Saturday, September 27, 2014

Recovering lawyer who makes art from Lego back in the news

I was stuck at the car dealer, in the Service Department waiting room, waiting for the verdict on the family van. The waiting room at this dealer is bigger than most, and less dingy. But the big room was still dominated by an equally big TV, turned on at full volume, presumably in an attempt to drown out the incessant intercom announcements. If that was the intent, it did not succeed. The sonic barrage made it difficult to focus on the reading I'd brought with me to while away the time.

The TV was tuned to a newscast. These days, in Chicago, there's almost always news on some channel. In a waiting room, one might get Ellen or Maury or Jeopardy or Judge Mathis. But the news will follow immediately.

Anyway, at the end of this newscast, there was a little piece on an ex-lawyer who is opening a show in London this weekend, showcasing the art he creates from Lego. I couldn't find the TV station piece on the station website, but the Chicago Tribune had an AP video up about the artist.

Involuntarily listening to the TV broadcast, I realized that I'd written about this lawyer-turned-artist, Nathan Sawaya, back in 2008. Quoting from an article by Christine Y. Chen on, I had written,
Sawaya graduated from NYU Law School in 1989. He became "a Wall Street attorney, earning a comfortable six-figure salary—and working in a high-stress environment." Seeking a way to unwind, Sawaya began working on art projects in his spare time, working in clay at first, "then moving into more whimsical media, like candy."

And then he moved into Lego.

Sawaya won a 2004 Lego-sponsored competition to find the best builder in the U.S. He quit his day job -- and started working for $13 an hour creating sculptures for a Lego theme park in San Diego.
Things progressed swimmingly from there. Chen's 2008 article said that, though Sawaya was working longer hours than he had on Wall Street, he had more than replaced his income as a lawyer. And now Sawaya's staging big shows in prestigious museums.

In short, Sawaya has become a real-life Lego Master Builder. As opposed to these Master Builders from The Lego Movie.

Still, with all the success he's enjoyed, I wonder, if one were to ask Sawaya how things are going, whether he might answer, "Everything is awesome."

Saturday, September 6, 2014

St. Tars to host 5th Annual Recycling Day and Green Expo September 27

St. Tarcissus Catholic Parish, 6020 W. Ardmore, will hold its 5th Annual Recycling Day and Green Expo on Saturday, September 27, from 9:00 to 3:00.

Computers, monitors, televisions, telephones, radios, DVD players and metals (aluminum cans, brass, copper) will be accepted for recycling in the parking lot behind the church, on the 5800 block of North Moody. Paper shredding will also be available (but only from 9:00 to noon). Walgreens will have people on hand to collect unused prescriptions (flushing expired prescription medications is not the best plan; that puts traces of medicine in the water supply) and to offer flu shots. Working Bikes will be accepting donations of old bicycles, bike parts, crutches, sewing machines, and wheelchairs for repair and distribution to the underprivileged, locally and globally.

The Green Expo will be in the St. Tars School Auditorium, 6040 W. Ardmore. There will be a free book swap (leave a book, take a book), games and activities for children, vendors offering Green and Fair Trade products, Green household cleaning tips, and backyard composting demonstrations. There will also be raffles for various items, including a rain barrel.