Despite the influx of a myriad of electronic toys, the iconic Lego brick remains a steadfast favorite in most households. While most kids lose interest as they grow, there are a select few that become so attached, that they make a career building objects from the colorful bricks, becoming part of the elite group of individuals with the coveted title of certified Lego Professional!
However, if you think this is an easy way to make a living, think again - There are currently only 13 men and women in the world that have been granted this designation, which requires amongst other things, building proficiency, enthusiasm for the Lego brick and building system and most important of all, a professional approach toward other LEGO fans and the broader public. Here are some of the adults that have made the cut.
This contemporary US artist is the only person in the world that has the honor of being both a Lego Master Model builder and a Lego Certified Professional. With the over 2.5 million Lego bricks at his disposal, he divides his time between his New York and Los Angeles studios, building large scale sculptures that are sold to collectors, galleries and even corporations, looking for an unusual piece of art.
In addition to that, he also has a touring exhibition that features his unique Lego sculptures. Started in 2007, 'The Art of The Brick' has been showcased all around the world, inspiring and entertaining millions of kids. What's fascinating about Nathan is that he did not start his career as a Lego artist but instead, was a practicing attorney in Manhattan for a number of years, before he decided to give up his lucrative career and pursue his artistic passion using Lego bricks as his medium.
Rene fell in love with Legos when he was just five year old and has never looked back since. Not a day goes by when he doesn't tinker with the bricks for at least a few minutes, whether it's for fun or 'work', which in his case entails building models for large corporations like Deutsche Telecom, Merlin Entertainment and Bosch. In 1999, he established what has become the largest German language fan website, where Lego lovers not only share their love for the bricks, but also, provide tips on how to create Lego masterpieces.
In 2008, he established 1000steine-land an annual exhibition in his native city of Berlin, where LEGO builders from all across Europe can showcase their creations. In addition his spectacular models have also been featured in a traveling exhibition in his home country, as well as, other European countries like Austria, Switzerland, Poland and Greece. This year, they are heading all the way to Russia and China.
While Adam probably played with the LEGO bricks as a young boy, he never would have in a million years thought they would one day be a key part of his life. The professional architect who graduated in 1996, spend six years designing numerous skyscrapers in Kansas City and Chicago. Then in 2006, while looking through 'The World of Lego Toys' by Henry Wienceck, he noticed the architectural possibilities of LEGO bricks. Inspired, he decided to explore it further - Needles to say, he was hooked.
By 2006, he had not only founded a company called BrickStructures that focuses on design and construction of Lego skyscrapers and other architectural structures but also, established Chicago's first LEGO fan convention. In 2011, he combined his LEGO and architectural skills to create an exhibition of the world's 15 most famous buildings, including the world's tallest - The Burj Khalifa. And while the scaled down model was not as tall as the real thing, at 5.5 meters (18 feet) in height, it was equally impressive.
Though all the men are using their skills in different ways, they all have one thing in common - They love their jobs and can't believe they can actually make a living, building things from their favorite childhood toy. To read about the rest of the Lego professionals check out: Lego-certified-professionals.
Lego, which means "play well" in Danish, was founded in 1932 by a carpenter and his son as a venue to sell their hand-made wooden toys. The company then went on to sell plastic toys. However, it was not until 1958, when the colorful Lego brick and building system was invented, that it became really famous. While Lego creations have become much more sophisticated since then, the basic design remains the same, which means that the modern day brick can be connected to the first one ever made, in 1958!
Resources: dailymail.co.uk, lego.com