ARTIST OF THE MONTH: What would you do with half a million LEGO pieces? Well, if you’re local LEGO artist David Shaddix, you might make a detailed portrait of Barry Goldwater or an Arizona Cardinals football helmet. There’s little the artist can’t do with LEGOs, which is one reason Shaddix’s work is featured in the exhibition Build! Toy Brick Art at the Heard, a family-friendly show that opened May 24 and connects LEGO lovers to the work of four artists, including Shaddix.
The interactive show was inspired by the toy and the recently released The LEGO Movie and demonstrates the form, design and cool color capabilities of the popular plastic bricks. Shaddix has four LEGO-ized pieces in the show, including a life-size low rider, an architectural rendering of the Heard Museum and another large mystery mosaic that will be made with the help of walk-in traffic.
Shaddix, 38, was born in southern California and grew up in Sedona, soaking up the artistic influences in the area. He was raised by his grandfather, Western painter Bill Shaddix. “I grew up going to art shows, watching him paint, painting myself and just being like the old man,” the Phoenix resident says.
He sold his first LEGO creation – a radio crafted for his Gilligan’s Island collection – to illusionist David Copperfield and builds just about anything with LEGOs, including commissioned portraits. Shaddix’s process includes sketching on his computer, simplifying the subject, and then working on grids to come up with the final mind-crafted product. “I played with LEGOs as a kid,” Shaddix says. “Then my boys brought them back to me. I started focusing on different things. It evolved and spun out of control.”
Check out Shaddix’s work through September 28 at the Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix, or at southwestbricks.com.
LEGO sculputures “AM Radio” and “Cocktail” (left) and “The Emergence of Rock” (right) by Dave Shaddix