This giant butterfly has an 8-foot (2.4m) wingspan. The sculpture took 4 months to build, and contains over 60,000 LEGO pieces.
The monarch butterfly pollenates and feeds from a Milkweed plant. Both the plant and the insect need each other to survive. I wanted to show the beauty of their natural relationship by posing them together like this.
This sculpture is the single-most intricate and complex sculpture I have ever created. In all, it took four months of full-time work to design and build.
It is the second-largest sculpture I’ve made to date, yet also incredibly detailed and incredibly delicate. This is further complicated by the limited nature of pink LEGO elements, which are hard to get even for us professionals! While these constraints made the sculpture incredibly time-consuming to build, it made it, in my opinion, equally as incredibly fun to look at. :)
The vast majority of work was spent on the Milkweed plant. The real Milkweed has a five-pointed flower that forms a white star when the petals open and fold backwards. After a lot of prototyping, I settled on a design I liked and then created dozens of alternate permutations of the design, flipping and rotating them into lots of random positions to give the flower a full and randomized, natural feel.
The sculpture is built around a central steel rod that keeps it bolted to the ground outdoors, for protection from wind, weather and theft. The rod also helps support the weight of the flower, giving the sculpture a weightlessness that belies its 250 pounds.
The tan pieces in these photos are the “scaffolding” we use to help keep the sculpture in place, upright, and straight while we’re still working on it.
The tiny crease between the upper and lower wings (above) is perhaps my favorite detail in the sculpture. Although the antennae are fun, too, because they bobble in the breeze.
Even better than your swallowtail! I have also seen these flying near where I live, and they are one of the most notable species of lepidopteran of all. Very Excellent! 5/5 because it is just that good.
wow! Wow! and might I add WOW! the funny thing is, and others may have said it also, but in the opening shots it looks NOWHERE near 8 feet in size. I guess our minds just make things that should be small just appear small... great exercise in patience and perseverance!
The moment I saw the first image, I was already thinking "How in the world did he engineer THAT!" Incredible work on the delicate forms (and with such a large scale, too). Really impressive piece, Sean.