The Sick Brick: Eric Weber’s Lego Art

Published on September 29th, 2009 in: Art, Current Faves, Halloween, Horror, Issues, Movies, Q&A, Toys and Collectibles, Underground/Cult |

Interviewed by Less Lee Moore

Eric Weber is an incredibly interesting and inspirational person. He’s a cult movie junkie, horror film fanatic, Divine devotée, and luckily for us, he writes about these things for Popshifter.

He’s also a visual artist who includes sketching, painting, and photography in his repertoire.

When he’s not following one of his many artistic and creative pursuits, he reenacts scenes from some of his favorite films in Lego form and photographs them.

hell night by eric weber
Hell Night
Photo © Eric Weber

Were you always interested in Lego as a kid or did you pursue the interest as a way to pay tribute to your fave movies?
Yes! I’ve always been obsessed with Lego. Growing up, my parents were kind enough to get me certain sets every so often, usually part of some Lego “theme.” like Pirate, Medieval, and City Life. Those things are really expensive! However, I never really played with them in that particular context. Even then I would set up weird scenes or tableaux that were usually of a horror movie nature. The story almost always ended up with the entire construction being demolished in some flashy, final showdown.

It was only later in life, around college, when I decided I wanted to try to recreate actual films that I liked. At the time (the early 90s) they didn’t have any movie-themed or “branded” Lego kits so it was sort of a new concept or so I thought! The first “shoot” I did was for The Poseidon Adventure. That was fun—to build a set and then turn it upside down!

How do you decide on which scenes to recreate?
I just pick a certain scene that would be instantly recognizable to anyone who has seen the film. For the set-ups I created for Creepshow and Hell Night, I picked the most famous or memorable sequences. For example, I think everyone is pretty familiar with the crate monster from Creepshow, so that was a no-brainer. The trick was finding the right sort of pieces to represent the monster, the crate itself and the “under the staircase” setting.

creepshow by eric weber
Photo © Eric Weber

Do you sketch out the diagram of the scene first or do you just work more organically?
I just envision the scene in my head and start building. On rare occasions I will get the DVD and look at the scene, just to see where pieces of furniture are placed or where people are standing. However, I try to not do that because I want to build the scene entirely from my memory and not have it be EXACTLY as it appeared in the film.

How long does it take to set up one “shot” of a scene?
It depends on the film. Some take more building than others. The one that took the longest was the shopping mall for the Chopping Mall photos. That one took a lot of building because I was trying to have the scope of the image set in a larger environment. For example, I needed you to be able to see other “stores” in the background. . . not the wall of my house! The Creepshow staircase took a long time as well, trying to build it around the crate and the creature and not have it look like he was just stuffed inside.

chopping mall by eric weber
Chopping Mall, a.k.a. Killbots
Photo © Eric Weber

What camera equipment do you use? Any special techniques? What about lighting?
Currently I’m only using a simple, six megapixel “point and shoot” Minolta digital camera. I used to shoot them using my old Canon 35mm camera but that ultimately broke. Digital cameras are great in that you can really zoom in and get some good detail shots. I actually want to get a new, larger megapixel camera with a specific macro lens. I think that once I do that, the images will look a lot better. It’s still a learning experience. I will most definitely re-visit the films I’ve done and try to improve the quality.

Lighting is really hard—I usually just use a little desk lamp to illuminate certain areas, or use a combo of any sort of light source. . . sometimes natural light in combination with a flashlight. I really wanted to be able to replicate the colored lighting effect for the Creepshow pics (the bright reds, blues, etc.) but I wasn’t successful in figuring that out. I ended up just taking the photo into Photoshop and adjusting the color balance a little. Again, it’s still all one, big learning experience!

Do you get inspiration from other Lego/film enthusiasts?
I have seen some really interesting Lego creations online that were very impressive and pretty inspiring. There are some great examples on Flickr. For example, one guy made the car from Death Proof out of Lego and that looked amazing. I also saw somewhere this massive environment depicting a scene from the writings of H.P. Lovecraft. . . complete with zombies and a really imaginative and well done Cthulu tentacle monster!

Didn’t you send some artwork to John Waters? What was his response?
Yes. I actually sent him a framed piece I did featuring images from The Honeymoon Killers re-creation. It was small, black and white prints re-enacting the famous scene where Shirley Stoler kills the old lady with the hammer. I’ve always been a huge fan of the film and knew John Waters liked it as well. I sent it to the gallery that represents him in New York as a sort of fluke thing. I thought, “Hey, he might actually like this.” He sent me a very nice, brief postcard saying thanks and that he thought it was a great piece. He also added “Shirley Stoler RIP” which I thought was nice since I’m also a huge fan of hers, as well.

honeymoon killers by eric weber
The Honeymoon Killers
Photo © Eric Weber

Has your work been featured in any art shows? Were those rewarding experiences?
So far a few of the pieces have been in two Atlanta art shows. The first was a show I curated and developed in April called “We Are Going to Eat You”, which was a collection of artwork based on (or inspired by) cult movies. I showcased about six framed pieces in that show. A few months later I was asked to include some pieces in a fundraiser for Mint Gallery (the same gallery that exhibited the “Eat You” show). Was it rewarding? Absolutely! It was fun to stand back and watch people look at the pieces and either try to decipher what film it was from or see an actual fan take notice and laugh. I noticed the Creepshow piece got a lot of laughs. That made the whole thing totally worth it.

What films do you want to recreate which you haven’t yet?
I pretty much have a running list of some titles I’d like to do at some point. Prom Night (the original Jamie Lee Curtis version, of course); Lady in a Cage (a really wacko woman-in-peril flick from the early 1960s with Olivia de Havilland as an invalid poetess trapped in her home elevator); and Possession (the one with Isabelle Adjani and her monster/baby/lover!).

Are there any other Lego “tributes” you would like to explore?
Gosh. Never really thought of it. I don’t think I would really use Lego as the medium for anything else besides movie re-enactments. I mean, I think that’s really what makes the joke work so well. I doubt I would ever try to recreate anything else, except, I don’t know. . . maybe tragic female personalities from history. Like Selena or Lizzie Borden.

One Response to “The Sick Brick: Eric Weber’s Lego Art”

  1. Popshifter » We Are Going To Eat You, Too:
    April 16th, 2010 at 10:01 am

    […] can also read a great interview with Eric about his art from Popshifter’s September/October 2009 issue. Don’t forget to check out […]

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