"Ego Leonard" giant minifigure
on Brighton Beach 2008
|Known for||Painting, Sculpture|
|Movement||Street Art, Performance Art|
Ego Leonard is a Dutch painter and sculptor, and possibly an anonymous guerrilla artist, whose works prominently feature outsized Lego figures. Sometimes the name also is applied to sculpture, apparently made by Leonard, which have been found on beaches at various locations in the world since the late 2000s. The sculptures are in the form of "minifigures", but constructed from fibreglass enlarged to two and a half metres in height, and have the message, "No Real Than You Are" in capital letters written on their torsos. The appearance of an "Ego Leonard" giant figure on Siesta Beach, Florida became number two on the Time list of the "Top 10 Oddball-News Stories of 2011." It is unclear whether Ego Leonard is the name of a person or merely is a fictional character as the figure, but it is most likely a fictional name, as Ego Leonard can be reworked to read L, Ego or LEGO.
The first over-sized minifigure attributed to Leonard was retrieved from the sea off Zandvoort, Netherlands, on August 7, 2007. It had a yellow head and a blue torso. It was suggested at the time that "No Real Than You Are" might become a meme similar to "All your base are belong to us", or that a word is missing and it should read, "no more real than you are".
A second giant Lego figure was found off Brighton Beach, United Kingdom on October 29, 2008. The green, yellow, and red sculpture again bore the words "No Real Than You Are" on its torso. A spokeswoman for the Lego company stated that it was a surprise to the company, and may have been related to an exhibition in the next few weeks that "Ego Leonard" would have in London.
Another similar Lego figure appeared in the sea off Siesta Key Beach, Florida, United States on October 25, 2011. The sculpture is about 2 metres in height and weighs about 50 kilograms. Its head and arms were yellow, with a red torso and green legs, and it had the message "No real than you are" in capital letters on its front and "Ego Leonard" and the number 8 on its back. It was suggested that this may have been a viral marketing publicity stunt to advertize the newly opened Legoland Florida. A spokesperson for the Legoland and its parent company denied that there was any connection to the giant minifigure.
Sarasota authorities referred to the object as Mr. Leonard. Reporters from the local newspaper, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, sent an e-mail to Leonard and received a reply. It purported to be from the sculpture and stated that it had been "a hell of a swimm" [sic], but that it was enjoying the weather and friendly people, and was "gonna stay here for a while." The Sararsota County Sheriffs Office took the sculpture into custody, awaiting its release to Jeff Hindman, who first found it in October 2011. On January 26, 2012, however, the giant Lego figure was given to Denise Kowal, the founder of the Sarasota Chalk Festival.
It appears that Ego Leonard's painting in the Sarasota Chalk Festival featured outsized Lego figures with messages that were similar to, and included, "No real than you are". It has been reported in newspapers that works exhibited on the online art gallery, prescriptionart.com, were valued at a range from US$ 3,500 to $ 4,500.
In reference to the 2011 appearance, the Spanish newspaper, El Mundo, noted that "Ego Leonard" could mean "I, Leonardo". It also could be read as, "I am Leonard". the paper noted that it has been reported that Ego Leonard may be associated with Dutch artist Leon Keer, who won second place in the 2010 Sarasota Chalk Festival and is due to compete again at the 2011 festival. Other newspapers wrote that Keer has admitted to being a long-time friend of Ego Leonard's and to have designed his website and that he also expressed concern that the publicity may have an adverse effect on "a person like Ego, who just wants to bring some kindness in the everyday life."
A Lego figure similar to the Sarasota sculpture appeared on the beach at Topanga, Los Angeles County, California on 18 July 2012. After one day on the Topanga beach, the "Lego Man" man was moved to "LAB ART", a Los Angeles City art gallery specializing in street art.
Ego Leonard returned to Europe via plane. Area filmmaker Vincent Dale responded directly to the Lego man's message in a short film.
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