Although she doesn’t remember playing with Legos as a child, a Purdue employee now spends her free time making art with them.
Sandra San Miguel, associate dean for engagement in the College of Veterinary Medicine, began working with Legos after an injury prevented her from doing the woodworking that she had previously done. She saw the work of another artist who used Lego bricks and was inspired to create her own. She has now been using Legos for about two years, and this was the medium she used to build a recent model of Purdue Pete.
San Miguel enjoys the freedom that Legos give her in the creation of art.
“I think with everything else I’ve tried to make art with, I needed to follow a plan,” San Miguel said. “With woodworking, if it was going to come out right I had to follow a plan, but with Lego bricks, I can design it myself.”
San Miguel’s first project was a mosaic that she built in 2010, and since then she has worked on about six other projects. Most are models of children that stand around three feet high. Her website, Brick Wishes, showcases all of her work.
She has participated in one show so far called “Brickworld Chicago.” Her goal is to have a gallery exhibit in five years. A normal show has about 20 sculptures.
San Miguel has also used her artistic skills for charity by donating items she has built to auctions that raise scholarship money for Purdue veterinary students.
Her most recent project is the 16-inch model of Purdue Pete that has been entered in a competition put on by Lego Cuusoo. If the model receives enough support, it could be produced by Lego and seen on the shelves of stores.
The contest isn’t based solely on which model has the most votes, but also on how quickly it receives them. The team working with San Miguel has been promoting today as the day to vote for Purdue Pete.
“What we’re trying to do is show Lego that the Boilermakers can get 10,000 votes in a short period of time,” San Miguel said. “So we’ve decided that Wednesday (Oct. 24) would be voting day. That’s when we want all the students to vote and show that they’re behind it ... If we can get 10,000 votes in 36 hours, it’ll really make a statement to Lego.”
Jim Weisman, a clinical assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, has purchased some of the models San Miguel created for the auctions, including another Purdue Pete model wearing a veterinary jacket. He said he would love to see the model out on the shelves and has a few people in mind that he would buy it for.
He sees the model as a way for those who love Purdue to come together.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for us as a University to jump on board and support a project as one big Purdue family,” Weisman said.
San Miguel said Lego doesn’t have a date set to choose a model that they will then produce. It will take them many months to make a decision. Getting 10,000 votes is the just the beginning of the process.
The public can vote for the Purdue Pete Lego model by visiting: http://lego.cuusoo.com/ideas/view/29614