091: Intersection: Kate Hunter, LEGO Artist


In the previous episode, we met Sarah Dennis who shared how she creates her paper cut masterpieces by focusing on negative space, the ways that she works with simple tools and simple materials to make extraordinary creations, as well as the importance of setting time goals in creative work. She also discussed the way in which projects that involve a level of freedom allow for play and today’s guest agrees.


Allow me to officially introduce you to today’s guest: Kate Hunter.


Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area before moving to Bend Oregon, where she’s lived since 2011, Kate Hunter (The Brick Huntress) has been named in the Top 50 Most Influential Women in the LEGO Community by Jay's Brick Blog, as well as featured on Tips and Bricks Blog for their International Women's Day Blog. She holds a BA in Art History, Minor in Fine Arts and Masters in Counseling Psychology, and she currently works as a licensed School and Mental Health Counselor. Kate returned to LEGO in 2018, when she visited the Art of the Brick and was inspired by the art of Nathan Sawaya. She came home and immediately built her first mosaic, "Girl", never looking back. She has two children, Will (10) and Hunter (5) who she loves building with and learning from everyday as their mother.


In our conversation, Kate and I discuss how she entered into the world of LEGO, the ways she reimagines her favourite famous art pieces in LEGO mosaic and how she’s paving the way for future female art and LEGO enthusiasts to follow their passions and never settle.


Key Ideas Discussed:

  • Bend, Oregon - originally from San Franscisco Bay area

  • By day she is a mental health counsellor at a local high school

  • She was an art history major in college with an art minor

  • She's always enjoyed mixed media

  • She loves pop art, it's her favourite genre (impressionism too because of colour and light); simple, graphic, electric, connect with it quickly

  • Creating something that moves people - evokes emotion, whether good or bad

  • About 5 years ago she walked into a LEGO exhibit and had a euphoric moment; she had found her happy place; she had an instant reaction that this is what she was meant to be doing

  • She saw many works of art she studied in college but depicted in LEGO

  • She had been out of art for a bit and wanting to get back into it Roy Liechtenstein - girl with the ribbon - she chose to create this piece in LEGO (she's made of 100% recycled LEGO)

  • She would go to her local LEGO shop where she could create baggies of LEGO a couple of times a week for 4-5 months

  • It was a moment of finding herself again LEGO just works for her - it's tangible, modular - to create something magical It's like a mosaic - stepping back to see the bigger picture LEGO is universal and dynamic that allows you to create anything you want

  • Losing her student was one of the most transformative experiences and her piece exemplifies this

  • This piece won People's Choice award

  • She sometimes sees the world in LEGO!

  • Pieces typically take a couple of months to create from start to finish

  • Commissions are the most challenging and take the longest because she doesn't feel an emotional connection to the piece

  • Kate will often work on 2 or 3 pieces at a time, switching back and forth between the pieces Kate uses software to help her understand sizing, proportions, outline, sizing (Photobricks, Bricklink Studio, etc.)

  • She does research at the beginning, but then gets into it

  • The Let's Build Series on Instagram - started off as a closed community and Kate opened it up to everyone with a creative prompt; building community and building a space for people to be creative

  • Meeting people in person after having known them only in a virtual space has been great, never awkward Kate hides weird LEGO pieces in her pieces - she'll often create a 'search and find' list when she displays her pieces; she asks her kids to hide the pieces after she's finished with a piece In 5 years, she just wants to be creating; she currently pursuing collaborations

  • Her goal is to show young girls and women that they can do whatever they're passionate about; don't settle, keep growing as an artist and as a person


Among many insights gained, Kate reminds us about the importance of working creative projects meaningful to her. In the next episode we meet Erin, a digital paper cut artist who shares Kate’s feelings about meaning in her work.


Stay tuned…


secondary podcast episode art that contains the text ‘Episode 091 Intersection: Kate Hunter, LEGO Artist’ on a blue background and half of a yellow paper boat.

Images of Roy Lichtenstein pieces recreated in LEGO.

Images of Roy Lichtenstein pieces recreated in LEGO.

a number of Kate’s LEGO mosaic pieces on display at a LEGO event.

Images of Roy Lichtenstein's 'WHAAM' recreated in LEGO

Images of Roy Lichtenstein's 'WHAAM' recreated in LEGO

a digital illustration that depicts Kate Hunter’s point of intersection between ‘play’ and ‘meaningful work’. There are two overlapping circles connecting these themes and a straight line connecting her to the place where these circles meet. When connected with the 16 other artists these circles form a map.

The complete map of the colourful, intersecting circles that represent the 17 artists and their connections to one another.

About Our Guest:

A photo of Kate Hunter smiling and looking into the camera wearing a LEGO bracelet depicting the word ‘LOVE’.

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area before moving to Bend Oregon, where she’s lived since 2011, Kate Hunter (The Brick Huntress) has been named in the Top 50 Most Influential Women in the LEGO Community by Jay's Brick Blog, as well as featured on Tips and Bricks Blog for their International Women's Day Blog. She holds a BA in Art History, Minor in Fine Arts and Masters in Counseling Psychology, and she currently works as a licensed School and Mental Health Counselor. Kate returned to LEGO in 2018, when she visited the Art of the Brick and was inspired by the art of Nathan Sawaya. She came home and immediately built her first mosaic, "Girl", never looking back. She has two children, Will (10) and Hunter (5) who she loves building with and learning from everyday as their mother.


IG: @brickhuntress

#letsbuildseries

#createwhatyoulove

#brickhuntressmosaics



Music (public domain via Free Music Archive): Chad Crouch - Rainbow


Talk Paper Scissors Theme Music: Retro Quirky Upbeat Funk by Lewis Sound Production via Audio Jungle


Boat Origami Photo: Boat Origami Photo by Alex on Unsplash

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