25-year-old PhD student just convinced Lego to mass-produce Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ as official toy kit
One of the most famous paintings in the world, that of Vincent van Gogh Starry Night, has inspired everything from socks to umbrellas to face masks.
Now, the Post-Impressionist 1889 masterpiece will have its own Lego set, allowing art lovers to recreate the Dutch artist’s most beloved work entirely from interlocking plastic bricks.
The kit is the idea of Truman Cheng, a 25-year-old PhD student from Hong Kong, who submitted the idea to Lego Ideas, allowing fans of colorful construction toys to share their suggestions for future Lego kits.
Any project that receives at least 10,000 public votes goes through an official review process and can potentially be chosen by the Danish company to be produced as a commercial set, with the original designer earning 1% of the royalties.
Cheng’s Starry Night is unique in that it uses thin Lego plates to get closer to Van Gogh’s dramatic sky. The design uses around 1,500 Lego pieces, including a tiny mini figure of the painter himself, at work in front of an easel and canvas.
“One day I was just playing with Lego pieces, and I realized that stacking Lego plates at random intervals looked a lot like Van Gogh’s iconic brushstrokes,” Cheng told Lego Ideas.
He spent several weeks conceiving the design, working after shifts as a postgraduate research assistant.
“It was a good puzzle to come up with tips and techniques to capture the look of the original painting,” Cheng said. “The brushwork goes in many directions in the moon and the swirling cloud, so there has been some creative use of the backing and clip elements involved.”
Cheng’s Starry Night design was one of 35 record projects considered in Lego Ideas’ most recent review period, reflecting renewed interest in 2020. Since the launch of Lego Ideas in 2008, 41 sets have been selected for the production.
“Art is a theme we’ve only recently ventured into,” said Hasan Jensen, Lego Ideas engagement manager, in the Van Gogh kit announcement, praising “the unique building techniques. [Cheng has] used to recreate the beautiful brush strokes in the Lego bricks.
For Cheng, the leap from Lego to art was natural.
“For me, Lego is more than ‘toys’,” he said. “I can express myself, create characters and sculptures from my imagination… just like painting. It’s also like a puzzle game, because there are rules and “math” about how the bricks can be connected, so there are “creative limits” as well. So I guess for me, Lego is a unique synthesis of artistic expression and puzzle solving.
The company launched a Lego Art series last June, with mosaic-shaped kits featuring new 2D tiles for adults to display. Most of the kits take their subject matter from pop culture, with sets inspired by Mickey Mouse, Harry Potter and The Beatles.
The only artist featured is Andy Warhol, whose work is featured in a $ 119.99 Marilyn Monroe Kit, which features four possible color combinations. The kit, produced in collaboration with the Warhol Foundation, allows art lovers to hang Lego versions of the famous Pop art silkscreen on their walls, with an “exclusive signature title” with the artist’s signed name on them. a Lego brick.
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