As an artist working with LEGO bricks, Iain Heath has created items that seize iconic figures of in style tradition and slices of film and TV historical past. His newest work goes a little darker than “Star Wars” or “Lord of the Rings” and gives a commentary on modern day Seattle.
Initially from the United Kingdom, Heath, 51, has lived in Seattle for 21 years, and his youngsters have been born in the metropolis. A veteran of the software program trade, Heath was an early worker of Tableau, the Seattle-based information visualization firm.
Heath, who goes by Ochre Jelly on Flickr, gave up his day job about 5 years in the past to focus full time on his LEGO artwork. He’s lively in the grownup LEGO fan group, he displays at conventions round the nation — together with Seattle’s BrickCon — and is a member of SeaLUG, a native LEGO membership which is one among the largest in the U.S.
His artwork contains many parodies of popular culture, together with items which have gained him some recognition. A mannequin of the late physicist Stephen Hawking is extensively recognized, and his recreation of Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar group selfie was featured on her speak present.
“As a result of LEGO bricks are principally rectilinear, many LEGO artists focus on autos and buildings,” Heath advised GeekWire through e mail this week. “However I choose the problem of recreating individuals and creatures, and infusing them with my quite edgy humorousness.”
That edge is clear in “Homeless in Seattle,” a piece Heath shared on Flickr and Reddit, which exhibits the Seattle skyline in a type that’s a direct parody of LEGO’s in style vary of metropolis skyline units. Alongside with the Area Needle, Pike Place Market, Smith Tower and Columbia Tower, Heath positioned tents throughout the city panorama.
“The Seattle skyline creation was meant as a remark on the present homelessness disaster, which I witness on a day by day foundation,” he stated.
The mannequin makes use of a few hundred bricks and Heath utilized field artwork and stickers digitally for velocity.
“With the explosive progress of Amazon in recent times, the Emerald Metropolis is experiencing a new increase,” Heath wrote in the description of the mannequin on Flickr. “Every little thing right here is surging: the financial system, the inhabitants, home costs, and consequently homelessness.”
Heath stated that as a Brit his politics lean towards the left finish of the spectrum in comparison with many natives and he doesn’t pull any punches with regards to Amazon and his perception that the tech big may very well be doing extra in the metropolis the place it has grown so quickly. His Flickr put up mentions the Metropolis of Seattle’s just lately imposed head tax on huge companies.
“I favor the concept of a taxing wealthier firms, and was galled by Amazon’s response,” Heath advised GeekWire. “I really feel we’ve to do one thing in the brief time period to handle this challenge, although it appears our skyrocketing home costs are the long term issue. I hope the tax is just not repealed. It’s a drop in the ocean for firms like Amazon, in spite of everything.”
By Tuesday morning, because it appeared that the Metropolis Council was setting up to vote to repeal the month-old proposal, Heath acknowledged the irony in the timing of his mannequin.
“I’d higher purchase extra tent bricks,” he stated.