They were executives, telecom employees, lawyers or even police officers. From now on, they have an activity much more fun and live particularly well from it.
Their story is often the same and resembles the same. that of Ryan, now aged 50 years old. In 2008, this executive in the communications department of a company computer science has decided to to leave everything behind to devote oneself to; a childhood passion: Lego. "One day, my boss asked me: how many meetings do we have per day? It's at at that moment that I realized “that I didn't want to do any more meetings at all,” he explains to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, which recently profiled him.
After leaving his job, Ryan started again. à assembled the famous plastic bricks in his garage, as he did as a child. His creations quickly won over audiences in Melbourne, where this Australian is settled. One thing led to another and he managed to achieve this goal. be recognized in your country and beyond and is today one of a few dozen official manufacturers of the brand to date. across the world, considered Lego ambassadors and authorized to participate. exhibit their works.
Today, Ryan McNaught is at home. at the head of a company, The Brickman, which employs 35 employees. It produces dozens of models each year and offers exhibitions all over the world. His specialty is of the moment: dinosaurs. Around fifty giant sculptures make up its traveling collection "Jurassic World by Brickman".
The "Lego Certified Professionals" (LCP), which brings together the official manufacturers of the brand, has many other enthusiasts, such as the Italian Riccardo Zangelmi, the Japanese Jumpei Mitsui, or even the Frenchman, Georg Schmitt, former telecom engineer, but also ex-police officer, who specialized in technology. since 2012 in the reproduction of architectural buildings in Lego. Everyone has a unique journey. Among the best known, the German Rene Hoffmeister simply made himself known by creating an amateur blog on his constructions and the American Nathan Sawaya, a former lawyer who relaxed at home with Lego, has become in a few years a world star of sculpture in small colored bricks.
An easy reconversion?
According to the various testimonies, it is possible to live very well with this new activity. Over the year, the salary of an official builder can easily exceed 100,000 euros. Some works are even sold for between 10,000 and 20,000 euros each.
Retraining as to it seems relatively simple. To achieve this, a curious and very imaginative mind is enough according to the majority of people. of the professionals interviewed. "I sometimes use a computer to create plans etc. But most of the time I don't need it. All it takes is a little imagination, says Ryan McNaught. "Whatever lies in your imagination, a plane, a bike, a giraffe, a dinosaur… you can do it all! "
You still have to be very manual, as other official manufacturers point out. Preparation and organizational skills are also essential, as recently explained by Dr. Nathan Sawaya to the newspaper Le Monde: "I glue the bricks together so that the sculptures resist damage. design and travel. “When I make a mistake, I have to use a chisel and a hammer to separate them.” Managing brick stocks is also a subject, even if an official builder can acquire millions of bricks at a time. very good price from the company!
Becoming a professional builder also means having marketing and profitability constraints. The works produced must in fact be useful to the public. advertising from Lego or partner brands (like when you build a life-size Porsche for example). Finally, you have to know how to make your works known and attract collectors, who can buy them at a high price.
Obtaining Lego certification and respecting the contract with the brand are essential. other steps to follow have in mind. But the most difficult according to several pros is elsewhere: it is above all a matter of convincing those around you that you can "play" to Lego in a professional setting. "My bosses were confused when I told them about it. “that I left the firm to play with bricks,” confides Nathan Sawaya… To children who are passionate about the famous game, he passes on this message: “Practice again and Again. Never give up your dreams. And never lose your imagination.