I don’t know a person, man or woman, boy or girl, who didn’t own Lego as a kid. It was the best toy growing up. It could be anything your imagination wanted it to be. Lego is more popular today than ever before. There’s Lego video games, movie tie-in sets (Star Wars, Harry Potter) and whole Lego stores. Local artist Dave Ware has taken his love of the little plastic blocks and created some truly outstanding mosaics. Dave was nice enough to have me over to his house and let me play with his blocks.
There are only two downsides to Lego that I know of. First, you can never find that one mother#$%(^*@ piece. That stupid wing shaped piece. I can’t finish this sweet starship with out that damn wing piece! Second, stepping on a 1×1 stud is one of the most painful things ever. I’m putting it in the top five with kidney stones and childbirth. For someone like Dave and his collection of hundreds of thousands of pieces, those are the least of his problems. It’s storage and logistics that he’s worried about. Dave has dedicated his entire basement to housing his massive collection. Another worry is making sure his two young boys don’t get loose amongst all the blocks unsupervised.
After a quick tour of his mountain of Lego, he and I got to talking about how his passion began.
At what point did this turn from “I have some Lego” to “I want all the Lego”?
When I moved in with my wife, so 15 years ago, we were walking through Walmart and I saw a cool looking set and I bought it, then in 2006 I started doing the Mosaics. That’s when it escalated. So it took about 6 years to amass this collection. I’d get whole boxes of it from people who didn’t want theirs anymore.
It’s at this point Dave shows me a tackle box that’s just full of dismembered and well organized mini-fig body parts. I let him know that this would be disturbing if it were anyone else.
How happy were you when the Lego store opened here in town?
It was great, it’s not as cheap as the internet…but it’s the instant gratification. Through the Lego club here in town, we actually buy direct from Lego and pieces that no one else can get in these pretty big quantities.
How do you plan a mosaic?
A Lego guy made a program called Bricksaic, so I can build it first, print it out and get a list of pieces that I need.
You’ve been getting some awesome praise from celebrities that you’ve been immortalizing in Lego?
I did an Adam Baldwin one (his character Jayne from Firefly) cause I knew he would be at the Calgary Comic Expo. I got a hold of him on Twitter and he got back to me saying “Do not wait in line…you come up and see me right away.” He was really excited to see it. I made a couple of smaller ones for the guys from Futurama, Billy West (Fry) and John DiMaggio (Bender) saw them too. Billy seemed less excited but John was very pumped.
What are you planning to do with the grant you received from GIGYYC back in July?
There’s actually two grants that I got. The first one is a mosaic, a triptych (past present future), it’ll be a secret mosaic. Anyone will be able to build a small segment. Then I get them and put them together from there. The second grant, we’re going to build the Calgary Tower. But that’s been done, so how cool would it be to make it a robot? So the plan is to get a team of us to build it together, the Southern Alberta Lego User Group. In my head but not formally planned yet, it’ll be 6 ft tall, articulated arms, maybe they fire something, the observation deck will light up. It all depends on what is physically possible.