HOUSTON — In his LEGO room at his Pearland home, Dr. Gregory Jonason's art takes on many forms. From across the galaxy to the top of the music charts, his love for building LEGO mosaics and sculptures started at a young age.
“My mom and dad, they bought me LEGO sets when I was much younger, in the late 70s, early 80s. I had the famous Yellow Castle set. LEGO folks, they know about that set."
He refers to himself as an "AFOL" or "Adult Fan Of LEGO."
“It’s meditative to do this," he said.
Boxes and boxes of LEGO pieces fill an entire set of storage shelves with what he estimates to be hundreds of thousands of pieces.
“I say I'm building or creating something. But my wife says I'm playing with LEGO," Jonason said.
And there are no instructions. Jonason makes "MOC" or "my own creations" and he does it largely using a computer.
“It's just a big matrix: x, y. And I use a number of softwares,” he said.
It helps that for 24 years Jonason has worked in IT. He's an enterprise systems application developer at the University of Houston supporting the UH point-of-sale and card system.
LEGOs are the perfect combination for his talents, he said.
“Art and computer science," Jonason said.
His most detailed design? A nearly 6-foot tall mosaic of David Bowie comprised of six different colors when you look up close. But, it looks black and white from afar.
“It's grayscale, it has 35,840 elements, or dots, on the front,” he said.
He and his LEGO club built a micro version of Houston that can be seen at Bush Airport (Terminal C/Gates C1-C15). Peter Lieber started the project and club member Brian Costello took it over. Jonason has also been featured in an exhibit at the Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Art in Cypress. He's even commissioned.
"When we build these creations, there's some level of satisfaction that we have inside I think," Jonason said.
And just down the street from his house, his work is showcased at the local store Bricks and Minifigs Pearland which includes a 3'x4' foot C-3P0 mosaic and a three-foot-tall Mario and Luigi sculpture.
“It doesn't have to hang on the wall to be art," he said.
His dream is for LEGO to display his work.
“The biggest payoff of anything is just to have people look at it," Jonason said.
Until then, he'll keep building brick-by-brick.
“I feel like people maybe remember having some good memories of LEGOs that they've built in the past or that they've had before and I don't know exactly what's going on in their head, but you can see it in the expression. It's just priceless," he said.
Visit Jonason's website to see more of his work at: bricksinasnap.com or see his Instagram: @bricksinasnap.
A LEGO convention will take place next July at the Sugar Land Marriott in Sugar Land Town Square. Visit brickrodeo.com for more information.