Interview with Family Brick part deux

here’s the second part of my interview with Family brick, you can find the first part of my interview with the custom minifig expert here.

I always struggle to get mew ideas how do you manage to create such interesting creations?

I find that one of the most rich sources for new ideas on figures is to look at what others have done – then when you find figures that you really like ask yourself this:  What do you like specifically about the figure?  Is the way the figure flows, is it in a particular piece usage, is it how the figure is decaled or painted?  Then ask yourself – how can I make this technique my own and build upon it.  I would also suggest this – one of the things that always keeps me looking at new figures is that I am always trying to learn new techniques in painting, piece-usage, or brick-building.  If you’re always trying to learn a new technique, your figures can only continue to get better.

Being in the uk were always a little stuck when it comes to attending events do you ever get a chance to go? What’s the best thing about these events?

You know, I have yet to be able to attend a Lego Convention – my career is quite busy during the summer/early fall months and makes it difficult for me to attend these events.  With that said, I am attempting to attend BrickCon in Seattle this year (and I’m even looking at setting up a display of all my custom figures).  I think the best thing about these events is that you find other people who are able to help make your craft better, and vice-verca you are able to help other Lego Enthusiasts learn something new.  Oh, and it’s an entire convention for Lego products!

When it comes to custom minifies there’s a real divide in whether to paint and cut or leave them purist, what are your thoughts on the whole purist movement? How do purists respond to your custom mini fig creations? If there was enough resistance do you think you’d revert to only purist custom minifigs?

I think I can safely start this question off by stating that I am not primarily a purist!  One look at my page and you’ll see figures that have been painted, cut, glued, and anything else that I can think of doing!  I should start off by saying – there is real value in purist figures and I actually do spend quite a bit of time creating purist figures – I have learned in my career that one should learn the skills that have been around the longest and build up from there.  It is quite amazing that in the purist realm, there are an infinite amount of combinations to create unique figures – and to learn what makes a minifigures look complete and well thought out is a very valuable skill.  Now, while I do spend time building purist figures, obviously much of my time is spent creating figures where I am not afraid to venture into the realms of cutting Lego pieces, gluing them, and painting them to create a figure.  I think when venturing into this realm one should ask this question – if I cut this particular Lego piece, is it necessary and will it add to the figure?  If the answer to either of these questions is no, then perhaps you shouldn’t cut yet; however, I have found that oftentimes you can create a very interesting piece that would otherwise not exist.  This allows us to have even more options for customizing figures and creating unique one-of-a-kind creations.  A similar debate to this is the use of non-lego and … MB products in custom figures – but that is perhaps a debate for another day!

How do purists respond to my creations?  I have had a few… rude … individuals respond to some of my creations, however, the majority of purist fans who look at my figures are very cordial, typically make good comments, and are still very helpful opinions.  Perhaps the biggest thing my career has taught me is that you will never please everyone – so when I get a few negative responses, it doesn’t bother me.

If I had enough resistance, would I revert to only purist custom minifigs?  I don’t think I would, because I love the fact that I have such unique creations that no one else has – I made them with my hands and imagination and immensely enjoy playing with them.

These now at least four custom mini fig accessory producers out there including brick arms brick forge and amazing armoury, who are your favorites and why? Obviously there loads of competition out there how do you view this as a maker consumer?

This is a very hard question to answer, and I can’t just name one as the ultimate minifigures accessory producer; however, I can tell you the ones I use the most.  Looking through my Flickr account, I would have to say that the most represented in my figures would have to be Brickarms – I think they have some of the best minifigures accessories around, and for my weaponry needs I nearly always go with them!  I also find that I use a lot of Amazing Armory and Brickforge – both of which provide great accessories.  Amazing Armory has some really wonderful elements, although they do tend to have slightly higher prices which for some could be a hinderance.  Brickforge also produces some very wonderful products that I use quite extensively.  Aside from these, I know of a few other sites that I try to support – I am interested in looking into some of the elements that Tiny Tactical provides which seems to be some really unique items for minfigure customization.  I am also interested in looking at The Butchered Block which seems to primarily sell custom Lightsaber hilts.

While I find that there is competition among the various accessory producers, most of the time each site produces items that fill a particular niche.  The biggest obstacle as a consumer is setting a budget that allows items to be bought from each vendor that are needed for my figures!

If these store were to produce one custom mini fig accessory what would it be?

This is a hard question to answer – right now I would say Jetpacks because I seem to be making quite a few of these!  I think to answer this question I should say the products that are coming from the above vendors that has me most excited – I am extremely excited for the Brickarms Minigun, raygun, individual release of the Needle Weapon and Energy Sword, as well as several of the new weapons they recently released at Brickfair.  Brickforge is coming out with some great accessories that have me very excited, and should hopefully be popping up on the website soon.  I’m always excited for what Amazing Armory produces and releases, and am looking forward to the next accessories!

What advice do you think you could give to other makers starting out making custom minifigs? What do you think is the hardest part?

I think the best advice I could give – if you choose to cut, glue, and paint a minifigures – practice doing it cleanly and start small.  Too many try jumping in and doing everything at once, which often results in a messy figure.  I will fully admit that a few of my figures look messy, however, I would hope that the large majority look clean and well thoughtout.  If there is purposeful “messiness” then it is fully acceptable, but there needs to be a reason for it.  As I say these suggestions, I realize that this is probably the hardest part, and I fully realize that I don’t always attain my own goals; however they are goals worth aiming for!

Who would you say inspires you with your creations? Are there any other makers whom you look up to?

The customizers that inspire me the most are:  JasBrick, Thel’ Vadamee, Titolian, Catsy_[CSF], Morgan190, Pedro-79, eclipseGrafx, and Orrange.  This is hardly a comprehensive list – I know there are many others of my favorites that I am leaving out, but off the top of my head I know these customizers have inspired me in many ways.

What’s your favorite Lego set and why? If Lego could produce one set what would you wish for?

My favorite Lego set?  The sets that I have had together the longest and that I would consider some of my favorites – Republic Gunship 7676, and a modified Lego Crab Crusher. I also love my UCS Millennium Falcon  (which I was bought for a wedding anniversary present)!

Aside from Lego, what other stuff do you get up to in your free time?

Most of my other time is spent on my career – I am finishing up my Doctorate in Music with a specialization in Opera at Michigan State University while also performing professionally.  This takes a large part of my life, and is something I enjoy quite immensely.  The only thing that could make it better – singing for the officials at Lego every day 😉  Going back to performing – I am a lyric/light lyric tenor which sings repertoire from Puccini, Donizetti, Gounod, among others.  My favorite opera’s are:  Donizetti’s La Fille du Regiment (my primary audition aria is from this opera and is one of the most difficult in the repertoire – it has 9 high C’s at the end of it), Puccini’s La Boheme, and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin.  At some point in the future, I will be creating a series of Opera Lego Minifigures 😉

Thanks for your time, last question, got any one you wanna shout out to?

I’d love to thank everyone who enjoys my figures – it’s always a pleasure to have hard work admired!