The Artist Formerly Known as Lemon_Boy

When you stick around this hobby long enough one of the rewards is watching talented young builders develop into even more talented adult builders. In my jealousy  I frequently daydream about killing people like Erik and eating their hearts to steal their power, because I’m old and slow and I need the juice!  Erik used to be known as Lemon_Boy back in 2007 when he started posting on Flickr and as such I have always associated this terrible song with him. No, no, I don’t dislike Erik, I think he’s great, but a person’s theme song (much like a nick-name) is completely beyond his or her control.

Flash forward 9 years and Lemon_Boy has transformed into Adult_Boy, but fortunately for us his skill with the brick has only increased over time.   Submitted for your approval is Erik’s latest LDD effort, entitled “Red is not a color, it is a crisis“.  True, the builder is a hipster, but I urge you not to hold that against him.  Look, the spaceship has paddles!  The curves and color blocking are eye-catching and the paddles really take the build to another level of originality.  I still can’t decide if I like the purple inset in the back, but I’m no master of the color wheel so I’ll leave that up to you.  The boilerplate gray wheel-engines are perhaps the only detail I take exception with, they seem like a tumor on the ass of an otherwise unorthodox design.  The engines the job done but I wish Eric had continued the design innovation throughout the model.  I can’t forget the tail-gunner position though, it’s probably my favorite detail.28269186161_9e0ac457fe_o.png

Erik is one of the handful of guys in the hobby like Mark Kelso and Fredoichi whose artistic talent only begins with LEGO and extends well past what many of us are capable of doing.  I should probably speak for myself here, but as a guy who is unable to do anything better than stick-figure scribbles I am constantly in awe of artists like Erik who can translate their vision through any number of mediums.  In fact, If I had the ability to create the kind of images you see below, I would probably give up the hobby for good.  One of the big reasons I’ve stuck with LEGO for so long is that I have zero artistic ability beyond the brick, and even that is questionable.  Erik’s style take me back to the 1980’s and fond memories of Heavy Metal magazine, which provided me with endless entertainment in as a youth and exposed me to cool artists like Moebius (Jean Giraud), Mirko Ilic, and Grant Morrison.

Like any veteran builder who is worth his salt, Erik had a successful fad a few years ago with his series of Awfulworld models.  I have to admit that I didn’t really grasp the popularity of these builds because I find the topic of children’s armies to be anything but “twee” and the style just seems too silly.  I understand it’s purely a matter of personal preference, there is certainly more than enough room for silly under the hobby’s tent.  You may like silly, it’s a perfectly fine choice.  I recommend you fly your twee flag with abandon, constant reader.

Erik wrote one of the best blog articles I’ve ever read for the Twee Affect in 2013 that completely breaks down the Awfulworld theme and takes you through the building process that includes inspiration, influence, technique, examples from other builders and more.  Rarely has a builder been able to articulate the process so well and I wish Erik would blog more often but he’s not a Lemon_Boy anymore, he’s an Adult_Boy and probably has less time for such endeavors.  Although it’s not very flattering I think part of the reason I don’t care for the series is some of the reaction it elicited from overzealous fellow builders who called the builds “adorable” and “Heartbreaking”.  Bitch please, there is nothing heartbreaking about it, unless you find things like Pokemon or steam punk to be heartbreaking.  Also, on a fundamental level I object to the term Twee-Punk which was often applied to the model below, even by the builder himself.  It makes no god-damned sense.  Punk (as in punk rock) can be defined defined as: “a style or movement characterized by the adoption of aggressively unconventional and often bizarre or shocking clothing, hairstyles, makeup, etc., and the defiance of social norms of behavior, usually associated with punk rock musicians and fans.”  There is nothing punk about Awfulworld, when you look at the model you don’t hear Black Flag playing in your head, you probably hear Arcade Fire or perhaps Yakety Sax!  Now let’s examine the definition of twee: “affectedly dainty or quaint“.  I wouldn’t describe the image below as dainty, I guess I can understand quaint but that’s not the first word that comes to mind.  I guess the flags make it affectedly dainty?  Mostly I want to rip the flags off of what is otherwise a rad little model.  The door gunner is a great detail and the scale is interesting.  As many people point out when commenting on Erik’s builds, he’s really good at incorporating studs into his models.  While I tend towards studless building I always appreciate it when a builder is able to incorporate studs in a natural way.


