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.
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.