Artist captures memories with Lego mosaic portraits
By Colleen Quigley, Reporter
Originally Posted: Wednesday, May 17th 2017, 12:21 pm
HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – It’s a painstaking process – picking Lego pieces, one at a time, to put in the perfect place to create giant portraits – and it takes a whole lot of patience. Just ask Brian Korte.
“Anywhere from a couple hours to 20 to 30 hours, depending on the size,” said Korte.
For the past 11 years, Korte, a brick artist, has been building Lego mosaic portraits. It takes more than 13,000 tiny bricks to make the one-of-a-kind pieces. Currently, his work is on display at the Cultural Arts Center in Glen Allen.
Korte started his creations as a fun hobby, but it has since become a full-time job.
Many of these colorful mosaics have a touching story behind them. More and more, Korte is making portraits to memorialize loved ones who pass on.
On the gallery’s wall is a mosaic of Connor and Brittany Kirk, who were murdered by their step father in 2009. Korte had met the children a few years prior at a Lego convention. After their death, Connor’s father sent Korte a box of his son’s Legos.
“Just a horrible tragedy and a violent shooting. He couldn’t bear to have his son’s Legos constantly haunting his memory. He hoped I could do something positive with them,” said Korte.
Korte made the portrait using Connor’s Legos as a colorful border.
“It was emotional. It was emotional. I put a lot of heart and soul into the builds,” he said.
Korte says each piece starts with a photo.
“I pair it down to its essential colors, which will be the Lego colors because Lego has a very limited pallet of colors, which is part of the creative challenge,” said Korte.
The most expensive colors are shades of gray, which Korte needs to create portraits that pop off the wall.
“The more photorealistic, the more blended and dithered the colors are, so it’s a little more painstaking and tedious to put it together, but it’s still enjoyable,” Korte said.
Korte says he’s living his dream job, building with Legos and fulfilling orders for star athletes, even royalty all over the world; but also making memories for families and turning something sad into something to cherish.
“It’s a privilege. It’s a privilege I’m honored to do it,” said Korte.
Korte’s work will be on display at the Cultural Arts Center in Glen Allen until Sunday, May 21.