What started out as a trip to Toys-R-Us to buy a Star Wars Lego set in 1998 turned into a career for Jonathan Lopes, a professional Lego artist.
Lopes, who said Legos were his toy of choice as a child, will exhibit his work at BrickUniverse, A Lego fan festival held at the Raleigh Convention Center. Event organizer Greyson Beights called the festival the ultimate Lego fan experience.
"It's a massive celebration of anything and everything Lego," Beights said. "We have Lego creations, professional artists flying in from around the country, vendors - anything and everything Lego. It's a Lego lover's paradise."
BrickUniverse will be celebrating its 8th year, Beights said, inviting Lego artists from far and wide to showcase their creations. The event will take place on Saturday and Sunday during multiple time sessions. Sculptures, murals and a hands-on building section are just some of the features fans can experience.
According to Lopes, Lego building remains a form of art in spite of some not considering it one.
"If you're creating something out of nothing, it's art and it's just how you create it," Lopes said. "I create with Lego, if you gave me an easel and some paints, I could do that too."
Though Legos are also toys, Beights said they can also function as a vehicle for learning.
"Lego's a toy, but it's so much more," Beights said. "You can learn science, technology, engineering, math, history, architecture - and our event shows a bit of that."
Beights said Legos continue to serve as a timeless medium.
"Someone once said it's like combining the joys and elements of building a puzzle and doing a painting," Beights said. "There's something about it."