In a time where hundreds of thousands of LEGO bricks are being used to construct life-sized Milennium Falcons and scale models of architectural icons, Andre Veloux's intimate portraits of women are an understated testament to the medium's versatility. Building Blocks of Change contrasts portraits of powerful women with gaudy portrayals of oversexualized bodies.
The portraits are a mix of recognizable feminist icons like Malala, Jane Fonda, and Lady Gaga with stylized composites of differnet women's faces. They simultaneously represent many women and the non-existent ideal put forth by the media. Veloux's work is meant to draw attention to the unrealistic extremes portrayed in magazines, television, Instagram, and other media. His goal is to "highlight the ceaseless demands on women to rebuild the image they present to the world in order to gain acceptance and signify the simple fact that nothing a woman wears ever means consent."
Building Blocks of Change is built on ideas Veloux has thought about for a long time. "Respecting gender equality has been part of my life for as long as I can remember," he says. "I have juggled work and parenting, been a full time parent, supported my wife in her career and now have a 16-year-old daughter of my own. With the HeForShe movement, and the recent focus on women and equality, I felt strongly that this was my opportunity to contribute and create my own powerful message."
Veloux likes using LEGO as a medium because requires him to, "[Deconstruct] images to their essence, transforming them into hyperrealistic and captivating art." He writes on his website, "The use of these small, plastic bricks that some people have lying around their homes immediately registers with viewers of the art. Yet the changability of these artworks, whether they be representations of objects, figurative art, or portraits either of well-known icons or others, highlights the plasticity of the building blocks, which can be taken apart and rebuilt, and the way we create and model icons, ourselves and objects in our ever-changing society."
The simplicity and attention to detail in these works, both righteous and risque, makes them a delight to visually dissect. Compared with the crude airplanes and monsters I made with LEGO as a child, Veloux's portraits are pixelated Mona Lisas.
See more of Andre Veloux's work here.