Five Questions with founder of BrickUniverse

Five Questions with founder of BrickUniverse

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Chances are you grew up with LEGOs. And so did the generations before and after you.

LEGOs have been around for a long time, and thanks to a fan with an entrepreneurial spirit, we can all celebrate them at BrickUniverse the weekend of January 19 and 20 at the Kentucky International Convention Center.

What’s so remarkable is that the founder of BrickUniverse, Virginia-born Greyson Beights, is only 18-years-old.

He started the convention when he was just 14-years-old. That’s while he was writing his first book, Medieval LEGO, and working toward his college degree.

Now, at 18, he’s graduated from Liberty University, is working on his second book about LEGO history, and BrickUniverse is slated to stop in seven cities before June.

He currently manages the day-to-day operation of BrickUniverse (he even sent me the impressive press release that let me know about the upcoming convention).

Beights said he’s all about building the LEGO kit and then taking it apart to get creative. He said he personally has too many LEGOs to count. But he says some of the LEGO artists that people can meet at BrickUniverse have over a million bricks in their collection.

Here are my five questions with BrickUniverse founder Greyson Beights.

1.) How did you come up with the idea and who helped you with the funding to launch it?

I wanted an event that showed the world of LEGO, that LEGO can used for so much more than just a kid’s toy. All of the creativity, learning, and imagination. There wasn’t an event like it, so I started my own.

As for funding? I had a small book advance from my first book and a few loans from friends and family.

2.) What is it about LEGOs that you think make them retain their popularity after so many years?

I believe it is the mass appeal to creativity and endless possibilities with building with LEGO. Everyone can enjoy picking up some LEGO bricks and start building their own world. And now in the last few years, people are really pushing the boundaries of what can be done. There are pro LEGO artists, there’s been an actual house built completely in LEGO, and even a car built with LEGO.

3.) What’s the big attraction at your convention?

We have some of the world’s best LEGO creations on display. These creations have won awards right here in the United States -- as well as internationally in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Denmark. And what’s more, attendees will be able to meet and talk to the LEGO artists who built the creations. We have multiple professional LEGO artists flying into Louisville for BrickUniverse from Chicago, San Diego, Cleveland, and Vancouver (Canada).

BrickUniverse is all about creativity and building, so of course we will also have multiple building zones where attendees can build their own masterpieces right at the convention.

4.) What’s your favorite LEGO kit that you’ve ever put together and why?

KING’S CASTLE SIEGE - 70943, released in 2007, for sure. I bought it for some 80% off after Christmas. It was a big set with almost 1,000 pieces. I can remember countless hours playing with it and then tearing it down and building my own medieval creations -- to me, the very best possible life cycle for any LEGO set.

5.) Why do you think LEGOs are so important for kids?

I think the importance of kids building with LEGO is incredible. It helps kids' creative and cognitive development. The future belongs to those who are creative and think outside the box -- that’s exactly what you have to do when you build with LEGO. And I can definitely speak to LEGO’s power in helping shape what kids do when they grow up. It was building with LEGO castles that helped spark my keen interest in history and led me to pursue my undergraduate degree in history by the time I was 17.

And aside from my story, at every BrickUniverse convention I have architects and engineers who come up to me and tell me that building with LEGO as a kid is the reason why they do what they do. Every minute a kid is away from a TV or computer screen and is building with LEGO is a win for their future and for, I believe, the world’s future as well.

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