Escaping Reality

I couldn’t be happier to drag Mike M. back into the spotlight for the second time in a week here on the Manifesto.  Mike’s topic is typically gloomy, but his latest diorama pushes the envelope into the macabre, which is defined by Webster as “involving death or violence in a way that is strange, frightening, or unpleasant“.  I’d say this build qualifies as strange, frightening and unpleasant but just like a car-wreck, it is almost impossible to look away.

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The tilted camera-angle is the perfect technique to add to the tension of the scene.  Both the lighting and the focus of the shot are excellent as well.  The expression on the figure’s face is really an interesting choice, in fact the face looks a little happy or relieved to me, which adds way more interest than a frowning or agonized face.  Initially I thought it looked like Velma from Scooby Doo, but upon further reflection I’m not as convinced.

Suicide is a dicey subject matter to engage with, especially when your medium of choice is a children’s toy, but I think Mike handled it by elevating his building and presentation to a point where it doesn’t come across as salacious or frivolous manner.  It takes some courage to post a build like this when you’re likely to offend or put off a portion of your audience from the jump.  I’m talking about the LEGO cultists who want everything to be shiny, happy and rated G for general audiences.  This build is among Mike’s best work and a great piece of single-image storytelling.  Also, there isn’t a masonry masonry profile brick in sight.  I  wonder what it would look like if the builder switched the floor design and the wall design.  I’m not sure it would have improved things dramatically but I remain curious.

The flowers floating in the toilette bowl is probably my favorite detail, but I love the way all of the accessories carefully strewn around the scene tell a story that leads up to the horrible act.  Just because I can be a picky bastard I kind of wish Mike had included a shower curtain, because to me a shower-head and a shower curtain kind of go together,  but in no way does it take away from the build.  Bravo Mike, you really hit the mark with a challenging subject matter, even the title is perfect.

I can only recall one other model with the same subject matter that was worth a damn and it also had a great title: “The Note“.  The builder is Brian Rinker, and the scene is sheer perfection.  Most people use minifigs when they address suicide and the results are typically underwhelming.  This diorama doesn’t feature any figures at all and the result becomes almost overwhelming.  When I first looked at this photo I was too focused on the french doors and yard beyond to notice the noose.  There is a great depth of field going on here and it is very effective in dividing the viewer’s attention.  Just like Mike’s bathroom scene, all the surrounding details combine nicely to tell a story.  The build is complex in technique but subtle in it’s treatment of the theme and with over 21k views I’d say a more than a few people agree.

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12 thoughts on “Escaping Reality

  1. Im blowin away by that man. speechless to so.many points brought up. I wasnt worried at all about posting such a true matter that should aways be talked about. but the second I went to post it I hesitated, lol ManyManyThanks for the kind words.

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  2. I include myself in the group of people who like seeing Legos in abnormal situations. (I draw the line at anatomically correct cartoon characters, however.)
    I love the little story details and well placed color. I don’t miss the curtain. The lack thereof creates a stark empty mood that matches the subject matter.
    Very nice, Mike M.

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    1. You could be right about the curtain, and at that scale I can’t immediately think of a good solution for building the curtain. I think stark is the right word for not having it.

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  3. I forgot about Brian’s masterclass of forced perspective, thanks for reminding me of that subtle brilliance. The mood is the same in both with brilliant execution (no pun intended.) Mike really hit the mark and as I said on his page, my favorite aspect is the ring next to the tub. This is how you build narrative and leveled history in a character. And with a single image, he began a multi-layered conversation.

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  4. thx guys, I think I remember when Brian posted that Masterpriece. I thought to myself. thats Epic storytelling, it was eyeopening, mindblowing even, never did I see adult content/ reallife issues depicted in lego form before that. still such a big inspiration to this day. Now I wanna build a shower curtin. LOLOL its killing me….

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  5. Cheers for posting this, somehow I missed Mike’s build, didn’t show in my stream.

    Brian’s build is masterful, both in terms of perspective and as an interior design piece… then just as you’re thinking what a beauty this is, you notice the “details” and what seemed just a wonderful interior becomes a masterpiece. It’s one of those builds I often go back to for a hint of inspiration.

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    1. It is a model worthy of re-examination from time to time. So often we focus on what’s new at the expense of taking a second or third look at the really important work that’s out there.

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  6. Hey Keith, thanks for the shout out and kind words, and everyone else who has commented, you all are too kind.

    Mike, you’ve been on a roll with your creations recently and it’s awesome. Keep it up man! Your builds recently have been very thought provoking and deep, and I like it. It’s not easy to do that with bits of plastic, so you’re definitely doing something right. I look forward to the next one!

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    1. Non worries Brian, I’m happy to do it. Your model is one of the most influential models in the last few years. Everyone knows that image and everyone has a strong reaction to it. Thanks for stopping by to give props to Mike, I know he appreciates it and I hope you stick around and give us your thoughts in the comments from time to time.

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