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Why I love LEGO®

He's a judge on LEGO Masters, the only LEGO Certified Professional in Australia, and he's constructed the Opera House more than any other building. As we look forward to his upcoming Digital Creative Learning talk, The Brickman writes on why he loves his job.

Ryan ‘The Brickman’ McNaught

My first LEGO® set was when I was three years old. I really loved the ability to make anything in my imagination. My earliest memory was building a little ship (Set 616) sitting at the feet of Grandad in his big reclining chair. I loved LEGO as a kid, it’s all I used to ask for at Christmas time. We didn’t have a lot, so the catalogue was always well worn out with my flicking through the pages!

LEGO bricks are fundamentally a creative medium for me. That said, it’s not the motivation to use LEGO, but rather the outcome – the finished model – that drives me to build. There are a lot of limitations around LEGO parts, but that’s why it’s fun – it’s an innate challenge. The system behind LEGO bricks appeals to my nerdy tech brain!

Even though LEGO produces thousands of different parts now, my favourite LEGO piece is still the classic 2x4 (two studs wide, by four studs long) brick. It’s just so simple, iconic and versatile. Plus it comes in loads of colours which helps! White is by far the most common colour we use – we create a lot of architectural models and vehicles and white is the usual colour.

Since becoming a LEGO Certified Professional, I’ve had to learn to do a lot more with LEGO, especially building giant models from thousands of LEGO bricks! Models of this size require a lot more engineering to make sure they’re safe for the public and safe to transport around the world. The sheer amount of work our workshop produces now means I can’t build everything myself anymore. (Which is why I get so excited when I do get to build – like I did for the LEGO Masters Bricksmas specials!)

I feel very lucky to have a great team of people to help design, engineer, build and showcase all the work we do. In fact, our most recent models include the giant Christmas Baubles on the steps of the Opera House!

Speaking of the Opera House, it’s a subject that’s just a little bit special to me as it's probably the one thing in the world that I, and my team, have built more times than anything else – over 15 times in fact! We’ve built three differently scaled versions for exhibitions and I once had to build the official LEGO set version over 12 times for a LEGO promotion. On top of that, we actually built a version of the LEGO set for Ed Sheeran as well!

What I love most about LEGO is its ability to inspire creativity and wonder in people – children and adults alike. Some people see some of our models and are amazed that such a thing is possible. Some people see our models and then go home and build their own version, and some people see them then go home and build something even better! It’s the joy and wonder I see on people’s faces that makes me love LEGO and do what I do as a LEGO Certified Professional.

LEGO© are a Partner of the Sydney Opera House