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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

October 2, 2010 at 4:56 PM

Showpieces to wow Lego fans

danparker-m.jpg
Sketched Sept. 30, 1:49 p.m.
If you thought Lino Martins or David and Kelli Smith have too many Legos, wait to hear about Dan Parker.
The Puyallup native said he owns about 2.5 million pieces and has built more than 2,300 sets in the past 21 years.
But Parker is not your average AFOL –“Adult Fan Of Lego.” The colored toy bricks are the tools of his creative trade.
He spends 12 hours a day running The TBP Group, a Tacoma-based Lego studio offering custom displays and classes for companies, parties and schools. He’s also one of just a few “Lego certified professionals” in the world.

“I wear three hats: artist, businessman and teacher,” said Parker, a former Army helicopter technician who rediscovered Lego as an adult when he was 30. In 1997 he founded the Puget Sound Lego Train Club and a couple of years later he left his job as a research analyst at an engineering firm to run his Lego studio full time.
Parker doesn’t see himself so much as an artist, but as someone who likes to use his hands to dream, imagine and create. “Lego becomes the clay, the music, the word on the page,” he said as he quickly arranged some of the pieces of “container raid,” one of his displays at this year’s BrickCon. It features a port scene with a SWAT team cracking down on illegal activity inside cargo containers — picture Lego minifigures as gun smugglers, drug traffickers and computer hackers.
The last chance to see this year’s BrickCon’s unique Lego displays is Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall.
I’ll be there to admire the amazing creativity AFOLs like Parker bring to Seattle every year.
Blog extra!
See uncropped version of the sketch, with all the notes from my interview, here.

Comments | More in Lego, Portraits

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