Who are you? Where are you based?
My name is Jonathan Farrell from Montréal (the French speakers of Canada). I work in the video game industry by day and create large scale Lego mosaics by night.
When and why did you first start making your art?
I started making mosaics about two years ago when I was playing with my son’s Duplo bricks and got the idea to make some original NES pixel art with it. At first I would search online to find sprites to recreate in LEGO form and had a lot of fun doing it. It was an homage to all my favorite childhood games. I soon found myself wanting to create other types of subjects so I started doing research on how best to pixelize images using Photoshop.
I started out doing simple images using only 1-2 base plates but as my process evolved I was able to do more complex and bigger images. I picked bricks instead of plates because I needed to break them apart faster and more often and because there seemed to be a bigger variety of colors available. Every time I bought more pieces or new colors for a specific piece, I could reuse them to create something else and this has been going on ever since.
What inspires your artwork?
I am inspired by all the popular culture that I love and chose my subjects based on whatever I am watching or reading at that moment. I have tons of DVDs and am always rewatching movies or series on a portable DVD player (old school) and this constantly inspires me.
Do you remember the first piece you made?
NES Mario made of Duplo bricks
What's the biggest piece you've ever made?
Twelve 48×48 stud LEGO baseplates for one image, it is also my preferred size right now.
What is your art workspace like?
I work on a seven feet wide table in the Living room, where I scatter all the bricks I use and constantly go get more in my storage area where everything is separated by color and types of bricks. I’m very messy (see workspace +storage images)
What are the tools of your trade?
Photoshop and lots of LEGO bricks
What's the most time you've spent on a project?
About a month for the Billie Eilish mosaic (or roughly 25 hours total to create it)
Can you talk us through your creative process? How do you go about planning and creating a piece?
Everything starts with finding the perfect picture that I want to reproduce and then bringing it into Photoshop to create the pattern. While this looks pretty straightforward I can spend hours playing around with an image to get the result that I want and often handpaint pixels and replace colors manually to match the Lego color palette. Here is an example of a pattern, the dotted lines is the size of a 48x48 stud baseplate and each square is a 2x2 piece, this is how I build all of my mosaics
What are the most common questions you get asked about your art?
If it’s for sale. People are always shocked that I break my work once it’s done and many have tried to convince me to sell my work but I have very little interest in doing this. Creating my mosaics is very relaxing to do at night, especially during this pandemic but more than that is that this work is mine and mine alone. I like not having to answer to anyone about how I work or what subject I pick. I know what goes into setting up a website and trying to promote my work and if I do that, it’s less time for creation, which is what I like. The other aspect is the high price of bricks and the fact that I usually need more than 20k pieces to create them which no one wants to pay. Add the huge size of my pieces and it’s just not worth it.
Have you had any art-related disasters?
When I knock out entire containers of LEGO pieces and they scatter everywhere!
Do you have a dream project you'd love to make, but just can't justify yet?
Creating a large scale mural in an office/store or having an exhibition of my work for all to see
What was your most recent project?
Sally the rag doll from the nightmare before Christmas
What are your favourite experiences you've had as a result of your art?
Having people reach out to me to know more about my work is really fun but my favorite experiences so far have been to when I was featured on the Naughty Dog website for a piece I did on the Last of Us video game and the other was to find that one of my favorite comic book artists (Chris Samnee) was one of my followers on Instagram
Do you have any projects in progress or in the pipeline right now?
I always have about 15 patterns that are done in advance since my interests fluctuates so much. When one is done, I go through my pattern files and pick what I want to create next.
Do you sell your art? If so, how can people find it?
While I do not sell my large scale mosaics, I do sometimes create the patterns for people should they want to reproduce them themselves and I sometimes create SNES sprites that I frame and give as presents. Everything I have created so far is available as a pattern, just email me for any inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org
How can people find you online? Drop your social media handles, websites etc...
I have a farrell_lego Facebook and Instagram account and via email email@example.com . I also plan on having a TikTok account soon to show my process
My name is Iain and my addiction is making pixel bead art. My main inspirations are comics, video games and movies.