Nathan Sawaya

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Nathan Sawaya
Born (1973-07-10) July 10, 1973 (age 46)
Colville, Washington, United States

Nathan Sawaya (born July 10, 1973) is an American artist who builds custom three-dimensional sculptures and large-scale mosaics from popular everyday items and is best known for his work with standard LEGO toy bricks.


Born in Colville, Washington and raised in Veneta, Oregon, Sawaya attended New York University, where he earned bachelor's and law degrees, eventually practicing law at the firm Winston & Strawn in Hollywood.

He first came to national attention in 2004, when he left his job as an attorney to work full-time as a LEGO artist.

After working for the LEGO company less than six months, he branched off and in 2004 opened an art studio in New York City. As a professional artist, Sawaya is not an employee of the toy company, however he has been officially recognized by The LEGO Group as one of the best LEGO builders in the world and is endorsed as a LEGO Certified Professional.[1]

Sawaya's art creations include a 7-foot (2.1 m)-long replica of the Brooklyn Bridge, a life-size tyrannosaurus rex, a 6-foot (1.8 m)-tall Han Solo frozen in carbonite. His signature pieces include human form sculptures titled "Yellow", "Red" and "Blue". "Blue" sold for an undisclosed sum at the Agora Gallery in 2010.

He had his first solo art exhibit in the Spring of 2007 at the Lancaster Museum of Art.[2] "The Art of the Brick" is the first major museum exhibition in the world to focus exclusively on the use of LEGO building blocks as an art medium.

Sawaya had his first exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere at Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia in June 2011. The exhibition since traveled around Australia, including stops in Adelaide and at the Sydney Town Hall.

In July 2012 Sawaya's Asian tour began with record-breaking shows in Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taichung. He has also exhibited at the world famous ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore (November 2012 - May 2013) and Discovery Times Square in New York City (June 2013 - current). His tours have repeatedly broken attendance records and been widely acclaimed.

His work is currently shown by Avant Gallery,[3] Agora Gallery,[4] Artsicle[5][dead link] and Discovery Times Square[6] in New York City.


Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima reproduced in lego form by Nathan Sawaya. On display at in the National Museum of the Marine Corps and Heritage Center gift shop

Sawaya keeps two, full-time working art studios - one in Manhattan and the other in Los Angeles. It is estimated that Sawaya owns more LEGO bricks than any other single individual with 1.5 million bricks in each of his studios.

In 2012, Artnet[7] ranked Sawaya the 8th most popular artist in the world. His artwork is commissioned by collectors, athletes and celebrities.

Nathan Sawaya's work is in many collections, including:

And has been featured at museum venues worldwide, including:

  • The Imperial Centre for the Arts & Sciences in Downtown Rocky Mount, North Carolina.
  • Kimball Art Center[9] in Park City, Utah
  • John F. Kennedy Center[10] in Washington, DC
  • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry[11] in Portland, Oregon
  • Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn Harbor, New York
  • Morris Museum[12] in Morristown, New Jersey
  • Clinton Library[13][dead link] in Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Mesa Contemporary Arts Center[14] in Mesa, Arizona
  • Narrows Center for the Arts[15] in Fall River, Massachusetts
  • Mulvane Art Museum[16] in Topeka, Kansas
  • Crisp Museum[17] in Cape Girardeau, Missouri
  • Columbus Museum of Art[18] in Columbus, Ohio
  • Art & Culture Center[19] in Hollywood, Florida
  • The Ambassador Theatre[20] in Dublin, Ireland[21]
  • The Loading Bay Gallery[22] in London, United Kingdom[23]


Sawaya has also been featured on multiple media outlets including The Colbert Report, where he presented Stephen Colbert with a life size replica of Stephen Colbert;[24] CBS’s the Late Show with David Letterman; NBC's Today Show; TBS's Conan; ABC’S Jimmy Kimmel Live!; Newsweek;[25] the Los Angeles Times; The Hollywood Reporter; CNN; and The Wall Street Journal. In April 2009, he was a consultant on Mythbusters.


  1. ^ "LEGO® Certified Professionals".
  2. ^ Forrest: @HeyRyaaaan, Williams. "Lancaster Museum of Art".
  3. ^ "Nathan Sawaya - artnet".
  4. ^ "Agora Gallery - Contemporary Fine Art - Chelsea, New York City".
  5. ^
  6. ^ "World's Most Elaborate LEGO Display Comes to New York". My Modern Met. 2016-06-12. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  7. ^ "Top 300 Artists on artnet - Most Popular Artists".
  8. ^ "MASS MoCA - Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art".
  9. ^ "Kimball Art Center - Park City, Utah Art Center". Kimball Art Center.
  10. ^ "The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts".
  11. ^ "OMSI". OMSI.
  12. ^ "Morris Museum - 100 Years of Exhibitions, Education & Entertainment".
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Mesa Arts Center".
  15. ^ "Narrows Center for the Arts -".
  16. ^ "Mulvane Art Museum".
  17. ^ "Crisp Museum - Southeast Missouri State University".
  18. ^ "Home". Columbus Museum of Art. 12 August 2015.
  19. ^ "Art and Culture Center/Hollywood".
  20. ^ "Florida Alcohol & Opioid Detox Treatment Centers - Rehab and Recovery - Ambassador Rehabilitation Of Dublin". Florida Alcohol & Opioid Detox Treatment Centers - Rehab and Recovery.
  21. ^ Schwerha, Matthew. "PHOTOS: The Art of the Brick in Dublin". Archived from the original on 2014-05-14.
  22. ^ "The Old Truman Brewery".
  23. ^ "Art of the Brick".
  24. ^ "The Colbert Report". Comedy Central.
  25. ^ "The Daily Beast". The Daily Beast.

External links[edit]