@TheCourtous

Today’s Feature Friday is none other than @thecourtous; home of Brickland’s very own lego soap opera, lego Courtney and a large cast of real and fictional charectors. If you’re not familiar with Brickland, it is where various signature figs engage in skullduggery, intrigue and romance. More than a few disasters have befallen the inhabitants of Brickland, both man made and natural, and we are kept on the edge of our seats on a weekly basis.

Continue reading @TheCourtous

“Yes” may not be the right answer

A few weeks ago there was a lot of buzz in the Instagram LEGO toy photography community because several members were asked by the “mother ship”  to use their photographs. I think it is great that LEGO is supporting their fans, but as a member of the creative class, it is prudent to ask a few questions before you say “Yes”. Continue reading “Yes” may not be the right answer

Epic Toy Photography Safari – Stockholm Edition

When Dinoczars and I organized January’s Epic Toy Photo Safari in Las Vegas we set in motion something bigger than just your regular run of the mill photo walk. We gathered  together an amazing selection of likeminded plastic photographers from across western North America for an incredible weekend. Little did we know where it would lead when we repeated this grand experiment in March while Vesa and Me2 where visiting me in Seattle. Now it seems that the old continent has been left out in the cold and wants to get in on all this awesome toy photography goodness.

I know my good old counterpart (Me2) has been talking to some of you in Europe about creating a photo walk on the old continent, and so I have decided to turn ideas and vague plans into a reality. I will be journeying to the old continent and we will be having our own  Epic Toy Photography Safari on the other side of the pond, in Stockholm, Sweden on August 29th.

All the details are still unclear and Me2 and Crew are working on these exact  details (it looks awesome, we just need to get our proverbial ducks in order) but for now, we can already tell you this: reserve the date and be ready to meet me and the rest of the creative collective in Stockholm on Saturday August 29th.

This event will be  open to any toy photographer who is interested in shooting with like minded people for a day. If past photo safaris are any indication we will share toys, trade photography tips and tricks, create group shots and generally geek out as only a group of toy photographers can. In short, it will be EPIC!

I hear rumors that Balakov and Me2 will be teaming up to do an advanced class with strobes. Seriously, could this get any cooler?

So save the date, August 29th, and join Me2, Avanaut, Balakov myself and few other intrepid toy photographers for this special weekend. If you have any interest in attending please let us know in the comments so we can plan accommodations.

We will post periodic updates to let you know how our plans are developing. In the mean time, I hope you will check your calendar and begin making plans to join us in Stockholm on August 29th.

~ xxSJC

This event is family friendly. Me2, Avanaut and myself will all have family in attendance.

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments or contact me directly. 

Watermarked Photo-9
Is this the way to the “Old Country”?

Snapseed

This is not a tech blog. This is a blog about, and for, the toy photography community (and their fans). We talk more about our influences and the artistic process than shop. But today I want to talk about my favorite editing app that got a HUGE makeover: Snapseed.

I will confess, I do the majority of my photo editing on my iPad. I like to play with a photograph and take it as far as I can in several different directions quickly to see what it can become. Then I will  back away from the edge and post something to Instagram that is less dramatic (and probably a little too traditional). So when my favorite editing app got a major upgrade that has been getting rave reviews, I was excited to see what all the fuss was about.

Continue reading Snapseed

Bricks Culture

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There are two new magazines launching on April 13th, 2015 that are aimed at LEGO fans. The first one is a monthly called Bricks which will include set reviews, regular columns and interviews with staff at The LEGO Group (as it is currently pitched this magazine will be similar to Blocks magazine currently available). The sister publication to Bricks, called Bricks Culture, is the one I am more interested in. This magazine is a quarterly publication aimed at LEGO and how it intersects with pop culture.

We here at StuckinPlastic are excited for the launch of this magazine because the editorial staff has been incredibly supportive of us. In the inaugural issue they will be featuring an article on the In Lego, We Connect exhibition and we couldn’t be more thrilled. (Personally I am curious what they will say.)

Bricks Culture will also be featuring one of our favorite LEGO bloggers, David Alexander Smith. David is capable of defining LEGO and it’s surrounding culture in a much broader social context. I find his point of view refreshing; I hope his views will get the larger platform they deserve.

I am concerned that the staff of these new magazines has only include one woman on its list of contributors. I think if you they are trying to reach a broader audience, beyond those steadfast AFOL’s,  having a larger woman’s point of view could be useful. But I am willing to take a wait and see attitude on how this develops.

In the meantime I have my subscription to Bricks Culture ordered and I hope you will at least give issue #1 a try (they are offering both print and digital versions of the magazine). You can order the first issue or the entire first year here. I would love to see this project succeed since it is relevant to what we do on Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, etc.

