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Power of Making
An exhibit at the V&A museum in London, England, visited by yours truly.
About this creation
I recently traveled to London to visit the Victoria & Albert Museum and view the Power of Making exhibit guest curated by Daniel Charny, Senior Tutor of the School of Design at the Royal College of Art (London). I was honored that my piece, "It's not Easy Being Green" was asked to be included in this special exhibition that ran from September 6th, 2011 - January 2nd, 2012.




Part of my visit to the UK was spent visiting another great Lego builder and friend. I departed from St. Pancras Station.




The world's largest Lego Christmas tree adorned the lobby.




This is scenic Derby, hometown of MOCpages own Stuart Delahay. I was greeted at the train station by a small lad holding a sign that read: "Dave Kaleta" and had a Batman logo below (Stu's 4&1/2 year old son Frasier)




Ah, series 6 minifigures are already out in the UK! It was very consoling not to be the only adult feeling up packages in the store for once. Stu picked up a few he needed to fill out his collection, and I chose a Sleepyhead for myself.




Part of our time was spent building together. After seeing Stu's Charlie Clown-punk mech, I wanted to give the genre a go. This is the clown car I built with his collection; I'm sure we'll eventually see more of this in Stu's future MOCs. It was great getting to meet Stu, his lovely wife Caroline and his adorable children Frasier & Sophie! It was also a pleasure to get to build along side such a creative mind and see his process.





Here we can see two of Stu's Clown-punk builds, Charlie, and a new Clown-cannon. Pay no attention to those people behind the builds.





This is the main entrance to the world famous V&A museum; billed as "The wolrd's greatest museum of art and design". The collection is humongous and I barely had time to check out half of it. Highlights for me were the architecture section and the casts (including Trajan's column).





I was 'chuffed to bits' to see an advert for the exhibition as I entered the museum for the first time.






I found these in the modern collection.






Here's an overhead view of the exhibit, which was right inside the front doors. This photograph was immediately after the museum opened on Dec 31st, but apparently, much of the time, there was line to get in. When I visited (at the close of the exhibition) over 280,000 people had been through the exhibit (yes, that number is correct).






Ground level view of the interior space. Very well designed by Zoe Whitley and Veronika Sertoi, my two wonderful contacts at the V&A. Pictures were not allowed inside, but as an exhibiting artist, I was granted special access before the museum opened and a tour with Zoe as well as permission to photograph inside.

I learned that in working with his students, Charny had found that many of them had great ideas for design, but were not as willing to take the time to learn the skills needed to turn those ideas into reality on their own; they wanted to outsource the work. In the collection, Charny wanted to highlight the art of making and the skill and dedication it takes to become an expert in a giving field. The pieces in the exhibit were almost all made in the last 5 years, and showcased a wide variety of medium in which the artist worked for many years to master techniques that are less than commonplace.





The lips hat on the left was worn by Lady Gaga.





The most difficult item to acquire for the exhibition were these armadillo shoes by Alexander McQueen





The tips of these pencils were sculpted by pin over many years.





This mahogany bike went through many iterations before this current form.





This is a 'power-suit' designed for Stephen Hawking.





This life size coat-hanger gorilla greeted you at the entrance to the exhibit.





As part of my visit, I was asked to lead a three hour workshop in the 'tinkerspace' of the exhibit. This was an area where artists came and shared their process with the patrons.





For my workshop, I constructed a building from my neighborhood. I pre-built it in Chicago, and then partially disassembled it and rebuilt it at the museum.





Perhaps you see a familiar face at the table with me? It MOCpages own George G! I actually didn't recognize him at first and offered to teach him the curved wall technique. He replied, "I already know that", in a very polite way and then introduced himself.





George was actually a great help to me and was able to assist some of the children at the table in learning the techniques. He was also helpful in working on my building. George made a wonderful homage to commemorate our meeting; It's not Easy Being Little and Green





Here's a little sneak peek at the build I did. More pictures to come soon.





I also had my portfolio on iPad to share with the visitors previous creations and pictures of my studio.






Lego Kanye was on of the pieces I was able to bring with me to the museum.





My two friends, Frank and Matt were able to join me on this trip. They were very supportive and helpful to me during the workshop.






Here it is in the dissected flesh. The plaque which accompanied the piece read:

'It's not easy being green'
LEGOŽ dissected frog

A notable entry in the 2010 LEGOŽ-building Olympics, David Kaleta's dissected frog is surprisingly anatomically accurate. He suggests it is an improvement on traditional dissection: no formaldehyde required.

David Kaleta
USA(Chicago)
2010

Construction
LEGOŽ building bricks and LEGOŽ materials










Leda, this picture is for you!




