- Associated Press - Thursday, October 20, 2016

MILAN (AP) - An American artist has a standing order of several hundred thousand Lego bricks monthly to create life-size sculptures that have traveled the globe.

Nathan Sawaya opened “The Art of the Brick” exhibit in Milan on Wednesday, featuring 75 Lego creations, both original pieces and replicas of masterpieces, including Michelangelo’s David, a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton and, topically, a portrait of recent Nobel Literature laureate Bob Dylan.

Sawaya said he favors the rectangular brick he used as a child for nostalgic reasons, and also because the lines and right angles give the appearance of curves when the viewer steps back from the art work.

“I think that is part of the magic of using Lego bricks,” he said.

A former lawyer, Sawaya turned to art full time in 2004 and works out of a studio stacked with more than 5 million bricks at any one time. A life-size human form can take two to three weeks, and use anywhere from 15,000 to 25,000 bricks, he said. For more complicated sculptures, it’s more.

Sawaya worked more than a month on a sculpture of a red dress out of 62,750 bricks, chiseling away pieces that had been glued into place as he worked to create a curvaceous effect.

“By the time I was done, there were more red pieces on the ground than had been used on the dress,” he said.

The exhibit runs through Jan. 29 at the Fabbrica del Vapore.

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