All though publishing in the age of the internet and a fast moving information stream seems a bit like a Sisyphean task, I will be rooting for them to succeed!!!

~ xxSJC

Is a magazine like this something you are interested in? Regardless of your answer I would be curious your opinion. 

If you would like  to read about the fine folks people behind these magazines I will send you to Brickset for the official press release.  

Emerald City Comicon

It was a very long time ago when I bought my tickets to the upcoming Emerald City Comicon that is schedule to begin March 27th. I can’t believe that three days of geeky goodness in the heart of downtown Seattle with 70,000 of my closest  friends is just around the corner!

Last year I went with my toy buddies Dinoczar, Wiiman and Bricksailboat. Although this year our numbers have diminished (it will just be Wiiman, my son and I), I think we will still manage to have fun.

Amongst all the cosplay, celebrity sitings, gaming, panel discussions and merchandise there is a little area called Brick Nation. Needless to say this is where I go to get my mid year BrickCon fix. (In fact one of the vendors I bought from last year reached out to me recently to see if I was coming again this year. GIBrick I’ll be looking for you!) I will be searching for classic LEGO mini figures as well as unique customs and accessories from all of the vendors. You just never know what you will find at an event like this. Maybe I can finally build that Tauntaun / CHIMA army I have been dreaming of.

I also enjoy seeing the amazing LEGO builds that will be on display. Since this LEGO event is smaller than the larger BrickCon in October, it is more manageable and actually easier to see the builds which are always inspiring.

This year I plan to spend more time in the merchandise area to see what other artists are creating and selling. I think it will be an educational experience for me since this could be one of the many paths I may want to pursue. I will also be on the look out for cool custom figures. I find the idea of custom limited addition toys to be fascinating and love to see what toy artists are up to.

So if you see me hanging around Brick Nation, say: “Hi”. If you are going to be at Comicon and want to meet up, just drop me a note; I love to meet new people. If you want to really be adventurous you can always take a side trip to catch the amazing LEGO photography show in person at the Bryan Ohno gallery. Just hop the number 14 bus to the International District or grab a cab and you will be there in no time.

Either way I hope you have a great time at ECCC, I know Wiiman, Noah and I will.

~ xxSJC

Is this the beginnings of a new Chima army?
Is this the beginnings of a new Chima army?

Do you enjoy going to your local comicon? If so, what do you look forward to the most?

Leap of Faith

There are not enough superlative adjectives to describe the week that just transpired: excellent, magnificent, wonderful, marvelous, remarkable, unparalleled and of course…awesome. But before any of that could transpire, a tremendous leap of faith had to be taken by all three principle members of StuckinPlastic.

When I went to pick up Boris and his wife at the airport I told my husband: I don’t know who these people are! Sure we are internet friends, we have shared a blog for over a year, we e-mail regularly, talk occasionally and have even had two video hang outs…these feelings of doubt were not new, but the timing was terrible.

I told my good friend Kitty, who I had hired to help with publicity, that my biggest goal for the week was to connect with Boris and Vesa and cement our friendship. This was more important to me than publicity, a successful opening or even sales. Without their trust, friendship and faith I knew we could never move forward.

I had my first indication that it would be ok when I arrived at the airport well after Boris’s arrival. (Can you believe I was late?)  I ran right into him and his wife as if it was planned.

I am not going to say the week was all smooth sailing, Boris and I both have strong personalities and some inevitable head butting occurred. I took Boris to Lower Snoqualmie Falls, one of my favorite places to shoot for our first photo adventure. I am used to shooting with other toy photographers and we generally leave each other alone and work independently. I was caught off guard when he wanted to know my plan at my first chosen location. I ungraciuosly shooed him on his way and we both got to work.

The next day we loaded all the photographs into the gallery, did some touristy activities around Pioneer Square, had lunch and did a little toy shopping. (We both bought toys that were not LEGO and played with them all week so look for those in our IG feeds.) Soon it was time to pick up Vesa at the airport.

Vesa was an even bigger mystery to me than Boris. Why had he said yes to all this craziness? Why did he eventually agree to come to Seattle in person? (Yes there were some strong arm tactics involved.) Was this a “one off” event or would we have a future together as StuckinPlastic? I had one week to get the answers to my questions.

While Boris and I played on our phones waiting for Vesa’s arrival (this time I was not late!) Wivika, Boris’s wife, was worried we would miss him. Boris and I, on the other hand, were pretty sure we would have no problem spotting Vesa when he appeared on the escalator, and we were right. After hugs were exchanged all around, we headed to the car and our adventure began in ernest.

