Adventures of Hugman. The books are self-published and available here or at the touring exhibits of Sawaya’s work. He will also have his first signing June 16 at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Science Center. 

And while the books are not official licensed Lego material, the company is fully supportive of the endeavor and gave Sawaya its blessing.

Sawaya found that writing a book for children exercised a different mindset than the one he’s been used to since he quit a stable and successful life as an attorney in 2004.

“A sculpture is about the end result and I’m focused on the emotion,” he explains. “With a story, I’m trying to make something a child would enjoy, having a lesson and teaching about creativity, collaboration and construction."

Sawaya isn’t giving up his bricks anytime soon, as he finds Lego his medium of choice.

“Lego is limitless, as an art, as a tool,” he says. “It’s driven my creativity. I created a career for myself that I had not seen before. Now I’m just expanding that.”