Erik seems to build more with LDD these days than with the beloved brick, but I think the ideas he’s pushing out these days are far more interesting.  I will end this examination of the artist formerly known as Lemon_Boy with a couple of my favorites .  So if you’ve got the time, take go tubin’ down Erik’s Flickrstream and enjoy more of what you’ve seen here in addition to some great Star Wars builds, SHIPs and a few mecha.  I hope that crappy U2 song is still with you, constant reader, for surely you deserve it.


29 thoughts on “The Artist Formerly Known as Lemon_Boy

  1. to me theres nothing better the the ability to pick up a pencil and draw something let alone make it into unbelievably detailed artwork an then take thoses visions and recreated or create in Lego. My whole apartment walls would be covered in art if i could be so talented. fantastic blog man.


    1. Thanks Mike, I agree that it seems kind of like a super power to be able to draw something well. Thanks as always for the comment, I hope you stick around for more conversation.


  2. How dare you lower the class in here further with U2! I need to scrub my ears with 40 grit.

    I find it more important for young artists to continue to scratch that itch in spite of their encroaching lives. That drive to create is too easy to ignore and cast aside, kudos to Erik for multiple outlets and going for whatever is next.

    Not entirely sold on the paddles, I keep seeing Bond’s white Lotus. It does however drift towards something Miyazaki-esque so I can go 70/30 on it. Dat nose!

    No more U2 please.


    1. Dude, for the record I have to cop to being a fan of U2. I don’t care for there recent stuff but you can’t really deny their importance to pop music even if Bono is an insufferable tool. Unforgettable Fire and Achtung Baby still get a spot in the rotation and Zooropa is kind of unique in spots, like Andrew says further down. Anyway, this is a classless joint here, abandon any illusion of quality at the door my friend.

      I think regardless of age, you’ve got to leave some time for some art in your life.

      Now that you mentioned Bond’s Esprit, I can’t unsee it. I still dig the paddles even if they are a little foppish.

      More U2 you say? I actually dig this one.


  3. Excellent overview of an artists work (and an excellent artist… and excellent work!). I recognize the name, but entirely to my own discredit, I could not have named any of his builds. This article puts him back on my mind map.

    I second rowntRee’s comment: I hope this guy keeps building! He brings challenging ideas to the table, and we all benefit from that! And yea, the fact that he also does those epic drawings… I say right on man. You can see some Lego parts in the pictures… but mostly I see parts I wish Lego would produce! His drawings allow MORE freedom of expression. A freedom I certainly don’t know. Like you Keith, I am mostly chained to my bricks.

    As for back story: I observe that for me personally, those stories often drive my internal creative process. My little stories TELL me what I am trying to build. I visualize scenes or characters or object from within a larger narrative, and then try to “build towards that”. But I also think back stories are usually less interesting for the audience than for the builder. I have seen many MOCs and read many back stories… the MOCs are almost always the stronger element. Back stories… my own included, are a lot like bag pipe music. Some of it is really good… but most of it aint. And the line between really good and god awful is but a fleeting trace. There is only one quick blink between The Lord of the Rings and… Eragon. (Oh, if you are and Eragon fan… then piss off!).

    That said, “pubescent’s” would NOT be a logical choice for armored vehicle crews… because the entire demographic is characterized by it’s rapid physical growth rate. In other words, they would outgrow their tiny tank crew positions as quickly as teens outgrow shoes and pants (I’m housing, feeding and clothing three of these so called pubescent’s as I write these words). If you are expecting a high casualty rate… the inhumanity of the modern industrial battlefield… the soldier as a cog… the horror, the horror… then a case might be made (a weak case at best) for juveniles on the battle field… maybe as foot soldiers. Tanks however are harder to replace than foot soldiers, and so, just by installing adjustable seats (Or in a more obnoxious scenario) recruiting smaller people (certain ethnic groups or females for example) one could retain the marginal benefit of tiny crew spaces, while at the same time, allowing the tank crews to mature, and accrue experience, thereby increasing their skill as tank operators (apply the fighter pilot “training and retention” model here). Tanks are a priority weapon on the battlefield… they need to be operated by seasoned skilled crew members, not by mass produced bullet pushers. Ask any Israeli tanker, skilled crews trump raw numbers.

    Sorry, but commentary on military back stories is my own bit of baggage… and try as I might, I just cant leave that baggage at the station.



    1. Yeah, backstory is tricky at best. We’re all tempted to include our awesome ideas about the world beyond the build, but I agree with you that most of the time it’s self serving and most of the great builders are not necessarily great writers. Usually I check out on backstories about halfway through and go back to the image. As backstories go, at least Erik’s is well researched and thought out, he just didn’t write a paragraph of dialogue between minifigs and call it a day.