We had some great days of sightseeing both in and outside the city. Many photos were taken of toys, each other and the scenery. Conversations were had and connections were made. Many great meals were enjoyed, many glasses of wine and beer were drunk, and I shared my home, my city and my friends with Boris and Vesa.

To hear Boris say: “It is a beautiful city” when watching the sunset from Kerry Park or hear Vesa say: “I didn’t think you could have so much fun in a foreign country,”(*) made me realize that my goal for the week had been accomplished.

We each took a leap of faith to make this photography show happen but I am pretty sure I speak for all of us when I say it was well worth the risk. And as Boris is fond of telling me: the adventure is only just beginning.

~ xxSJC

(*) I should give some context to this comment made by Vesa.  It was made after an exceptionally wonderful day of shooting toys, followed by dinner with toy photo friends, then meeting up with my rocktographer friends for drinks at our local hang out. When you travel to a country that is not your home, it is always an unexpected pleasure to be welcomed into the group like family. Besides we had a hella’ good time that day and the comment was warranted. 

All three of us here at StuckinPlastic have much to say about the past week but it is going to take time to share everything that transpired as we each deal with the consequences of taking a week or more out of our normal lives. Please stay tuned!

If you have any specific questions regarding the show, our impressions of the experience or how we made this happen…please let us know and we will try to answer them. 

The photo above is my favorite picture of my new friends, it is the one I will always remember this trip by. 

TheGeekParent

I just wanted to give everyone a heads up that I will be doing a quick  phone interview with TheGeekParent on Thursday, March 5th at 7pm EST (3am London).

I will be talking about my process, history, inspiration and the road that has lead us all to be exhibiting at the Bryan Ohno Gallery. Here is a link that will take you directly to the site if you care to listen in.

This has been a heady week of meeting old / new friends, as well as a lot of hard work from all three of us, coming together all at once. I have been more than a little overwhelmed. I am grateful that ME2 has been able to keep his head in the game and keep everyone up to date on our activities.

I promise when the week is over I will have much to say on the whole process. In the mean time I am going to keep my feet on the ground and enjoy the moment.

So come listen to the interview on Thursday (or check out their archives if you miss it) because in my mind I will be speaking to you, our amazing friends and supporters.

~ xxSJC

 

Confessions of an AFOL – Part 2

Now that I have confessed my feelings about the new licensed Lego themes, let’s take a look at the old ones, shall we?

Let’s start with Star Wars. Now we all know how great the films are and how revolutionary they were, especially the first three. I watched them for the first time in 2003 and I liked them but never had the opportunity or the desire to watch them again. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know everything about the films including memorizing the music and all the characters; I just played the Lego Star Wars video games instead. I played them on multiple platforms: PC, PSP, Mac or whatever I had whenever I could. Now I am the proud owner of four Yodas, three Han Solos and three Luke Skywalkers!

Other licensed themes I have enjoyed more through video games rather than the original movies include: Indiana Jones, Batman, and Harry Potter. I love the backgrounds and how they recreate the entire film using Lego. I am often sad when the game ends and can’t wait until the next one comes out.

If it is a movie I thought was ok, like Harry Potter, the games give me a chance to rediscover the movie in a different way. If it is a movie I already love it gives me such a joy to see all my favorite characters come to life once again in Lego form. The best examples of this are the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Lord of the Rings video games. I had enjoyed the movies and seen them several times, but when characters actually talked in the game, rather than gibberish, this made it possible to make jokes as well as re-live those films over and over again!

Now the newer games (Batman 2, Marvel, the Hobbit) have all gotten better and funnier because of all the speech included. So I have enjoyed the games for the games they are, even though the sole reason I played them originally was because of Lego.

So where does this lead us?

Lego video games helped me be interested in the films and I watched them again. As I watched, I thought about how certain scenes were integrated into the films. As I played, I learned more about the characters and liked them even more, which resulted in me wanting to get the mini figures (or the sets). If anyone told me that I would get an AT-AT set, the first thing I’d say (before playing the game) would have been “What’s an AT-AT?” Now it’s a bit different, to say the least.

Maybe this is marketing at its best: watch, play, get the set, play more, watch more, like more. It seems to be working well for the producers and the fans alike. After all, who wouldn’t want a Jack Sparrow she can carry with her all the time?

Maybe Lego needs to take a page from it’s own book and think about how they can cross promote these new licensed sets so I will become as big of a fan of Scooby Doo and The Simpsons as I am of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean. Although I can’t promise this about Simpsons… oh well, we’ll see!

Pinar

jack sparrow