Ryan McNaught Talks To Bricking Around About The Brickman Experience

Australia’s only LEGO Certified Professional – Ryan McNaught – will for the first time ever exhibit his remarkable LEGO creations at BRICKMAN EXPERIENCE in Melbourne March 31st – April 12th and then Sydney June 27th- July 12th.

More than 50 original works will be featured along with their own unique behind the scenes story, including original drawings and sketches. A variety of Ryan’s LEGO works will be displayed with over 5 million LEGO bricks making up the works.

Ryan took some time out from his busy schedule to talk to Bricking Around about the show, and life as a LEGO professional.

Firstly, can you tell me a little bit about your show?

The show is about a couple of things, firstly is a collection of over 50 my major works from 2009 to the present, it’s pretty much all the big stuff and the little neat things I’ve built over the years, the second part and what is really interesting for AFOLs is that I’ve gotten together with almost all the other LEGO Certified Professionals from around the world and gotten them to make a LEGO model for the show, each with a common theme of “Transport”  from their native country.  Im not going to give away what they are, but there is some amazing stuff, some certainly very unique to their country.

The other things that’s a bit different is that the setting, it’s very much art gallery style with some neat lighting and displays and there is a lot of different hands on activities. I have a few Mystery mosaics that will be built by the public over time, and as well as the obligatory build area there is a new thing never seen down here before called “The Signature build”  which will see the how the public goes at building these big models, so there is lots of hands on type stuff as well as of course millions of bricks in models.

Sydney Opera House

The event that you are putting on promises some behind the scenes information, which has me wondering what the design process is for you? Do you start with pen and paper or is it more digital these days?

With each of the models I’ve included the back story about the inspirations behind them as well as pictures during construction (Have you ever wanted to see what’s inside some of these models sort of stuff) and I talk about the issues I had with them when building, techniques that I use and all the good stuff.  Quite often the story behind each model is more interesting than the model itself!

When you first started being noticed by LEGO was there a temptation to move overseas and pursue something like a job with the model team in the US?

Not really, they do some amazing models and get to work on good projects but they just don’t get to do the variety of things that I get to work on, some days I’ll be doing giant LEGO minifigs, the next day I’m doing an ancient Roman thing for a museum, so I much prefer to be the master of my own domain.

What is your relationship like with the LEGO company, do they monitor what you do very closely or do they just let you do your own thing? Has there ever been something where LEGO has said “you can’t do that”?

Yes absolutely, our relationship is based around trust and certain core values which I take very seriously, there are a myriad of rules and regulations around doing what I do, for example, licensing is a great example, if I want to do anything Star Wars, I have certain channels I need to go through to get permission etc.  Likewise I try and avoid ripping off the IP of license holders.

Was there a particular moment where you realised you could make a living from LEGO or was it more of gradual transition from hobby to career?

It was a gradual thing, I was doing it part time for a few years before I had built up enough of a reputation to go full time, so it certainly didn’t happen overnight.

One of the models on display will be Elvis. As some people will know, that particular model was damaged in an act of vandalism. I have seen that model and the thought of having to try and remember how something that large went together seems daunting. What was that rebuilding process like for you?

It’s interesting and forms a good part of the show, to me it was actually quite Zen like, in that is what LEGO is there for, to rebuild and make into something else, or do differently, so I wasn’t really that upset about it when I rebuilt it. I think when it happened it was more of a shock than anything else.


Part of what you do is private commissions, are there any really strange things you have been asked to make?

I’ve been asked to do a lot of licensed type stuff; Star Wars, Batman etc.  which realistically I cant do due to licensing.

There are strong indications that a LEGOLAND Discovery Centre will be opening in Melbourne. Is that something you would like to see happen?

I guess it’s a good thing, they are more a fun play centre type experience as opposed to a real LEGOLAND, they do have some good models in them, so if it entertains the crowds/families then it’s a good thing.

Do you remember the last retail LEGO set that you built?

I build them all the time for store displays, so its quite common, the other day I built the little service truck with the porta Loo on the back, great little set!

You are given the chance to come up with a new theme. What is it?

Its funny you should say that as given by age I was thinking the other day what would work for me, and all I could come up with was 1980’s disco LEGO

Are there any plans to bring your show to other states? As somebody based in Brisbane I’d love to see it.

Yes absolutely, it’s booked in for Melbourne over the Easter break and Sydney in June/July we are certainly looking at other options, I’d love for it to head further North.


We’d like to thank Ryan for taking the time to talk to us. You can find out more about the specific events below.


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