I was extremely humbled to be a part of this experience. What I hope, is that having the frog included in a non-Lego exhibition will give added credibility to the medium and continue to help the public see Lego as an art form.



Comments

Dave Kaleta
 I like it 
White Knight
  January 12, 2012
Fascinating !>....just sold my old Bayko collection, its certainly not a patch on lego, anyway....well done
 I made it 
  January 12, 2012
Quoting Cory Johnson Excellent piece, both the Lego creations and the blogwork. Any chance we could get some kind of tutorial section or some way of sharing building techniques on this site? OR can you refer me to a place that has that kind of stuff? I think it would be great to get some advice from some of my favorite builders from time to time.
I'm not sure of any place where you might find tutorials, but the way I learned was by looking what others were doing and trying things on my own. Also, it never hurts to ask questions; most of us are happy to share how we managed a certain technique or connection!
 I like it 
  January 12, 2012
Excellent piece, both the Lego creations and the blogwork. Any chance we could get some kind of tutorial section or some way of sharing building techniques on this site? OR can you refer me to a place that has that kind of stuff? I think it would be great to get some advice from some of my favorite builders from time to time.
 I like it 
  January 11, 2012
Sharing lego technics with kids... What a wonderful time!! Thanks for the review and the nice pics.
Dave Kaleta
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Dave Back to School :(
  January 10, 2012
Sweet man!
 I like it 
  January 10, 2012
You know how excited for you we here at the Price house were about the exhibition and your trip, and it looks as if your adventure over the pond was indeed terrific. Thanks for sharing this with us -- it is so cool to know your artistry was recognized and to see the pics. I'll even get the Mrs. to look at this post, and she never looks at MOCpages. (Sorry, Stu, but if you ever had a look at southern Indiana you would have to agree that Derby is much more scenic. Trailer parks, anyone?)How cool was it that not only did you get to share and teach, but that you encountered another builder in the process? Not to mention the warm welcome of your hosts, of course. Dave, you certainly deserve the honor because you are, quite simply, a class act.
 I like it 
  January 10, 2012
The kids looked like they were having almost as much fun as you were in the tinkerspace. Congratulations on being part of the exhibit!
 I like it 
  January 10, 2012
Dave, congratulations, I think it's great that your skill and dedication to your craft was honored in this way!
  January 10, 2012
I'm a little concerned with the amount of 'Thanks for the photo of Stu' comments from the delinquents. I'm just waiting on the first ham-fisted example of photoshopping to arrive in my inbox ;)
 I like it 
  January 10, 2012
This whole experience really couldn't have happened to a nicer, more deserving man. The whole trip looked amazing! Meeting Stu and George must have been great! Thanks for the pic of Stu also. Good to be able to put a face with the... well, whatever he is. Great recap and thanks for sharing! Congratulations! ~ Chris.
 I like it 
  January 10, 2012
nice to see some of England here,great post!
Dave Kaleta
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The Crazy Forgoten One
  January 9, 2012
Neato! Very cool!
Dave Kaleta
 I like it 
Dave Sterling
  January 9, 2012
Brilliant write-up Dave! And congratulations on being picked to be a part of this exhibit. You certainly deserve it as "It's Not Easy Being Green" is easily one of my favorite pieces of LEGO art. Again, congratulations!
  January 9, 2012
congratulations that piece definatly deserved it. by the way i dont know why but thanks for adding me as one of your favorite builders.
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
Oh yea, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who feels stupid while feeling Collectable Minifig packs.
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
What an great adventure Dave! It's been amazing watching you experience this incredible opportunity! Don't worry, I read the fine print on the restraining order, and watched you from 300 yards away.....for the most part. It's also great to finally get a pic of our lovely Stu. He totally gets me chuffed! :P
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
WOW! boy, George G is lucky!
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
Fun! Congrads!
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
Amazing job getting the clown car to gradually go through the color of the rainbow. Also that building looks great! Can't wait to see it. :)
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
WOW! You da man!
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
Thanks for sharing and congratulations on being included in the exhibit.
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
Amazing! Its great to see you enjoyed your time in England and met some Great British builders and your Build really did deserve to be there! Now I wish i could have gone!
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
That looked like so much fun. :D So cool that George G was there. :)
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
Looks like fun!
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
Thanx for sharing your adventure with us! :)
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
Wow, looks like a fun time! The clown-car you built looks excellent, as does the building. I'm not sure why anyone would bother sharpening pencils with needles though, LEGO is a far better use of time. Great work!
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
Excellent write up here Dave, a big thank you for sharing this with all of us. It is also good to see Stu and George in the shots. Your work along these lines of teaching and inspiring young builders has always impressed me. Bravo!
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
Wow, beautiful!
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
