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The latest piece to enter Nathan Sawaya's extensive LEGO art collection. He unveiled the Flying Pig during the media preview on Wednesday, Oct. 21. [Image: Leah Zipperstein / Cincinnati Refined]

You Won't Believe What This Guy Does With LEGO Bricks

"It all starts with a brick." That's what Nathan Sawaya says in the video you see upon entering The Art of the Brick, an exhibition currently on display at Cincinnati Museum Center.

This lawyer-turned-artist has made hundreds of pieces of LEGO art. The work ranges from recreated masterpieces (The Thinker and Mona Lisa, for instance) to Sawaya originals (like Yellow, a life-sized sculpture of a man ripping his chest open).

And the thing is, they're all equally incredible. He even constructed a special pink flying pig just for this exhibition. Only in Cincy... where pigs fly.

One particularly cool moment (in what is essentially an ocean of cool) comes toward the end of the exhibit. Here, Sawaya's creations are amplified by a collaboration with award-winning photographer Dean West. The resulting hyper-realistic images -- which include a lady in a red LEGO dress, a swimmer at the pool ready to grab his LEGO towel, and the Wild West with train tracks made from, you guessed it, LEGO bricks -- take you one step further into Sawaya's active imagination.

... Oh, and did I forget to mention the 20-foot-long T-Rex dinosaur skeleton lording over its very own room?

Sure, it might start with a brick, but it takes an impressive amount of vision to build upon that first step and take the concept to the finish line. Because while we've all, at one time or another, built a house out of LEGOS, we haven't built the world's largest display of LEGO art.

That claim belongs to Sawaya.

Art is necessary. It's not even optional anymore.
-- Nathan Sawaya

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The Art of the Brick is on display now through May 1 at Cincinnati Museum Center. For more information, click here.