Carl is a rising star who is carving out a unique niche with surprisingly fresh talent utilizing a medium that triggers the imagination.
How you market your interest and talents, what you have accomplished and how long each endeavor took to complete. What do you see in the future?
There has been a few different ways I've done "marketing" over the past 3 years or so. I've always been interested in doing LEGO work on commission and the first big opportunity I got was the Riverpark Christmas display in 2010. I was working with BLARE media at the time and I had a shoot with Peter deYoung (a local PR/Marketing guy) up by Shaver Lake. Since it was a bit of a drive, we carpooled up and down. Eventually the conversation turned to hobbies and my LEGO obsession. Hearing about sparked his imagination and he decided to have me do a large (20,000 parts, 2 months build time) LEGO display for his photos with Santa store at River park. That really pushed me into a larger scale than I was used to and got a lot of exposure for me as a LEGO builder.
This Photo is just a partial, I'll get the full display of 4 elves, 5 tables and lots more toys.
After that I took my Elves and various other creations to Bricks By The Bay 2011, the LEGO convention in Santa Clara. While there, I was approached by Bill Pollock of No Starch Press about writing a book for them, which I'm currently working on.
After the convention, I did a few more smaller commissions, cake toppers and whatnot. Then, my friend hired me to build a pier for his candy table at his wedding. That was about 4000 parts with maybe 3 weeks build time.
More recently, I've been trying the whole web marketing thing, which has been working out very well. I've had pieces featured on Gizmodo, Tech Hive, Tested, and dozens of other smaller blog sites.
After seeing my Cthulhu at Bricks y the Bay 2013, Norman Chan from Tested.com asked me to be a guest on their Octobercast Video Podcast for charity.
For the past few months I've been uploading new photos to my flickr on a weekly basis, which has helped keep my exposure much higher than it was before. I also use the /r/lego and /r/afol subreddits on reddit.com to further my exposure.
I cross post from my Flickr feed to my Blogger, Facebook and Twitter, Tumblr and my website, BrickLaboratory.com
Going towards the future I have been working with BLARE media doing LEGO creations for Brick Madness for about 3 years so far. We still have some work to do on that, but it’s coming together nicely.
I'm also working on my book for No Starch Press, as well as doing various personal builds. I'm always doing small commissions, but I'm also in the market for bigger stuff.
Who has been an inspiration/mentor/friend?
I've been following the work of two builders for years, Guy Himber and Iain Heath. I finally got to meet both of them at Bricks By the Bay 2011 and We've been friends ever since. Also at BBtB 2011 I met one of my best LEGO friends, Norbert Labuguen. As both children of the San Joaquin valley, we immediately had a lot in common. Norbert has really opened my eyes to what amazing work can be done with Bionacle and Hero Factory (subsets of LEGO that I don't usually use).
Where will y our next project be seen? How many pieces, creating the vision or is the project one that where the subject was requested.
Well, I'm working on several more pieces for brick madness. We come up with what we want to do as an Idea together, but the execution is basically under my control.
Personally, I really want to do the ZF1, the Zorg gun from the fifth element.
My latest projects are always on my website as soon as I take the photos.
How large is the LEGO fan-club, aficionados.
I don't know the numbers for the whole fan community. I believe BayLUG, the club that I am a member of, is around 100+ members.
What has been the most challenging and the most rewarding?
I think the Christmas display fills the bill for both most challenging and most rewarding. It is still the largest display I have ever done, and the most building I have done during a two month span. It was extremely rewarding to bring something like that to Fresno, where it seems that variety is not a priority.
It was amazing to see the response from everyone, from little kids to teens, adults young and old. So many smiling faces. We had over 9000 people come to visit the display during the month it was up. Many people drove in from Kerman, Reedley, Selma, etc. just to see it.
Do you travel?
So far the furthest I've gone for LEGO purposes is Seattle for BrickCon 2013, but I will travel If someone wants me to do LEGO work. My LEGO has actually traveled farther than I have. I recently shipped several pieces to the Longmont Museum in Colorado as part of their BUILD! Exhibit. (Image Attached)
Will you represent the company/club, etc. if not already?
I'm more interested in LEGO as an art medium than LEGO as a company, so working directly with them is not a priority. But I would work with them if they were interested.
When did you start the hobby and why does it appeal to your personally
I've been building with LEGO for as long as I can remember. I like to say I have 27 years of experience.
I probably would have stopped completely when I was 14, but that was the year the Star Wars sets were released. I was waiting my entire life to have a LEGO Darth Vader. I even tried to modify a LEGO mini-figure when I was 5 with model paint. It did not look like Darth Vader at all.
I enjoy working with LEGO bricks as a medium because of the challenge. Finding the right combination of parts for a given project is satisfying like nothing else. I've worked in many different media, from bronze to ceramic and glass. I always come back to LEGO.