You are the man; I hope I get the chance to hang out with you too, someday. Mark put it best, it's not easy being green with envy! =P Also, thank you to you and Stu for putting a face to the name.~H
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
Looks like you had a great trip!
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
That looks like an amazing experience, congratulations on being a part of such an interesting display!
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
Wow! I'm excessively jealous! A trip to London, a day with Stu and his family, the V&A Mueseum, and meeting George G. Your week was action packed! Hope you had a great time :)
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
Yeah, that's pretty much the coolest thing I've even seen - it's not easy being green with envy! Congrats on the exhibition, Dave! What a fantastic experience from the build, through the MOCO's, to this trip. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
What an adventure! Congrats on the well deserved exhibit!
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
Looks like my comment is being moderated. Just to add the sleepy head is the last series 6 I need. And nice picture Stu! Nice to be able to put a face to a name. And that Clown Cannon is Awesome!
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
That's great to teach future generations how they're going to become AFOL! Great exibit!
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
That's great to teach future generations how they're going to become AFOL! Great exibit!
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
A very cool experience! I think it's incredible that you were able to attend and be highlighted for the medium we all love, but more incredible is your sharing of this experience with us. You continue to do justice to the AFOL community with more than just your builds, but the fact that you give back and teach kids!
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
I didn't know the Victoria Albert did stuff like this - congratulations on your exhibit! : ) How weird you bumped into George G by accident! When we tried to meet up with him at a Lego show and couldn't find him! His mini version of your masterpiece is excellent too. Nice photos, thanks for sharing.
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
Looks like you had a great time, can't wait to see more of that building!
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
cool - great exhibit!
  January 9, 2012
cool i love those sculptures and your build i can' wait 2 see it
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
Add the picture mate, but if anybody loses their lunch over it, it's no fault of mine! I was thrilled to see you, build with you and talk sh.... stuff with you. I can heartily recommend Dave as a house-guest folks, generous, funny and willing to sleep on an air-bed in your lounge. My own post will be coming soon, but at no point will it use the terms 'Derby' and 'Scenic' together. Rest assured the (frankly awesome) clown car is in good condition despite my kid's intentions. Wish I could have got to the show, but chuffed to bits that it went so well and you enjoyed your visit. Now I have to return the favour....
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
Looks like you had a great time, I wish I could have been there :P Now I think about it, I should have had a sign with the Bat-symbol on it too - or I could have just brought the Bat-light! It was superb coming down and twas a great experience! Thanks Dave :)
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
Woooow lucky you are !!!!! That's very cool to cross the atlantique ocean to share some lego technic !! In fact, your "it's not easy to be green" deserved to be in a museum... beautiful pictures of London...
 I made it 
  January 9, 2012
Quoting Leda Kat =^..^= Oh man I was so hoping you'd post a sneaky pic of Stu!
Oh, I have a picture, if he gives me permission, I'll add it to the post.
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
Oh man I was so hoping you'd post a sneaky pic of Stu! What an amazing experience this must have been for you. I am jealous for the time you had and the things you saw but I am also so happy for you that you have this experience and exposure for your stunning art. I also love that I can say "I know him! I met him! We ate pizza and drunk beer together!" When you become a famous star I hope you still find the time to enjoy the company of our little group of Lego nuts ;) Cheers for sharing your time in London (the architecture is so impressive it makes my jaw drop) and thanks for my photo of the tower bridge!!! When I build it I will try recreate that lighting and see if it brings back nice memories for you.
 I like it 
  January 9, 2012
Brilliant! Thanks for sharing and congrats on the showing.
 I like it 
  January 8, 2012
Looks like a really cool exhibit, and to have something displayed there is fantastic! Also, I know it's not Lego, but that bicycle is just gorgeous...
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  January 8, 2012
Wow, Dave! What an honor to be a part of this AND you got to meet George G!
 I like it 
  January 8, 2012
Wow, looks like just about one of the coolest things that could happen to a Lego builder– getting to meet other great builders and having a piece featured in a museum. Amazing stuff!
 I like it 
  January 8, 2012
I am such a combination or Jealous, nostalgic, grateful, happy and overjoyed! I miss the V&A and the British Museum I have been to London (England for that fact) 5 times. You brought back such memories hence nostalgic! Grateful you shared these pictures not only of the Legos and your contribution but of the Museum and its exhibits as well! Happy to see them and your frog dissection as well. Overjoyed to be writing this! But if all goes well my jealousy may not last long...I may be going to see my mates in the end of September or beginning of October! And God willing a visit to Legoland in Windsor! THANK YOU and HAPPY NEW YEARS!
 I like it 
  January 8, 2012
That. Is. Awesome.
 I like it 
  January 8, 2012
Wow, you must've had quite the time of your life!
 
By Dave Kaleta
Add to my favorite builders

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Added January 8, 2012
 


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