LEGO Rooster for Easter & Stations of the Cross art exhibit
Our Church, The Open Door, hosts a stations of the cross art exhibit every year, and this year I volunteered to create a piece out of LEGO bricks. I definitely hesitated until the last minute to speak up, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a couple years now, just never had the courage or ambition to take it on. The station that was open was Jesus being denied by Peter. I pulled up the related verses, Matthew 26:31-35 -
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
31 Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:
“‘I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’[a]
32 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
34 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.
Once I read that, I had a clear vision of the rooster in my mind. I knew I couldn’t just sculpt a rooster and call it meaningful though. I wanted the text “I will never disown you” incorporated in it somewhere. Over the next few days I stirred up ideas of what to do with the text. I had toyed with the idea of creating something like a 3 sided platform for the rooster, and on the 3 sides would be three different quotes of peter denying he knew Jesus, but the quotes would be too long to fit, and triangles are harder than anything in LEGO bricks. I settled on a wall around the rooster.
I set off developing the head of the rooster first. As luck would have it, I didn’t have to buy a single piece for this project! That’s a first. I had just bought 9 of the same Toy Story Pizza Planet Truck Rescue set for a class I taught that had the red bionicle 1×3 tooth that I had thought would prove to be useless in the future, but actually was PERFECT for the rooster’s crown! The first time around on the rooster didn’t work out well for structural integrity reasons, so I scrapped that design mid way and started from scratch with a strict enforcement of adhering to ratios and spacing. Simple is structurally sound I kept telling myself.
All told, it probably took 15 hours of work. As far as pieces, there’s about 4,000 with all the bricks in the wall, all the technic connectors, and then all the plates for the rooster. It’s 20″ wide, by 20″ long, and about another 20 some inches tall.
Honestly, this was one of the most rewarding, but also easy builds I’ve done to date. Sure, there are a bunch of things I’d change, like trying to fill in all the holes in the exterior of the rooster, but some people said they really enjoyed seeing into it to appreciate the engineering work and how it all went together. I was really nervous about 2 things before the exhibit. First, I wondered how a LEGO work would be received by the community. It’s not the oil on canvas or interactive piece that, I think, has become the norm. Second, I worried about it being destroyed. I had a 27 year old friend come over to my house, and when I showed him it, he immediately touched it and broke a piece off. The same was done (and more so expected) when I showed it to my 2 nephews under 5. I just envisioned people touching the piece throughout the day and rendering it a pile of indiscernible plastic, just waiting for me to come back and put it back together. Not only did it hold up throughout the entire show, but they even moved it across the room from where I had set it up! Brave souls who did that deed! I had put effort in for originally planning to have the rooster balance solely on his 2 feet, which were purposely not rigid to display the horizontal details between bricks, but I decided against it in case someone decided to push it over. Not to mention the uneven floor of the gallery space.
Here’s the “artistic statement” that went along with the sculpture:
Jesus had many supporters when he walked the earth, but he had to die on the cross alone. I can only imagine what Jesus must have felt hearing Peter’s words but knowing full well that Peter would still disown him. Christ not only forgives us when we fall short, but loves us without pause. Even when his own disciples fall short after being in direct contact with Jesus, Christ still suffers and sacrifices for us; God’s children.
Even though our words can build up confidence and pass off as strong wall against denial of our faith, our walls can still be shattered with just the slightest adverse push or pull; much like this delicate piece in front of you.
On that Good Friday, the rooster was pictured on the home page of the Post-Gazette, with a link to this story – http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/region/stations-of-the-cross-artists-create-their-own-interpretations-at-union-project-630228/