I Am An AFOL: Regarding This Week’s TexLUG Brick Fiesta LEGO Convention & My Outing As An Openly Open Adult Fan of LEGO (AFOL)
Last summer I grabbed a bag of LEGO bricks from my parent’s attic: a lost island/pirate jail scenario, soldiers around a campfire, a boat, and a monkey. This sent me spiraling into a world of acronyms, toy snobbery, and fun. As an AFOL, an Adult Fan of LEGO, I learned that a wide variety of people share this hobby with me. Doctors, engineers, teachers, musicians, and artists all employ this children’s toy to express themselves.
Nathan Sawaya, a well-known LEGO artist, quit his job as a corporate attorney in 2001 to bring the plastic toy, or “Brick,” in the parlance, to bear as a legitimate artistic medium. His full-scale anatomical sculptures of human beings made entirely of LEGO bricks have toured the country in his exhibit, The Art of the Brick. Last month, a Make-A-Wish charity auction saw a 1,900-piece Vampire GT Supercar go for over $1,600.
Blogs like The Brothers Brick keep track of official news from The LEGO Group, as well as showcase recent MOCs (My Own Creations) from the AFOL community. Local collectives of builders, dubbed LUGs (LEGO User Groups), meet across the country and come together in conventions. For any budding Lone Star brick artists out there, TexLUG (a group with chapters across Texas), is sponsoring the second annual Brick Fiesta, a LEGO convention happening this Wednesday through Sunday, July 4-8, at the Westin Galleria Hotel right here in Houston.
Houston resident Tony Sava, who goes by SavaTheAggie online, has spent the past six years and employed more than a million bricks crafting 25 scale-model locomotives. His detailed reproduction of the Texas State Railroad depot in Palestine will be featured in the Public Exhibition portion of Brick Fiesta Saturday and Sunday. The exhibition is open to all ages.
For those brave souls who wish to be counted among the legion of AFOL, a Convention Membership is available. The membership includes access to the Public Exhibition as well as discussions and competitions held July 4-6. Between the robotic sumo wrestling competition and a brick-chunking siege engine toss-off, members of TexLUG and employees of The LEGO Group will host discussions on building techniques, storage solutions, and official product launches.
What else are you going to do on a Friday night?
(Palestine Train Depot photo by Tony Sava.)