42-year-old Canadian, Jeff Friesen, and his seven-year-old daughter, June, have created what could be described as, arguably, the best Banksy tribute we have seen in our whole time as Banksy T-shirt grand masters.
Using those all too familiar coloured plastic bricks that we know as, Lego, the completed project has been dubbed, Bricksy.
Highlights include tongue-in-cheek versions of Balloon Girl, Banana Pulp and Bouquet Thrower – all with Jeff’s own funny captions and embellishments.
The work makes an unexpected connection between Banksy’s street art and Lego bricks. There is something compelling about gritty street scenes rendered in clean, modernist Lego bricks.
For many Bricksy scenes I hope to give viewers an extended story for Banksy’s work, often infused with sideways humour. The iconic bouquet thrower, for example, is revealed to be throwing flowers to his girlfriend in a tale of forbidden love – she happens to be a police officer.
Each scene takes Jeff about a day including Lego building and photography. He says he typically makes five or six versions of each scene.
A lot of time is spent looking for Lego parts, as my daughter has access to the same brick collection, which are technically hers.
It is challenging to make gritty street scenes in clean, modernist Lego bricks, though there is a fun irony to it. I also wanted to do more than a straightforward recreation of Banksy’s work, not always successfully. For example, in The Mother of Anarchy the scene is zoomed out from Banksy’s original and includes the surrounding trashed buildings and riot police.
I think of Banksy as a culture-shifting phenomenon…not just for his artwork but for his wit and his toying with the art world. Even his critics cannot deny a before-Banksy and after-Banksy moment.