Jonathan Duggins is a photographer and videographer originally from Texas. You could say he’s a LEGO buff, but with the way he utilizes LEGO bricks as a tool to create fascinating images in the setting of space, it’s clear he’s not just any ordinary fan making ordinary fan art. Let’s get to know the artist behind the incredible photos in Let’s Build Space.
Nonahood News: What drove you to become an artist? When did you realize creating art was your passion?
Jonathan Duggins: Making art has always been a part of my life. I love to create. From a very early age, I’ve been making models, drawing, painting, and building with LEGO. It gives me life to take something I imagine and turn it into something tangible and real.
Along the way, I have had key influences like my grandma, who was a successful painter in Dallas, Texas. I was also curious. I saw others’ artistic ideas, and I thought, “I wonder if I can do that? How can I combine ideas to make something new?”
I have worked as a videographer and photographer for a nonprofit for over a decade, so many of my projects there have served a purpose. However, I find that having a passion project outside of work challenges me and pushes the limits of my artistic abilities.
NHN: How often do you find yourself creating art?
JD: Creating art is pretty constant for me. If I’m not making it, I’m thinking about it and developing concepts.
NHN: How long did it take you to discover yourself as an artist?
JD: I don’t know if I’ve “discovered” myself yet as an artist, but with this LEGO photo series, I feel like I have moved into a medium that comes naturally to me. It is the intersection of two passions, LEGO and photography.
NHN: Which of your projects would you consider to be your favorites?
- Let’s Build Space – A LEGO photo series that celebrates historic moments in space exploration and playfully imagines everyday life as a LEGO astronaut.
- The Dad Workout – A photo series and parenting blog that highlights the humor of being a father.
NHN: Which of your projects were the most time-consuming/challenging and why?
JD: Let’s Build Space – There are so many variables that draw out the time to get a photo from idea to completion. I am continually searching for inspiration for photo ideas. A few photos include pre-designed sets made by LEGO, but I design most of the creations that are used in my photos. Sometimes I need to special order unique LEGO bricks from sellers in other countries. For many photo ideas, there are often reshoots to correct small details in order for the image to be just right.
NHN: What are some of your dream projects?
JD: I would love to collaborate with big brands to help tell their story through the medium of LEGO. I can capture a moment in a way that feels real, that connects emotionally but still embraces the fun and playful side of being LEGO bricks.
NHN: What serves as your inspiration on a day-to-day basis?
JD: I love building with my kids. We’ve played with LEGO together for years. They’re at an age when their imagination is set free to build anything. I love watching their joy as they play. I also want to bring joy to people’s lives through my art. Whether it’s on social media or in an art gallery or in a book, I want to create opportunities for people to stop and experience happiness in the moment.
NHN: Future goals/plans?
JD: I have saved every LEGO build that I have done for this photo series. My dream is to open an art exhibit with large-scale throughout, accompanied by the actual LEGO models on display. I think the contrast between the large images and the small LEGO models would be something unique for people to experience.
I’m also hoping to do a Let’s Build Space photo book once I have created enough images. I want it to be educational so that people can learn about the history of space exploration and at the same time enjoy the images done in LEGO.
I look forward to exploring new LEGO photography ideas and bringing those ideas from my imagination to reality.