April 13th, 2012 | by PENELOPE BASS Arts & Books | Posted In: Visual Arts

Kickstart my Heart: Constructing Super Mario Bros. Level 1-1 Out of Lego

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Kickstart my Heart is a semi-regular blog series on Portland Kickstarter projects we don't hate.

If you’ve ever considered constructing the realm of your favorite childhood video game out of your favorite childhood toy, Portland artist Zachary Pollock is about to beat you to it—provided he can raise $26,400 to purchase 780,000 Lego bricks.

“By recreating level 1-1 of Super Mario Bros. in Lego bricks, this project trumps all of my other work by leaping to almost 780,000 Lego studs,” Pollock explains on his Kickstarter page. “No one that I am aware of has done a Lego mosaic on this scale before. Only a couple of people have done work with this number of bricks. The final project will stand over six feet tall and over 90 feet wide.”

Playing with Lego since he was a young boy in the ’80s, Pollock designed his first set at age 6 (for which he drew instructions and sent them to the Lego company). It was also the year that he received his first Nintendo console and was introduced to the world of Super Mario Bros. Though he designed many more Lego sets through his teenage years, including a series of spy vehicles—“cars with hidden machine guns, and vans that opened up to reveal one man helicopters”—Pollock remained intrigued by the pixelated land of Mario.

A few years ago, while working on a series of cross-stitched Mario hand towels, the idea for the Lego mosaic came to life.

“While telling my friends about the hand towels, we began playing with the idea of doing what would be the equivalent of a television screen’s worth of the level in Lego,” Pollock explains. “From there it was an easy leap to creating the entire first level. To my knowledge no one has done the entire level before, and most of the mosaics of eight-bit characters don't adhere to a one-brick-per-pixel ratio.”

But Pollock, who is currently working on his master’s degree in applied craft and design at PNCA, has more ambition behind the mosiac than just making something cool. He plans use the project as a means to test the potential for a foundation where he could work on Lego art with children in hospitals. “I will go in to the hospitals and work directly with the kids to get them excited about the project and work with them developing a project that they would like to build.”

With just under a month left on his Kickstarter campaign, Pollock is hoping to tap into the nostalgic Lego (and video game) lover in us all. “I think that there is something innate about our desire to create things, and Lego bricks offer a infinite number of possibilities to foster that creative need,” says Pollock.

He hopes to take the finished mosaic to the 2012 BrickCon expo in Seattle and possibly Comic-Con as well.

However, one very important decision remains: Where will Mario be in the mosaic, and will there be more than one?

“Mario has 28 different poses in the first level of the video game,” Pollock explains. “I will either include one of each of those all at once so that each panel of the project will have one Mario in it, or I will swap out the Mario models at different times during the duration of the display, so over time Mario will actually progress through the level, smashing bricks and stomping Goombas along the way.”

The project currently has $999 of its $26,400 goal. You have 26 days to pledge here.

 
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