WATCH ABOVE: Eric Maccallum and Jason Bedard join Global Calgary with details on Maker Faire Calgary on September 12 and 13 at the Spark Science Centre.
CALGARY – Like any kid who grew up in the 1980s, Calgarian Eric Maccallum started playing with Lego as soon as he could get his hands on it. But unlike the rest of us, he’s since become a professional Lego builder, turning the hobby into an art form.
“It was just one of the toys my parents really encouraged me to play with when I was younger,” Maccallum said Wednesday, his 36th birthday. “I really enjoyed it because you can make any kind of toy out of it, and when you’re bored, you can break it back down and rebuild it.”
Maccallum was working part-time at a Lego store in Calgary when he finished up university with plans to go into finance. He visited a grand opening of an Edmonton store, and met a master builder from the U.S. who’d created an eight-foot tall Yoda.
“That really inspired me,” he said. “Once I talked to this master builder and what he found in his career and where it has gone, it really made me do a 90-degree turn and decide, ‘I think I’m going to start using Lego as a medium to do artwork.’ It worked out really well. I’m more excited to be doing this than any other possible job I’d thought about.”
Maccallum also teaches classroom workshops and parties, teaching Lego building to young and old alike.
His Homer Simpson Lego figure has earned much attention; it will be featured this weekend at Calgary’s Maker Faire (at the TELUS Spark Science Centre) before heading off to the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo Sept. 25 to 27.
“He travels in a crate in pieces. His head detaches…all models do that.”
Maccallum said Homer took about 200 hours to create from design to completion.
“I’ve made things bigger—but they’ve taken less time—but they’re more flat,” he said. “Only Homer’s head is symmetrical. The rest of the body…is not symmetrical so he took a bit more time to do. Normally a model like Tigger – that took about 120 hours and he’s just a tiny bit shorter.”
The designer said there should be about 100,000 Lego pieces for guests to enjoy this weekend at the Maker Faire, and suggests anyone interested in his future projects check his website or Facebook page here.