OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Please welcome back our very important puzzler, Nathan Sawaya.

(APPLAUSE)

NATHAN SAWAYA: Thank you. Thanks.

EISENBERG: So for any of our listeners who have not had a chance to see some of your pieces, you've done some amazing reproductions of famous art.

SAWAYA: I have. Yes. "The Art of the Brick" is an exhibition I've done where I've taken some works of art from art history and replicated them all out of Lego bricks.

EISENBERG: And I mean the paintings are amazing. The sculptures - especially the size of them - the large Easter Island monolith.

SAWAYA: The Moai, yeah. Exactly. It...

EISENBERG: Incredible. Buddha.

SAWAYA: It took about two months to create and it was a long two months.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Long two months. So when you are talking to people in conversations, like oh, what do you do? And you're like, oh, I am a Lego artist and they go well, you know, you're trying to impress them. They're like well, what's something that you made, what's the one you roll out?

SAWAYA: I suppose the largest thing I've ever created is a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton that measures over 20 feet long, used over 80,000 bricks.

EISENBERG: How nice.

SAWAYA: That's what gets the girl, when you say 80,000 bricks.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: And how long did that take you?

SAWAYA: That took me an entire summer to build.

EISENBERG: Oh wow.

SAWAYA: Yes.

EISENBERG: I wouldn't say you're confined, but when I see these replicas of art, some of the impression stuff, where there's a lot of colors. Of course, painters have millions of colors to choose from with mixing up and you are confined.

SAWAYA: I am confined to the Lego palate. I don't paint the bricks. I stick with what Lego has made. And the idea behind that is I do want to hopefully inspire kids to go home and create on their own. And if I do, I want them to be able to buy those very same bricks I use. So I don't alter the bricks, I just use what's provided. So it's an interesting challenge but it's part of being a Lego artist.

EISENBERG: And in addition to the stuff that goes on tours and in galleries, you also, you participate in a little bit of graffiti - your version of graffiti, I suppose.

SAWAYA: I'm based here in New York City. I see a lot street art. I wanted to have my own version of street art. What could I do? It's not real easy to paint with Lego bricks, so I came up with my own little concept. I call him Hug Man.

EISENBERG: Aw.

SAWAYA: Little figure that - he's 15 inches tall. He hugs things like park benches, signposts; I just leave him around the city.

EISENBERG: And how long do they last?

SAWAYA: It's New York...

EISENBERG: Yeah.

SAWAYA: ...so....

(LAUGHTER)

SAWAYA: ...it's a good hour before he disappears.

EISENBERG: That's good.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: All right. Are you ready to take on an ASK ME ANOTHER challenge?

SAWAYA: Sure.

EISENBERG: Excellent.

SAWAYA: What could go wrong?

EISENBERG: In your exhibit "The Art of the Brick," you've made some amazing replicas of famous paintings and statues, like the thinks Sphinx of Giza and Whistler's Mother.

JONATHAN COULTON: And now we are going to see how much you know about those original masterpieces. So all the answers will be a piece of art you have replicated in Lego form. OK.

EISENBERG: Right.

COULTON: So you should be familiar with them, theoretically.

SAWAYA: Hopefully.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: And if you get enough right, Skip Curtis of Brewer, Maine is going to get a special ASK ME ANOTHER prize.

COULTON: Awesome. This is for you, Skip.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: On the opening day of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Norway, art enthusiasts shrieked when they discovered that thieves had broken into the National Gallery of Oslo and replaced what famous painting with a note that read, thanks for the poor security.

(LAUGHTER)

SAWAYA: That would be Edvard Munch's, "The Scream."

EISENBERG: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Sarcastic criminals are the worst criminals.

COULTON: I know.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: According to the movie "Tupac the Resurrection"...

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: ...one of Tupac Shakur's favorite songs was about what Vincent Van Gogh painting?

SAWAYA: That would be "Starry Night."

COULTON: Yeah. That's right. All right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Try this one.

SAWAYA: All right.

EISENBERG: Which piece of art did musician Brian Eno claim to successfully urinate on when it was exhibited at the MOMA in 1995?

SAWAYA: Mm. So many, actually.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: That he claimed. He claims to urinate on things all over the place.

COULTON: Right. That's true.

SAWAYA: This was an interesting.

COULTON: That guy's all talk.

SAWAYA: This was an interesting work of art for me to replicate. I had never seen it done before and that was creating a urinal out of Lego bricks, which I did. And it's Duchamp's "The Fountain," I believe. Yeah.

EISENBERG: Yes. That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: To complete this work, the artist had to paint standing and look up for four straight years, causing terrible neck cramps. About his experience, he wrote, my beard toward Heaven. I feel the back of my brain upon my neck; my loins have penetrated to my paunch.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: I'm not in a good place and I'm no painter.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: I know the feeling.

(LAUGHTER)

SAWAYA: It's Michelangelo's "Sistine Chapel."

COULTON: That's right.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: I believe this is your final question.

SAWAYA: Great.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: P. Diddy is a man of many of accomplishments.

COULTON: True. So true.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Name all of them.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: But perhaps, his most viral creation was when he tweeted a picture of himself in a Paris museum being photo bombed by what famous painted lady?

SAWAYA: I am not familiar with this viral photo.

EISENBERG: OK.

SAWAYA: I am going to have to make an educated guess.

EISENBERG: I think that's a great idea.

SAWAYA: I'm going Mona Lisa.

EISENBERG: You're going correct. There we go.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Nathan, guess what?

SAWAYA: What's that?

EISENBERG: Skip Curtis of Brewer, Maine is going to receive an ASK ME ANOTHER prize. You did it for him.

SAWAYA: I did. That's awesome.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Let's hear it for our VIP, Nathan Sawaya.

SAWAYA: Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BRICK HOUSE")

COULTON: (Singing) She's a brick house.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: (Singing) She's mighty mighty, just letting it all hang out. She's a brick house, lady's stacked and that's a fact. Ain't holding nothing back. She's a brick house. We're together, everybody knows and here's how the story goes.

(Singing) She knows she got everything a woman needs to get a man. How can she use, the things she use 36-24-36, what a winning hand. She's a brick house. She's mighty mighty, just letting it all hang out. She's a brick house, lady's stacked and that's a fact. Ain't holding nothing back. She's a brick house.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Jonathan Coulton.

(APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BRICK HOUSE")

COULTON: (Singing) She's a brick house. She's mighty mighty, just letting it all hang out. She's a brick house, lady's stacked and that's a fact. Ain't holding nothing back. She's a brick house. We're together, everybody knows and here's how the story goes.

(Singing) She knows she got everything a woman needs to get a man. How can she use, the things she use 36-24-36, what a winning hand. She's a brick house. She's mighty mighty, just letting it all hang out. She's a brick house, lady's stacked and that's a fact. Ain't holding nothing back. She's a brick house.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Jonathan Coulton.

(APPLAUSE)

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