From the Orange Julep to Schwartz’s Deli, iconic Montreal landmarks are being recreated using Lego and getting a lot of attention online.
Block by block, artist Addy Parsons, better known as, @brickablock on Instagram, has built numerous recognizable city buildings using only the plastic bricks.
“It’s a lot of work, for sure,” Parsons said.
Born and raised in Ontario, Parsons said she fell in love with Montreal’s unique style of architecture while living in the city.
Pulling out an old box of Lego bricks and putting her sculpture artistic background to good use, Parsons started clicking the blocks together to recreate buildings near her home in the Plateau neighbourhood.
“Whether or not it’s visible, there is a community around them. Playing with and capturing that essence in the form of sculpture with a medium that people are inherently excited to explore is an interesting crossroads in an artistic perspective,” Parsons said.
Starting small, her sculptures have grown in size and complexity.
It took over six months to design and build the spherical Orange Julep from scratch.
“The Julep took a lot of time. I had a bit of an existential crisis so I had to leave it and come back to it. All in all, it took six months intermittently,” she said.
Using the program BrickLinks, Parsons first builds the structures digitally to find the number of pieces she’ll need for her project.
Some of her work hinges on existing models modified to fit her project.
“It’s like eBay for Lego bricks. People with large sets can sell them individually, getting the pieces I need,” Parsons said.
While tasking, she credits her hours of building in video games like Minecraft.
“It’s the same as if you had a bin of Lego in front of you. It’s basically drag and drop,” she said.
The impressive sculptures have spread online, getting thousands of likes from Montrealers and Lego enthusiasts alike.
Parsons said all of the fame is encouraging and heartwarming.
“That is always something fun when I get a message and someone is like, ‘That’s around my house.’ That always makes me smile,” Parsons said.
She said people enjoy how her attention to detail captures the “true essence of the city,” adding elements like Montreal’s famous orange cones.
Working out of her bedroom, Parson’s operation is small.
She builds while still attending school.
The sculptures are glued and sold, and prices vary from $650 to upwards of $1,000.
“I never designed them to make money. I just wanted to make pretty Montreal buildings and people were very receptive,” Parsons said.
Currently, Parsons is quite busy working on a number of larger private projects, including constructing a hotel in the Old Port.
While tight-lipped, she did say bigger and better things are to come.
“There are a couple of pretty cool things in the works,” Parsons said.