LOS ANGELES— One of the most recognized toy names in the world - known by children and adults alike - is LEGO®. It has gone beyond bricks to video games and even a full length film. The LEGO building block may be more than 50 years old, but its fans continue to grow across all ages.
While many adults miss the sense of wonder they felt as children about what their imaginations could create, some grownups can still capture that feeling through tiny bricks.
“That sound to me is the sound of creativity," said Peter Abrahamson. He said it’s his favorite sound. He has been playing with LEGO bricks for more than 40 years. “The amazing thing I always found about LEGO was the ability of a toy to make other toys,” he said.
Abrahamson builds LEGO creations at home, with his daughter, and connects with other fans at the LEGO Users Group of Los Angeles. There are adult fan clubs like this around the world, where creations are displayed and fans buy, sell and trade LEGO pieces.
Available in 53 different colors the LEGO bricks sold in one year would circle the globe five times.
Mariann Asanuma makes a living selling LEGO creations. She said when she was a child, more boys played with LEGO bricks than girls. And that's still mostly true. “If you go to a [LEGO] convention or something that’s about five percent women to 95 percent men,” she said.
Adult men who are willing to spend money on LEGO sets for themselves says Paul Hollingsworth, whose zombie prison displayed at the fan meeting is worth around $600.
“If I look around at some of these models, I see hundreds of dollars spent. I know my wife would much rather have a purse or handbag or a pair of shoes or a dress, whereas guys would rather have 50 zombies or a giant space ship,” he said.
But as LEGO toys continue to be popular, they are now being marketed to girls as well as boys.
“Playing with LEGO is something I can do with my daughter who is seven years old,” said Hollingsworth. His daughter Hailee even has a YouTube show, showing her audience how to build LEGO creations.
Nathan Sawaya also has a global audience. But instead of the virtual world, he shows his LEGO creations in contemporary art galleries and exhibitions. "We’ve been to Singapore Taiwan Shanghai, South Africa," he explained.
His art work attracts people of all ages.
”Art made out of LEGO bricks is very accessible," Sawaya said. "People have LEGO bricks at home so they can connect to the art in a different way.”
While some people connect with LEGO creations at an art exhibit, others experience the LEGO world through LEGOLAND amusement parks or at the theater, with The LEGO Movie, released worldwide.
“We love the movie we’ve seen it twice,” said LEGO fan Paul Lee. LEGO bricks are timeless for a reason. “The LEGO brick they sell today is still compatible with the brick they made 30 years ago,” he added.
Many of these fans say they will pass on their LEGO bricks to their children and hope their grandchildren will still be playing with them as the family LEGO collection continues to grow with each generation.