Q+A : Andy Bauch on his Lego Mosaics

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You may have seen his work downtown (Beelman’s, Down and Out, Snarky Pop…) and you’re about to see it at LAX this summer. Epic subjects,  a hallmark childhood toy and unrivaled patience are the backbone to an Andy Bauch LEGO Mosaic piece. The Boston native has been at it for hours and gaining momentum with his signature portraits, Hunter S. Thompson and Ringmaster. Dive into our interview the artist himself and keep your eyes out for his upcoming installation at LAX!

LA CANVAS: Let’s address your LEGO mosaic art. Why Legos (and you can’t say ‘why not!’)?

ANDY BAUCH: I like the contrast created by taking something cheerful and imbued with the essence of childhood and using it to explore a variety of subjects, light and dark. Also, have you played around with LEGO bricks lately? Because they are fun as hell.

LAC: Can you explain the creative and the production process in determining what pieces to craft (how you select your subjects, and where you begin to build)?

AB: To be honest, I don’t have a magical system to choose new subjects. I should work on that probably? I simply jot down ideas, make digital sketches, and when I get the time and money I reach into the bag of concepts and say, “ooh, now I get to build this one!”

LAC: What is the most challenging part about your artwork, and what is the most rewarding?

AB: The most challenging part by far is the limited number of LEGO colors available. Making a variety of works with a tiny selection of colors is not easy. The most rewarding aspect is after I’ve laid down enough pieces on a project, that moment when I step away from the ‘canvas’, breathe a sigh of relief, and think: okay good, this one isn’t going to look like garbage.

“The most rewarding aspect is after I’ve laid down enough pieces on a project, that moment when I step away from the ‘canvas’, breathe a sigh of relief, and think: okay good, this one isn’t going to look like garbage.” – Andy Bauch

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LAC: Talk about the Hunter S. Thompson piece: why you chose the subject and how it came together.

AB: Hunter S Thompson has long been a fascinating author to me. His book “Hell’s Angels” is one of the most badass things I’ve read and, cheesy as it may be, inspired me to start riding motorcycles. I may make a few more pieces about hell-raising authors and turn it into a series.

LAC: What is your favorite piece?

AB: The “Ringmaster” piece is the one I’m most proud of. It took 13,824 LEGO bricks, dozens of hours, and some state-of-the-art 3D projection mapping technology (courtesy of my friend Trey Harrison) to construct.

LAC: From where do you draw artistic inspiration (art, culture, history, food, strangers….etc) ?

AB: Art and pop culture are what I’ve drawn on most so far. I also often get suggestions from my many creative friends. At the end of the day picking the next subject just means deciding what currently resonates most for me!

LAC: How long does it take on average to complete say a 38×30 inch lego piece?

AB: In the range of 10-30 hours, so call it perhaps 20 on average.

LAC: What is your dream project or how about the next piece you are excited about?

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AB: It would be fun to make something huge. Really huge. And perhaps, if circumstances allow, to plaster it on the side of a building. LEGO street art is a fairly underrepresented niche, no?

LAC: What keeps you in LA, and what do you love the most about being out here?

AB: I grew up outside Boston and live in downtown Los Angeles. I love LA because it is 50 cities in one, and not a damn one of them is functioning properly. That may sound like a negative, but I truly appreciate a city that isn’t overly manicured. It’s a little bit post-apocalyptic sometimes, especially downtown, and there’s something magical about getting chased after by a guy on a bicycle kicking his leg in the air and screaming “yah!!!” while you’re clutching your kale/acai smoothie.

 It’s a little bit post-apocalyptic sometimes, especially downtown, and there’s something magical about getting chased after by a guy on a bicycle kicking his leg in the air and screaming “yah!!!” while you’re clutching your kale/acai smoothie.

LAC: What should your followers look forward to next?

AB: I have a few really out there ideas…they may involve paint, robotics, pointillism, and hopefully some collaborations with a few other artists I really respect! Thanks LA Canvas and Angela for taking the time to pick my brain!