7/28/10

Inside the Customizer's Studio: JasBrick, Part 3

Our conversation with JasBrick continues today with our focus shifting toward developing technique, Jas' blog "Mad Figs" and the UK convention circuit.

You have a blog called "JasBrick's Mad Figs" where you've talked about the techniques you've used on some of your figures. What's the role that "Mad Figs" plays in your journey? What are your hopes for the blog?

"My approach has always been to share what I do, so when people ask me how I do something I will try my best to explain should they want to recreate it. I have never been bothered by credit or worrying about people stealing my techniques... due to the fact that as I mentioned above the inspiration is shared anyway.

Whilst I believe there is no shortage of inspiration out there I do think that sometimes people get a little carried away and the end result suffers.

One of the big reasons behind the purism/customization divide is the fact that there are so many customs out there that have been done using tools and methods that anyone other than the creator would find the result unappealing. It is not the only reason of course but it does not help. For some within the community LEGO is one of many interests, such as gaming or comics for instance and particularly with the younger members it is very common for them to blur the edges of these various interests by 'customizing' their LEGO minifigs to represent their favourite character. This enthusiasm to create is admirable, however without any real understanding of how to achieve a desired effect professionally their masterpiece (and to them it will be) will not stand the test of scrutiny from more jaded AFOL's and Purists.


Mad Figs was meant to deal with the fact that I get so many individual requests for help or advice that I wanted to focus this into one area and give as good as explanation as possible that would satisfy everyone. I have not been updating it as often as I would have liked, however the plan is to accelerate the creation of content for this and really try and become a useful resource for customizers."

You've mentioned challenges with conventions in the UK accepting minifig customizers. Why do you believe its difficult for customizers to share the convention table with brick builders? What actions do you think convention organizers can take to improve this situation?

"The UK AFOL scene is quite small by comparison to the US, mainly due to the fact that our population is quite small and in reality being an adult that 'plays with LEGO' is not high on the list of how to be cool. That being said we have a quite active organization that consolidates the most active AFOLs called the Brickish Association. This organization is pretty much dominated by a purist mentality and is understandably reticent about anything that deviates from their core objective which is to further the hobby within the UK. The Brickish Association have good links with the LEGO company in the UK, and its main event Steam has a Lego strapline which I believe is unusual as it indicates authorization and support from LEGO itself. This is where the problem came for me when I asked to exhibit at the last event, my work was deemed to be 'unsafe' with regard to that status as a genuine LEGO event. Do I disagree? Yes. Do I understand their position? Grudgingly, yes. I have a lot of love for the guys at the BA, however it sort of means that I get stuck on the sidelines and leaves me with no avenue to display my work to a wider audience than just Flickr users.

I have received quite a few offers to participate or collaborate in events in the US, however the cost of getting to an event from the UK makes this option aspirational rather than practical. The US events generally appeal to me more due to the fact that the spread of themes and displays are more varied.

To answer your question regarding what event organizers could do to help the situation...well firstly it might help if they actually ask LEGO for their opinion. You have easily approachable guys like Steve Witt that I have found to be more than happy to accept anything that involves LEGO, albeit even with a bit of paint and the odd but of glue here and there. As long as you are not using clone bricks or brands such as Mega Bloks then I think this should be acceptable."

We have one last segment to share tomorrow, where Jas will discuss his "dream project". What ever could it be?! Tune in tomorrow and find out...