Sadly, every week one team gets eliminated from LEGO® Masters, season three. This past week, it was fan-favorites Patrick and Kerry. We caught up with the Grandpappies for an interview after their elimination. Boy, did they have a lot to say… particularly Patrick. But was it ever a blast. These two men were alternating jokes, advice, and stories throughout the interview. You can watch the interview below, or keep reading for a slightly edited and abridged version.
How did you get into the LEGO® hobby?
Kerry: The quick story is that I went to an architectural photography conference and this guy said you should have a personal project outside of photography. In his case, it was aviation. I said, “I need to dabble with some LEGO® a little bit.” I saw a postcard when I came home about a tenth annual LEGO® contest at the public library. It was sponsored by a construction builder. Since that was kind of my wheelhouse, it was a self-serving opportunity. I told my wife, “I need to win this.” So, I built a little micro-city, entered it, and won three first place prizes. A year later, I reworked my city and came away with three prizes again. The flame was lit.
I hit every yard sale, this thing called a Pick-A-Brick wall, BrickLink and all these kinds of things. I developed this superpower of being able to purchase and sneak in LEGO® to the house without my wife finding out [laughs]. Built a new house with a dedicated LEGO® studio. It’s just a love to create. I was a former woodworker and photographer, still am. But, just being able to take something and create, I think there is something magical about that. So that kind of fueled it. Then when I got the invite to audition for season two, I thought, no, I’m a rookie. Then when season three came along, I threw it out there on the LUG group and Patrick responded, “are you serious about this? Let me ask you one question, are you a grandfather?”
I said, “yeah, I’ve got three grandkids.”
He said, “I’ll call you right back.”
And that’s where it all started.
Patrick: I’ll go way back. As things turned out, I was single parent for my youngest son since he was five years old. It was my effort to give him everything in the world that I could. When he got to be about six or seven years old, it turned out to be LEGO®. We went to Toys R Us quite a bit and bought lots of LEGO® sets. After a while, I backed off from any hands on with it and watched him build.
There were lots of kids in the neighborhood his age. This very same room I’m in right now was a multi-media entertainment room with a big TV. I’ll call them like this, but don’t take my badly, all the neighborhood brats would come over and play with Patrick. When they did, we’d break out the LEGO®. Soon it got to the point that they took the sets apart and started building stuff. I was amazed with that.
It was several years later, down at Disney in November 2017, we walked to the LEGO® Store over at Disney Springs and were taking photos with the LEGO® Buzz Lightyear. One of the little LEGO® staff members came over and photobombed me with BB-8. I absolutely love BB-8. I already had it in the back of my mind that maybe I’d give myself BB-8 for Christmas. She was making it do the movements, and I didn’t know it moved. It was killing me to get back to Knoxville, Tennessee to purchase one for myself.
I’m going to go ahead and be this thrifty, frugal grandad guy: Target had them on sale at the time. I ordered one from Target and put BB-8 together. There was one little niche that I didn’t feel comfortable about while trying to get everything going. It was in the head. It wasn’t that big of a deal, but I played with it. I had fun, but decided to take it apart. I’d seen how much fun LEGO® is. I know from years of building with the kids how much fun we had doing it and watching them do it. I took BB-8 apart and decided I’d put it back together in a couple of weeks.
But then, my lady friend, one of the times we were at Toys R Us, found one of the LEGO® books, and this was an encyclopedia. She’s all about books. She said, “Patrick, you need to get this thing. I’ve looked through it and it tells all about Star Wars LEGO®.”
Well, that didn’t help me resist anything. I began with Star Wars and joined a local LUG Group, which is the one Kerry is also a member of. And that’s my story for LEGO®. Being almost 100% retired, I have lots of time sitting around the house. I can honestly say that I know I am a LEGO® brick millionaire, maybe getting close to a millionaire and a half. It keeps my mind youthful.
What is your advice to others just getting into the hobby?
Patrick: I would say: good, excellent! It’s a wonderful thing to do. You’ll learn a lot of things. You are going to get rewarded with everything that you build with LEGO®. And whatever you do, don’t ever sell your LEGO®! Keep building. It’s going to keep you young throughout your life.
