When people think of Legos, they are typically brought back to simpler times. These building blocks come in a variety of shapes and colors, and are something that is present in most children’s homes. Legos are thought to be a fun mind developing toy that exposes children to problem solving and creativity. Legos can be stuck together in an abstract manner, structured as the box they came in directed, or constructed in large-scale art installations. One artist that is deemed by the Legos company as their youngest LEGO certified professional is Jimpei Mitsui. His role in the Lego company is to test and advertise the building blocks by demonstrating what those little guys can do. Mitsui has created several different sculptures, and he is able to achieve complex designs while using only Legos! This week I’ll be looking at Jumpei Mitsui rendition of the famous Japanese woodblock print, “The Wave” by Hokusai.
With side by side comparison of Hokusai’s “Great Wave” and Mitsui’s Lego rendition, the similarities are immediately recognized. Mitsui was able to capture the essence of the woodblock print in his Lego sculpture. The use of color, lighting, and position of the Legos made it possible to build a three-dimensional installation of the ancient print. I absolutely love how the Legos resemble the movement of the wave so well. The dynamic angles of the waves and the way the foam forms at the peaks making it look like claws terrorizing the fisherman on the boats conveys a strong message about the ruthlessness of nature. Both Hokusai and Mitsui are Japanese artists. One worked in printmaking and the other in Legos. The evolution and modernization of a timeless classic in Japanese artistry brings the craft full circle.
If you wish to know more about Mitsui you can follow him on his twitter. Thank you for reading!