Nathan Sawaya was born in Colville, Washington and raised in Veneta, Oregon, and former attorney. He makes his home and his art in New York and works exclusively with LEGO bricks. This may come across as an odd medium of choice, but as anyone who has visited LEGOLAND in the Mall of America can tell you, quite effective. While Sawaya's pieces aren't necessarily inspired by those found at the LEGOLAND in Minnesota, he is responsible for some of the lego sculptures at LEGOLAND California, and has since gone on to do works for himself and commission. Some of his commissioned works consist of partially working air conditioners made for exhibition at conferences for the respective companies that commissioned them and pieces for exhibit as permanent installations at museums.
As a freelance artist for hire, many things he makes are by request, but of the non commissioned pieces there are a large number of items that he comes across in his life, such as a sculptor of his hand, a skateboard and an apple. Throughout his works there are also pieces that are given no explanation by Nathan, but that definitely aren't things he comes across literally. An example of this are pieces from this category are the color pieces, items made from bricks of a single color and are partially human in appearance. Partially being because there are fantastical elements, such as the lifting of ones own head off in Green, or the construction of ones self in Blue. The meaning given to these LEGO sculptures is by the viewer. In the case of Blue, it could be viewed as either the construction or dissection of someone by themselves.
The slightly ambiguous nature of the works allows for a wider appeal as meaning is not forced on the individual. In this way the work is similar to that of Liz Miller, where a meaning is not readily apparent or implied. In addition the work is comprised of many smaller pieces that together form a large form. Unlike Liz's works though his are much less visually abstract, for the most part the sculptures are primarily recognizable as something from ordinary life. His work deals in history only so much in that some of his sculptures are of things from history. His works primarily consist of much more modern cultural depictions. This can be seen by pop culture icons, such as a life size Stephen Colbert, and the bust of Halo's master chief.
Given the option I would both visit an exhibition of his work, and recommend him to friends. The pictures of the pieces are good, but actually viewing them so that you can see all dimensions of the piece would be nice. Its the difference from seeing a picture of something, and standing next to it, the grandeur and detail doesn't quite translate through a photograph.
Yellow - http://www.brickartist.com/lego-art/yellow.html
Blue - http://www.brickartist.com/lego-art/blue.html
Hand - http://www.brickartist.com/smaller-sculptures/hand.html
Skateboard - http://www.brickartist.com/smaller-sculptures/skateboard.html
Apple - http://www.brickartist.com/smaller-sculptures/apple.html
Master Chief - http://www.brickartist.com/smaller-sculptures/master-chief.html
Stephen Colbert - http://www.brickartist.com/large-sculptures/stephen-colbert.html
The information contained in this entry comes from the website of Nathan Sawaya, www.brickartist.com and an online CNN article available at http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/05/31/lego.artist/