In an exclusive interview with Brick Fanatics, Jackson and Alex talk about their experience on LEGO MASTERS Australia Season 2, recalling their favourite challenges and picking out some LEGO highlights
They have only gone and done it – Jackson and Alex have won the second Australian edition of LEGO MASTERS, giving them the prestigious title and $100,000 in prize money. What’s more, it was the first season of the show that got them back into the world of the brick.
“It’s pretty surreal to be honest,” Alex says of the win. “The people we were building against were just really brilliant builders and we were intimidated by them the whole time. To have come out on top, it’s really hard to comprehend, to be honest.”
Brick Fanatics spoke to the LEGO MASTERS champions to find out more about their experience in the brick-building challenge show.
What was the trickiest thing to adjust to when building competitively?
Jackson: The most difficult aspect of this competition is building under the pressure of a time limit. This game is all about negotiating compromise; estimating how big you can aim for, how much detail you can pull off to fit just within the narrow time frames we’re given.
Alex: Time management was by far the hardest part of building in the competition. It’s very easy to get carried away working on one element of your build and lose track of the build as a whole. Jackson and I made sure to communicate with each other as much as possible to make sure we were on track to finish everything in time.
Which was your favourite challenge?
Alex: My favourite challenge was the Fairy Tale build. I loved bringing Hansel and Gretel to life with LEGO. The original story is quite bleak which gave us a great opportunity to play with the contrast between the sweet and inviting exterior of the gingerbread house and the dark and creepy interior. Building detail in minifigure scale was a huge part of what Jackson and I had practiced coming into the competition, so it really suited our style.
Jackson: This is a really hard. The challenges were all so different and each one was really well thought-out. Conceptually, my favourite challenge was the Day/Night challenge – I absolutely loved the opportunity to build to minifigure scale with a fun technical twist.
What was the toughest challenge for you?
Jackson: Hands down, Hanging Brick. I think we all had a bit of a tough time with that one – it was a diabolically difficult challenge, but everyone rose to the occasion.
Alex: The toughest challenge for me was the 3D art, it was so far out of my comfort zone both creatively and technically. Fortunately, Jackson’s background in visual arts helped us develop a concept that we both loved. Building within the frame was very tough, we had to depend almost entirely on stud clutch power to suspend the LEGO, which was super stressful.
Are there any particular stand-out moments that made you laugh?
Alex: In the Hero Shot build, Jackson and I were trying to work out how to make the hat fly off our minifig in the explosion. Hamish walked up to our table wearing a cowboy hat with a string and demonstrated how the effect might work. It was ridiculous and just so funny.
Jackson: Too many to count! I think the single funniest day for us was the Make and Shake build. We had such a blast as we powered through eight hours of marathon brick-stacking, and we couldn’t stop laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of the task we’d set ourselves. Between Brickman’s disbelief and Hamish’s cheerleading we took it upon ourselves to prove something that seemed utterly ludicrous.
What was the best thing about participating in LEGO MASTERS?
Jackson: The best thing was being able to experience total free-flowing building. With such a huge range of elements at our fingertips (and a crew dedicated to cleaning up after us and sorting) the only limit was our imagination – and time, of course!
Alex: Getting access to the Brick Pit was easily the best part of LEGO MASTERS. Being able to play with that many bricks in our builds was amazing. It gave us a level of freedom that we had not experienced before. When I build at home I run into issues with part availability all the time and the Brick Pit completely eradicated that problem. Getting to be on LEGO MASTERS with Jackson was pretty special as well, there’s no one else that I’d rather compete alongside.
Did you learn anything new, about yourself or about LEGO creativity, through being a part of the show?
Alex: I am typically a pretty anxious person so being put in such a high-pressure situation was very intimidating. I feel like I proved to myself that I could keep my cool and get the job done with all the external pressure.
It was a really great experience in collaborative creativity as well. Working together with Jackson, bouncing ideas and being supportive meant that our builds were so much more than we could have achieved individually.
Jackson: Through collaborating with Alex, I learnt a lot about the nature of my own creativity. Alex is a super creative guy, but we come from very different disciplines. Coming together to brainstorm our ideas really helped me to get out of my own head and have a look at my own creative processes in a more objective way, and it’s a valuable lesson I’ll take with me into my other creative practices. The most important thing I learnt is not to get hung up on my own ideas – the first, second or even the tenth idea might not always be the best.
More LEGO MASTERS Australia coverage
Interview with host Hamish Blake
Interview with judge Ryan McNaught
Episode 11 – The Final
Meet the contestants
Summer and Iona
Jackson and Alex
Trent and Josh
Jay and Stani
Jennifer and Jodie
Tim and Danii
Andrew and Damian
Annie and Runa