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LEGO Shatner's Journey

Sean Kenney is a professional LEGO artist based in New York. His contribution to The Shatner Show is outstanding and beyond what we could have imagined. His William Shatner as Denny Crane has a place of honour at the front of the gallery, rotating steadily in the window to lure folks into the gallery. We were thrilled that he came to Calgary for the opening party. Sean showed off his talents in the spoken word karaoke contest, winning second prize for his performance of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. 

Below is a chronicle of LEGO Shatner's journey to the gallery and a bit about Sean's process. 


How has Shatner influenced your life of your artwork?
As an actor, William Shatner has a great sense of humor about himself  and his work.  I, too, try to adopt a similar attitude due to the  offbeat nature of my work. Life is too short to take yourself too  seriously; only by being able to laugh at yourself can you hope to  make others smile also.

Who's your favorite Shatner character? Alternatively, if you could  be any Shatner character, who would it be?
I adore William Shatner's character "Denny Crane" from the TV show  "Boston Legal".  The character he portrays has an irreverence and  playfulness that embraces the public's view of Shatner yet  simultaniously remains fictional and entirely non-Shatner.  There are  few actors that have the following and the ability to do this. It  is for this reason that I've chosen to portray Shatner as Denny  Crane, whom I feel is his most three-dimensional character role yet.


Why is Shatner culturally important / relevant?
William Shatner's presence in everything he does somehow removes the glittery plastic coating that the media normally glosses onto Hollywood. After surviving a typecast that would have otherwise  smothered a weaker personality, he has emerged defiantly proud, and  rightfully amused at the world of celebrities that he regardlessly  inhabits. Many can learn from him if they, too, learn to laugh at  themselves and their world.

What was your creative process for this piece?
Creating a human figure out of little rectangular bricks is always a  fun challenge. After "getting into his shoes" by reading and  watching as much William Shatner as possible, I created several drawings on special "LEGO-scaled" graph paper. Using the graph paper as a guide, I created prototypes of Shatner's face at different  scales, with different expressions, and as cross sections from many  angles. LEGO itself begins to produce a caricature automatically,  so I finessed this into what you now see, using the prototypes and  drawings as a guide.


What, if anything, was difficult about illustrating Shatner?
William Shatner is best defined by his personality, his attitude, and  his acting... not by his nose, chin or ears. It was challenging to get his personality to come through in a medium that is otherwise often very restrictive and literal. I believe I succeeded in this and hopefully viewers can see his personality emerging from those  simple little plastic blocks.


Sean Kenney's Shatners are on view at the gallery until August 31. They are available for purchase and more information can be found on The Shatner Show website or by contacting the gallery at 403-283-5318. 

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