Cloverdale’s David Guedes is an artist, and his chosen medium is Lego.
His “Memory Lane” build, created in partnership with friend and frequent collaborator Allan Corbeil, will soon be on display at BrickCan, the largest public exhibition of Lego creations in British Columbia. The intricate build depicts a town where a Show ‘N Shine event is taking place. Hot rods line the cobblestone street, and each person, carefully created and positioned, tells a story.
“To me, it’s an art medium. But it’s also a collectible. I’m two minds about it, really,” said Guedes. “On the one hand, I like to build things like this. And to do this, I’m buying elements, the Lego pieces themselves, in the quantities of thousands. I just bought a set that was $13 so I could get four parts just to fill a little gap here.”
Since Lego began producing sets of Star Wars, Harry Potter and superhero collectibles, Guedes has become more of a collector. But his true love lies in building MOCs — an acronym for “My Own Creation” and a term for a unique creation constructed out of Lego.
When the Reporter visited David Guedes to get a sneak peek at his project for BrickCan, the first floor of his house was filled with boxes of Lego. It’s par for the course for an AFOL (Adult Fan of Lego) who is preparing for an exhibition, or so Guedes explained.
North Delta’s Allan Corbeil was set up with Guedes at the kitchen table, positioning new elements, such as cherry blossom trees, within the Memory Lane MOC. The two have been working together on Lego for years.
“Dave [Guedes] and I work really well together,” said Corbeil. “He’ll see pictures of something I’m working on and say ‘that’s not really working, you should do this’ or ‘add more colour.’ He’ll do something and I’ll say ‘the sizing is not quite right on that’ … and it always works out.”
“It’s funny. In business and education people talk about collaboration. It’s a big buzz word,” Guedes said. “But when Allan and I work on Lego, that’s the best collaboration I’ve ever experienced.”
Both Guedes and Corbeil point out elements of the creation taking form in front of them. A clock tower, for instance, that had been vastly improved with a simple suggestion. Or the cherry blossom trees that Corbeil had put together, now with a mix of pink and white at Guedes’ advice.
The final build will be 40 inches by 60 inches. Corbeil and Guedes will construct as much of it as possible before the show, and transport pre-built sections in 12 boxes to the exhibition space in Richmond.
Guedes explained that there are two sides to an exhibition such as BrickCan. There are the stationary displays of MOCs, which includes Guedes and Corbeil’s Memory Lane display. And then there are the building competitions, which range from the speed build, where competitors race to see who can build a challenging object first with the least mistakes, to the blind build, where builders have to create without being able to see their hands. There’s even a mitten build event where builders have to wear mittens as they build.
AFOLs tend to have different specialties, Corbeil explained. They will prefer to create MOCs, or compete. They might focus on collecting Lego sets, or on selling them. Not so for Guedes, said Corbeil.
“Every kind of AFOL there is, this guy is probably a bit of every one,” said Corbeil about Guedes.
If Guedes had to pick a favourite aspect of Lego, he’d choose making MOCs. “It’s the purest form of Lego use, really. Using the bricks to build your own thing with them.”
“If I didn’t have to do anything else in life, I would just make Lego creations,” said Guedes.
Being AFOLs and members of the Vancouver Lego Club also provides Guedes and Corbeil with the opportunity to do commission builds. Although both said they take on such projects infrequently, it has allowed for some interesting experiences. Corbeil explained how he took on a Toys ‘R Us commercial ahead of the 2017 Christmas season, and had to source the pieces, build, and have the creation in the hands of the film crew within 24 hours.
Corbeil’s portfolio also recently attracted the eye of the creators behind CW’s The Flash television show. When he was contacted and asked to build a set piece for the show, he called up Guedes to see if he could lend a hand. The two builders created the piece, a layout of a park and city street, in under a week.
Still, out of everything, Corbeil said that Memory Lane was what was a “bit of an ambitious undertaking for me. It was probably the largest thing I’ve worked on that wasn’t a [Vancouver Lego] Club event,” he said.
For those that want to check out Guedes and Corbeil’s Memory Lane build for themselves, BrickCan will be held this weekend at the River Rock Casino in Richmond, and will be open to the public on April 21 and 22.
In addition to being able to view MOCs like Memory Lane, attendees can check out a wide variety of vendors selling Lego-themed books, clothing, artwork, and rare Lego sets and pieces. Each ticket is good for a two-hour exhibit viewing session, and everyone is invited to visit the Creation Station, which has interactive building opportunities for all ages, before and after their viewing session.
Corbeil, who is the BrickCan chairman and one of the event’s organizers, had a few suggestions for first-time attendees. “One tip, I would say, is go upstairs first,” he said, explaining that the exhibition spreads over two levels. “There are vendors up there that don’t see as much traffic, and you get to see the creations upstairs in a less crowded area.”
As attendees get further into the two-hour viewing session, the people who visited the main floor will shift to the upstairs level, and that’s when Corbeil suggests going down to see explore the rest of the exhibition.
BrickCan tickets are available through Ticketmaster. For more information, visit www.brickcan.com.