      Your take on pubescents and tanks was a delight. I say that without a trace of sarcasm. I mean, you’re still an idiot, but bravo, I wish I’d written that in the article. Any time you want to guest-post, let me know. Idiot.


  4. Erik is one of those artists whose work you can look at completely out of context (Lego or not) and immediately recognize as his. As you pointed out, he is a master of integrating studs, which is something a lot of green builders don’t appreciate. I sometimes question some of his part choices and integration (like the wheel engines), but those minor issues are far outweighed by his refreshing designs and his expert use of color (I, for one, am a fan of those purple bits). Really glad you gave him some much-deserved attention here, as he’s been on my radar for years and I always felt that not enough people were “getting” what he does.


    1. Agreed, Erik has a very recognizable style, which is not an easy thing to develop. It too me a while to appreciate what he does, back then I got too caught up in not liking Awfulworld to really see how good he was (and is). As always, thanks for the comment Christopher, it’s good to see you posting frequently around here, I appreciate the feedback and the conversation. I’m sure Erik does too.


  5. Good call on the song with the article. It sort of fits the theme of artistic growth and being a little strange:
    “A man paints a picture, a moving picture. Thought the light projected he can see himself up close.”

    You know I actually like the Zooropa album – it’s totally bizarre and has a song with Johnny Cash. I’m not saying it’s good by any means but it has its merits in its weirdness.


  6. Again, thanks for flashing the light down a hallway I would otherwise have missed. I have seen and marveled at Fredoichi’s, Pierre’s and a few others traditionally artistic creations, but Erik’s work is new to me. Such a clean, well executed style. I do draw in a very limited way, which makes looking at these works even more enjoyable. Thanks Keith, and thanks Erik for sharing.


  7. One of the coolest things I’ve seen at brickworld, wasn’t a LEGO creation. It was Erik.
    I was doing a parts draft with BroLUG and Erik was just chilling on the couch sketching. I barely paid attention to the task at hand as it was utterly unbelievable how great his sketches were, even few years ago.
    It was like some magic sci-fi wizard. Or he had some sufficiently advanced skill I didn’t.

    And I’ll echo Rutherford’s comments regarding back story. I’m exactly the same way, totally flushed out stories and ideas for a lot of my builds (I gotta think of something whole looking for that damn piece). But I sick at writing and people get disinterested in text walls.


    1. Oh the things Simon has seen at Brickworld. You need your own memoirs Simon, or maybe you’re own blog? You seem very quiet on TBB these days. You were the one hope of reinvigorating that mausoleum.


      1. I actually laughed out loud at the I thought of memoirs… an idea that is so ludicrous, of all the people here, I’ve been around the least… but as weird as it is, I have seen, been privy to, so much in that time. probably something to do with the means to go to 3 conventions a year and an unhealthy addiction to that sweet ABS…

        I like to think i kept it on life support after the heart attack that was Keith’s departure. Though it’s a whole new abomination at the moment, and if the need is great, you’ll see me dive back in – despite everything, it’s a community keystone and should be protected as a heritage site.


  8. tweepunk comes from steampunk. we wanted to distance ourselves from people who were building garish brown and grey mocs, so we came up with a new name for what we were doing. the “punk” in steampunk (among other -punk themes, e.g. cyber punk) has nothing to do with driving beats. also black flag is boring.


    1. I’m going to disagree with you about cyber punk, Matt, there is definitely a component of punk rock to that theme: mohawks, leather jackets, body modification, illegal behavior, nonconformity, and a breakdown or radical change in the social order. Black flag may be boring, but it sums up the 80’s punk scene pretty well and I find most punk music to be kind of boring at it’s core.


      1. Most punk was pretty boring, but it really wasn’t about the music. It was when there was actual talent behind the writing that it shined. And who didn’t have a worn out copy of Damaged in their collection, it was standard issue back then.


  9. Great article Mr. Keith.
    I have been a fan of Erik’s lego skills as well as other builders working
    within the Tweepunk style for a while. I have only recently been brave enough
    to share some pictures on Flickr.

    Late to jump on the band/soup wagon.

    Commonwealth Catering Corps

    My series “Make Soup Not War”.

    Fitting somewhere between Erik’s Awfulworld and Haystack Hair’s PrimaryWorld.

    The Adventures of the Commonwealth Catering Corps, working behind the scenes to keep the troops fed.

    Hope you don’t mind the brickspam but it is within the topic of the article.



    1. I don’t mind Moe, I wish I could share your love of tweepunkery, but alas it just isn’t my cup o’ tea. I appreciate you reading the blog, I hope you stick around and comment if anything else inspires you to do so.


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