Nathan Sawaya

Having a bad day in Biglaw?

Did you love Legos as a child? Well, who didn’t? They’re colorful and creativity-triggering. Having your child play with Legos is probably better than handing him an iPad equipped with Angry Birds (although I’ve witnessed firsthand the power of Angry Birds to mollify a misbehaving child, so I don’t judge).

But did you ever think, regarding Legos, that you could turn it into a living? And not just a living, but a successful career as an artist?

Today in career alternatives, we meet a lawyer turned Lego lover. His sculptures have appeared in museums and galleries around the country….

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My worst day as an artist is better than my best day as a lawyer.

Nathan Sawaya, former Winston & Strawn attorney turned LEGO artist, commenting on his decision to leave his lucrative Biglaw career to play with toys. His latest exibition, The Art of the Brick, will be on display from December 2, 2011 – February 20, 2012 at the Morris Museum in New Jersey.

‘Think,’ one of the pieces on display at Agora Gallery.

This past weekend, two of your ATL editors paid a visit to Agora Gallery in Chelsea. We wanted to see for ourselves the LEGO brick sculptures of Nathan Sawaya, the lawyer turned LEGO artist.

As explained in our profile of Sawaya, the NYU Law grad left Winston & Strawn for a $30,000-a-year job as a builder at LEGOLAND. Several years later, Sawaya is now a world-renowned LEGO artist, whose works sell for thousands of dollars.

So, what did we get to set our eyes on? And how did we like it?

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Nathan Sawaya went to the trouble of getting a law degree, but now he’s making a living with a skill he mastered in kindergarten.

Instead of building cases these days, Sawaya is building large-scale sculptures out of LEGOs. He’s been a LEGO fanatic since he got his first set at 5 years old. He told Image Magazine that while at NYU Law, rather than using his law school desk for studying, he used it for building a LEGO replica of Greenwich Village.

Despite spending his law school days playing with blocks, he managed to score an offer from Winston & Strawn.

Six years ago, though, he won a contest at Toys R’ Us and left the firm to take a $30,000 job as a builder at LEGOland. That batsh*t crazy decision has actually turned out well for Sawaya, 36, if you consider being a world-renowned LEGO artist to be a good thing.

New Yorkers can now check out his work at Agora Gallery in Chelsea. “Brick by Brick: The Lego Brick Sculpture of Nathan Sawaya” opens today.

What might you see beyond a man-size Blackberry (with a built-in flat screen TV)? Here are some examples of Sawaya’s “art”: