In late October 2001 I was in San Jose for a Scrabble tournament. While there, I caught up with friend Scott 'Hashbrowns' Ingram. Despite the fact that I had forgotten his birthday a week earlier, he felt compelled to give me a gift (my birthday is in March).
He handed me a little red covered book entitled 'Emily The Strange'.
Scott knows me too well.
I had not ever seen this sullen little comic girl before, but immediately enjoyed all the dark humor contained within the terse words (how could I not fall for lines like, "Emily isn't lazy... she's just happy doing nothing." ?).
Now I really felt bad about forgetting to leave a Happy Birthday message on Scott's answering machine a week earlier.
Any guilt was quickly forgotten, though, as I continued to peruse the little book and it's starkly black and white illustrations.
At some point later that evening it dawned on me: Black... white... hmmm... I could build a sculpture of Emily out of LEGO bricks. That would be coooooollll...
It had been a while since such a 'flash' of inspiration had hit me. I'd been doing LEGO sculpting for over two years know, and at times it had almost become routine. But here was something that was odd, Strange, even... and that counts for a lot in my book.
And finally I recalled that someone on LUGNET was holding a Halloween LEGO building contest. My friend Henry Lim had been telling me over the past month that I should enter the contest in the sculpture category.
My reply had always been, "yeah, I guess, but I can't really think of anything to do."
Well, now I had thought of something.
The Halloween Building contest asked for things that were 'a little "tongue in cheek" look at the darker side of things.'
Emily was perfect.
There was only one problem... Scott had given me the book on 21 October. I did not return to my studio/house until the next day, and I would really only recover from the plane travel until Tuesday, 23 October.
The contest wanted entries submitted by 28 October.
This would have been fine except that I had another Scrabble tournament the following weekend (27-28 October), so if I wanted to build this sculpture, I'd have to do it in four days.
I did it in three.
Emily The Strange stands just over 4 feet tall. She is built with about 50 pounds of LEGO; almost all of them black, of course.
After constructing the figure, I also built a support wall with the red letters of her name. This wall helps balance the heavy torso (those skinny legs do so precariously, at best).
So, anyway... here are some pics:
I encourage everyone to visit the Emily The Strange website, order lots of goodies, and get into the Halloween spirit by getting a little closer to your darker self.
Happy Halloween, 2001.
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