As far as kids are concerned, I’ll go ahead and add this in, a lot of youngsters that have become teenagers bail to peer pressure around Middle School age. I know that my youngest son did that. All of a sudden, LEGO® is not cool anymore. Those who did not bail to the peer pressure have gone on to become some magnificent creators. I love seeing that. I would tell young people, keep building with LEGO®, don’t stop. You’re going to get some peer pressure around Middle School age but stay with it. Enjoying LEGO® and creating with LEGO® is going to be more of a life reward than you could ever begin to imagine listening to what someone else’s opinion is.
Don’t stop, keep building, have fun, be playful, be creative, enjoy it. If you find yourself getting frustrated or disappointed, work past it. You know, there’s joy and there’s pain. Work through the pain, cherish the joy.
Kerry: Most people come up to me and say, “I want to be a photographer.” Or a lot of times, “what kind of gear should I get?” Along the same kind of principles, there’s a 365 project where you just take your iPhone or any phone and take a picture a day for 365 days. Pretty soon, you’ll develop an eye for it and see the world in a whole different creative mode. That’s always my go-to thing.
You don’t always have to start with sets. I didn’t. I’m more of a Pick-A-Brick kind of guy, and yard sales. I’ll buy cups of everything and start there. You know, just get your pieces and start creating from scratch. You don’t have to buy Titanic or these expensive sets. I mean, they’re good, I think, for technique. But look at these little, simple things on YouTube. Always be learning. If you’re not building something, look on YouTube and look how to build little furniture things, and little cars, and things like that.
A lot times, I think the pricing can be a stumbling block for people. I think a good exercise is to take a handful of bricks. As part of the prep work that we’re doing, I wanted to learn how to build faces. So I just grabbed a handful of LEGO® blindly and started trying to learn how to shape a face with that. Do your mini challenges that way. You’ve got to start somewhere. Don’t be overly ambitious and let finances be the barrier for that. You can start anywhere. Our LEGO® group had a little contest with five pieces, build something with five pieces only. It’s a great start and it really stretches your brain that way. Just create and do something. That’s where I would say to start. You can over think it, just start somewhere.
Has LEGO® Masters caused your build style to change or evolve?
Kerry: I would say I am much more organized now. Thank God to whoever invented the Ziplock bag, and to the IKEA corporation. Ziplock and IKEA should be your sponsors. I think being able to sort by part, you can actually build faster, build more efficiently. But at the same time, I love getting a big yard sale haul, so to speak, and just starting to pack stuff up by parts. Then you find this one little piece and you look at it and it just sparks this whole different direction.
I would love to have a bunch of kids or interns come and sort my stuff and clean up after me [laughs]. I think the key to organization is just being able to efficiently find pieces. Behind me I have IKEA drawers. I have nothing but tiles, architectural parts, and windows only. Tires go in the closet. Plates are in a whole different thing. It’s nice being able to grab and go because you can build on the fly. I think organization is key to anything. It does apply to living a clean household life as well. Stay organized so you can create better. That’s what I was impressed with too, the brick pit, how organized it was.
Patrick: It was really nice to work with organization on LEGO® Masters. I’ve taken away from this that I need to learn more, I need to work more with what I’m doing, I need to get outside of [my head] and do things differently. I’m a Star Wars guy. That’s me, I want to build Star Wars every time. The big builds that I involve myself with are [mostly] Star Wars. I’m currently working on Felucia. But I’m doing that not just because its Star Wars, but because it is such a different, colorful, tropical planet. I intend to tell more of the story of the colorful, tropical planet with my build than I do with the 501st encountering some battle droids and having a battle on there.
I’m having a whole lot of fun looking at different versions of Felucia and trying to create things. [I have] the top of one of the tropical plants here. It uses a thing from Ninjago that a Minifigure fits in, one of those little spinner things. I found a way to connect it, and I have a couple of trans-orange snakes that are attached to the pieces that are attached to that cyclone thing. They stick up and make these weird, creepy-looking things that I saw on season three, episode 21 [of the Clone Wars] in some of the opening scenes of Felucia. I said, “I’ve got to have that. I’ve got to make it exactly like that.”
