LEGO Before Law: Nathan Sawaya’s LEGO Wonders
Six years ago, Nathan Sawaya was making six figures practicing corporate law in Manhattan. But his heart wasn’t in it. So he quit and began building an art empire, LEGO brick by LEGO brick.
When friends and family praised his work, he put the LEGO sculptures up on his website, and clients started commissioning him to build pieces.
Speaking with Handshake over the phone before he had to catch a flight, Sawaya said his jump from high-paid lawyer to guy who puts together LEGOs was scary, but his confidence in his art helped him take the leap.
Sawaya offered this advice to anyone feeling stuck at a job while being intensely drawn toward moving on to something entirely new and less secure:
“I get e-mails every day from folks saying, ‘Your story’s really inspired me, I want to leave my job.’ In fact, there was a woman just the other day who wrote me, she was a dentist and she wants to become a full-time violinist. She was like, ‘I read your story and I’m going to make the leap, I’m going to do it.’ It’s kind of surreal that this story has affected so many people’s lives.”
“It’s trite to say ‘Follow your passion and the money will follow,’ but on a certain level it’s true! You have to go out and do it to see if it’s going to work. Follow your dreams kids, follow your dreams.”
Sawaya added that he’s working on a giant, super-secret project, but wouldn’t reveal any details. He said it will be done sometime around the Fall and he’ll be using LEGOs in a way he’s never seen them used before. Could this be a plan for world domination via colorful little building blocks?
Handshake will feature Sawaya and other professional LEGO artists who make their livings off a kids’ toy in the upcoming print issue.