Lego Exhibition: Brick Man Experience

Lego certified professional Ryan McNaught.
Lego certified professional Ryan McNaught.

IT was only recently Ryan McNaught’s eight-year-old twin boys realised the secret of what it meant for him to be one of only 13 Lego certified professionals in the world and how different it was to the job of other kid’s dads in the school playground.

“And one of them really likes his Lego because I do it, while the other one thinks it’s uncool because I do it,” the 43-year-old Melburnian said.

McNaught actually has his twins to thank for his career change from IT, where a ‘babymoon’ trip to Florida with his wife Melinda started him on the path to full-time Lego model building and subsequent touring exhibition, Brick Man Experience.

“We both had seeing NASA’s space shuttle launch on our bucket list,” he said.

“The weather was lousy and we never got to see it launch, but while we were there found a Lego shop.

“It was 2007 and because the Aussie dollar was just awesome compared to the US, Lego was unbelievably cheap and I saw this French restaurant Lego set.

“It was the coolest thing I’d ever seen and I told my wife I had better get it for ‘the kids’.”

McNaught got hooked and rang his mum to see if she had his old Lego set, which she did, including his first Lego – a 29-cent little blue boat his grandmother Hazel had bought him when he was three years old.

He then found a Lego club and was at one of its exhibitions when approached by Lego officials who had heard about software he had written enabling children to control their Lego Mindstorms systems wirelessly through an iPad.

McNaught will be in Perth for 14 days of Brick Man Experience at Elizabeth Quay from April 7 to 20, featuring 60 original works and an interactive building zone.

“Not only will we have these awesomely amazing, really big and grand Lego works, which is kind of the inspiration angle for it, but there’s a lot of stuff we need your help to build,” he said.

“There will be lots of activities for people to come along and help us with. Hopefully we can inspire them and they have the chance to prove their Lego mettle too.”

McNaught said his favourite model in the exhibition was the Colosseum, which took six weeks to build and is split in half, with one side set in its prime in 100AD with gladiators and the other how it looks today with tourists climbing all over it.

“The reason why I like it so much is that Lego bricks are square and rectangular, whereas the Colosseum is oval,” he said.

“To make an oval out of square bricks is really quite technically challenging and the skills I learnt when I built that a few years ago, I’ve used in lots of other models since.

“We tend to bring our models to life, adding a lot of fun and colour to them. If you look at the little details it will keep you entertained for ages.”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Brick Man Experience

Where: Elizabeth Quay

When: April 7 to 20

Tickets: www.brickmanexperience.com.au