September 25, 2022

Arts group

Expert Arts Folks

Job interview: Boldly Creating What No 1 Has LEGO’d Right before with SAM HATMAKER

5 min read

If you attended the Star Trek Las Vegas convention in August 2021, you might have noticed some of the LEGO artwork made by Sam Hatmaker! The artist was commissioned by the Roddenberry estate to style and design a number of LEGO parts to rejoice the Star Trek visionary’s centennial birthday.

The Conquer bought the prospect to speak with Hatmaker in excess of email about how the fee arrived to be, to come across out about what goes into transferring finished LEGO artwork from Southern California to Las Vegas, and to learn which Easter Eggs concealed in the above six-foot-tall portrait of Gene Roddenberry!

Picture credit history: Chris Allo

AVERY KAPLAN: You had been commissioned by the Gene Roddenberry estate to make a number of LEGO portraits for the 100th Birthday Gene Roddenberry Star Trek Celebration. Can you tell us about how this arrived to be? How did you approach the resulting builds?

SAM HATMAKER: Possessing been a Star Trek supporter because I was a kid, I decided to do some Star Trek themed builds.  A friend released my do the job to Rod Roddenberry who later arrived at out to me.  We mentioned my concepts and the price of actually building the pieces.  He identified my passion about the Trek universe and agreed to collaboration.  He experienced strategies about distinct topic make any difference, but he was often open up to my artistic interpretations of those builds.

“Mirror, Mirror” Picture credit history: Chris Allo

KAPLAN: What was associated with transporting the portrait from your studio in Southern California to Las Vegas for the STLV convention? Was re-assembly essential?

HATMAKER: I did 6 Star Trek builds with Roddenberry in excess of the last yr.  The variety in size and scope was wide.  Some of the parts were quick to transport from my studio in a car or truck to the Las Vegas conference.  Other parts desired to be picked up and skillfully wrapped and transported.  There was surely some reassembly demanded for the larger pieces, thankfully I knew as I was developing them so I could design them to be simply damaged down into pieces.

Photo Credit rating: Jade Alayne


KAPLAN: The LEGO portrait of Roddenberry is filled with a variety of references and Easter Eggs (one particular of my favorites is the minor Defiant)! Did you have any allusions that have been particularly significant to you to include?

HATMAKER: The Gene Roddenberry Portrait is my most significant and most formidable Lego construct to day.  It is 6’8” tall and 4’2” broad.  It is 8” deep in some places.  This 12 months would have been Gene’s 100th birthday, so there are 100 Delta badges in the black portion of Gene’s deal with.  It is also the 55th Calendar year of Star Trek, so I made the decision to make 55 stories from the Trek Universe to commemorate that.

Image Credit: Jade Alayne

When Roddenberry arrived to me with the idea of performing a Gene Portrait, they imagined it as a straight mosaic.  I slept on it a several nights and came again to them with my vision.  I am not sure they specifically recognized what I envisioned, but they had religion that I would make it function.

For me, there ended up a great deal of items that I knew I Had to include things like.  The IDIC is Gene’s creation that signifies the core ideals of Trek.  Infinite Range in Infinite Combinations.  That is a pretty LEGO idea as well.  It’s an strategy that is seen in the extremely core of Trek.  I created that symbol Gene’s 3rd Eye, the Crown Chakra, the opening of the Head.

Picture Credit history: Jade Alayne

I desired to have representation of Majel Barrett (Gene’s Wife) in the piece.  She was a Nurse Chapel in the Primary collection, Lwaxana Troi on The Subsequent Technology, and the voice of the laptop.  So I did a 3D relief photograph of her as Nurse Chapel.

I especially produced the Defiant NX-74205 mainly because the selection is Rod Roddenberry’s birthday.

I provided most loved episodes, figures and scenes that stood out to me.

Image credit score: Chris Allo

KAPLAN: Do you have a most loved Star Trek episode (or episode arc, or film, or collection – experience free of charge to be as broad or as certain as you’d like)? How did you find your way to the Star Trek fandom?

HATMAKER: I have been a Trek fan because I was 14 when The Future Era began.  I fell in really like with Deanna Troi and Captain Picard.  Later when it was in Syndication, I would look at it each and every night time at 11pm with my good friend.  I collected toys and went to just about every Trek Convention around me.

I have as well a lot of preferred moments to slender it down to a person.  I like the campy components and the really serious areas.

Lwaxana flirting with Picard is as highly effective to me as Picard getting tortured by Gil Madred.

Photo Credit rating: Jade Alayne


KAPLAN: In addition to Star Trek, you have made lots of other personalized LEGO builds and portraits. Do you have any favorites you’d like to share with us? Are there any unique projects that you hope to just one day undertake?

HATMAKER: I have created a lot of customized builds that I am happy of.  The LEGO Golden Ladies established is even now one particular of my favorites.  It was my to start with true enthusiasm undertaking exactly where I did investigation for accuracy and refined the make in excess of months.  I was so happy that it went viral and that it bought the 10,000 votes it needed on LEGO Suggestions.  That gave it a opportunity at getting to be a genuine set created by LEGO.  It did not ultimately get manufactured, but it was an honor to have so considerably good feedback.

Image Credit: Jade Alayne

KAPLAN: Do you have a LEGO “origin story,” or a unique level at which you commenced to develop LEGO art?

HATMAKER: My first portrait was produced as a present for a friend’s birthday.  I had never definitely thought of my LEGO creations as artwork just before that.  When he opened it at the party, so quite a few people beloved it and requested about me carrying out just one for them of their favourite celebrity, that I decided to keep pursuing that.  It improved the program of my LEGO experience.

Photograph Credit score: Jade Alayne


KAPLAN: Is there any Star Trek LEGO established or construct that you would particularly like to see in the earth?

HATMAKER: For Star Trek, I would appreciate a Future Generation Company D Bridge set.  I manufactured a person for the Gene Portrait, but I want it to have all the custom made mini figures and sliding doorways all over the edges.

Image Credit history: Jade Alayne

For NON Star Trek, I have preferred to make a existence measurement bust of Medusa for a extensive time.  I imagine the engineering to hold the body weight of all the snakes will be a good challenge and sculpting a humanoid face will be a appealing.

I see it in my head already and I’m sure I can do it. It just arrives down to time and the real value of sections to do it.

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