‘norman the northern cardinal’


bristol-based LEGO builder and artist, tom poulsom, has spoken with designboom regarding his ‘LEGO bird project’. having already built over 20 birds, poulsom plans to build a series of birds from each continent around the globe, as well as a few additional series including the flightless, endangered and tropical varieties. the sculptures began with one of his favorite birds, the robin red breast, and gathered momentum from that point on, with the venture aiming to make both children and adults aware of the importance of birds through a creative medium. designboom speaks with the artist further about his work.



tom poulsom: LEGO bird man ‘tiago the toco toucan’


DB: please could you tell us briefly about your background and how you came to have your studio in its current format?


TP: my LEGO life started when I was very young. I have two older brothers whose LEGO I used to play with.  our mum then bought me my first big LEGO set. it was a castle. I was hooked and played with my growing LEGO collection throughout my childhood.  I ‘grew up’ and the LEGO was stored away in my friends loft. two years ago my friend retrieved his LEGO from the loft to show his two boys. I saw this and instantly wanted to rescue my LEGO from the ‘dark age’ and start building again.

I started to create cars and spaceships, mostly man made objects and one day decided I’d like to create something that I enjoyed about my job. I like a lot things about my job but the thing that I enjoy the most is the wildlife, especially the birds. I have frequent visits from friendly ‘robin red breasts’ while I am working and this breed of bird (my favorite) was the impetus for ‘the LEGO bird project’ on CUUSOO.  you can find out everything you need to know about my birds here with very good quality images to use in the individual links provided on the description page.



what’s a typical day at your studio?


I work full time as a self employed gardener and tree surgeon so spend evenings and weekends creating all sorts of things from LEGO.



could you tell us a bit about your design process?


I design my creations from scratch starting with one element then slowly finding the right elements to add to eventually result in the finished article. as an example. to create a bird I choose a predominant feature like their beak or eye to scale the rest of the bird around.  I try to build my LEGO bird creations as close to life size and lifelike as possible but sometimes I am limited by a lack of LEGO elements.



you work mostly with LEGO, what do you like most about this as a material?


LEGO is a limitless creative tool. I love the fact that anybody can pick up a few LEGO bricks and create something completely different to the next person. it appeals to both children and adults and is a great way to express yourself. I feel LEGO is not just a kids toy it is an art medium. some people like to paint or draw, I like to create with LEGO.



birds are the main focus of your projects, what is it that draws you to them as a subject?


I would eventually like to build all sorts of things from nature, I am very passionate about wildlife and feel that people need to focus more on this important subject and not be so involved with technology and man made things.  I think my fun natural creations would be a great educational tool for both adults and children and can raise awareness of how important nature is. 



which artists or designers would you say have influenced you the most?


I wouldn’t say I am influenced by a particular artist or designer, my inspiration comes from nature and the things I enjoy building.



tom poulsom: LEGO bird man the artist has already built twenty different types of birds



tom poulsom: LEGO bird man ‘stormy the snowy owl’



tom poulsom: LEGO bird man ‘robin red breast’



tom poulsom: LEGO bird man ‘kingsley kingfisher’



tom poulsom: LEGO bird man ‘puffin’



tom poulsom: LEGO bird man ‘scotty the scarlet tanager’



tom poulsom: LEGO bird man ‘marky the macaw’



tom poulsom: LEGO bird man ‘woody escaped’