Then I filled a cup with some trans-purple and trans-orange cheese slopes. I’m challenging myself to build differently from stacking bricks. How can I create something that looks more like the real thing rather than building sets and Minifigures? This is challenging me. The scary thing about it is that the ground of Felucia is covered with all types of weird low-lying plants, fungi, and other stuff. So, all those studs that are showing from the open field, well I’ve got to put something on most of those.
I’ve found that adding color is joyful. It’s colors that I never thought that I would ever use in anything Star Wars. Its opening up doors for me of how to build. If it weren’t for challenges on LEGO® Masters, I may never have looked at doing things other than what my comfort zone is. I’m totally still wanting to get out of what my comfort zone is. I’m going to keep working my way through it, challenging myself to build differently. I’m kind of excited about what might happen next.
Kerry: Patrick, is this still a one-hour podcast? [laughs]
Patrick: [quoting Will Arnett from season three, episode two] “You know this is only a one-hour show, don’t you, Patrick?” I even had a comeback after that, but they didn’t put that on [the show]. I’m incorrigible. Something happens to me, when my mouth opens up and I begin speaking. This invisible soapbox plops down on the floor, and I stand up on it and continue to blather on [laughs].
Kerry: I think he just asked you how you’re doing.
Patrick: Did I go off topic?
Kerry: Yeah, he just asked you how you’re doing.
Patrick: Oh, my goodness. [both laugh]
What was your most memorable interaction with Brickmaster Amy or Jamie, either on or off camera?
Patrick: Well, there was no off-the-show interaction sadly. We did walk by and see Jamie sitting there and sunning himself, talking on the phone to the other side of the world to a friend of his. We got to say hi and he acknowledged every one of us as we were walking by. The rest of it was on the show. I found myself giving me a little bit of a kick, like “Patrick, you should have paid more attention.” You know, stop building when the Brickmasters come over and offer you some support.
As far as Brickmaster Amy is concerned, I kind of feel like she had a lot of praise going on for some of the things I was doing. I really felt grateful that I was getting that. It turned out to be more encouragement than I thought. I love the way that she was able to put that. She was very kind with me.
Jamie is on the technical side of things. He wants to offer some tips about how you can use a technical type aspect to create with. I appreciated that as well, although I didn’t execute any of that. I went on with what I was building because my mind said: “do this for this challenge and it’s going to be okay.” So, that’s the route that I followed, but I appreciated that they came around tableside and interacted.
I will throw this out there, one time we were on set waiting to have some photography done. We were told: “you guys might want to sit down and rest a little bit because it’s probably going to be a few minutes.” Well, I looked at this tall director’s chair that said “Amy” on it. I’m very pleased to share with everyone that I got to sit in Amy’s chair. [chuckles]
Kerry: What Patrick said. I just felt that they’re very encouraging. I wish we’d had a little more interaction time with them to really get to know them because all we got was brief, fleeting moments. I think it would have been great to have a little roundtable and have some great interview time with them. They’re both very fascinating people and bring a wealth of knowledge. I’d love to have had them do a lot more sharing of their knowledge and things like that. If anything, just off-time would have been great. They’re great, very gracious, and generally very interested in everybody to succeed. They certainly didn’t want anybody to go home, that’s for sure. But it was great, and part of a great experience. Them and Will Arnett, they’re just fun. A bunch of fun people.
And that’s all, folks!
That’s it for our Grandpappies interview. Be sure to check out Patrick and Kerry on Instagram. We’ve said goodbye to another team this season. However, interestingly enough, we gain one too! Just as Patrick and Kerry took their leave, Ethan and Dom joined the cast in a major twist. You can read our interview with them by clicking here. Alternatively, check out our full coverage of LEGO® Masters, season three. Check back later this week for our recap of this week’s episode and the subsequent elimination interview.
Until next time,
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