Grammy Awards 2012: in pictures

Adele thanks "doctors who brought my voice back" as she takes home six Grammys.

Record of the year: Adele, "Rolling In The Deep"

Album of the year: Adele, 21

Song of the year: Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth (song writer award), "Rolling In The Deep"

Best new artist: Bon Iver

Best pop solo performance: Adele, "Someone Like You"

Best rock album: Foo Fighters, Wasting Light

Best pop duo: Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse, "Body and Soul"

Best pop vocal album: Adele, 21

Best rap album: Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Best pop instrumental album: Booker T. Jones, The Road From Memphis

Best dance record: Skrillex, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites

Best dance/electronica album: Skrillex, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites

Best traditional pop vocal album: - Tony Bennett & Various Artists, Duets II

Best rock performance: Foo Fighters, "Walk"

Best hard rock/metal performance: Foo Fighters, "White Limo"

Best rock song: Foo Fighters (songwriters), "Walk"

Best alternative music album: Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Best R&N performance: Corinne Bailey Rae, "Is This Love"

Best traditional R&B performance: Cee Lo Green & Melanie Fiona, "Fool for You"

Best R&B song: Cee Lo Green, Melanie Hallim, Jack Splash (songwriters), "Fool for You"

Best R&B album: Chris Brown, F.A.M.E

Best rap performance: Jay-Z & Kanye West, "Otis"

Best rap/sung collaboration: Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi & Fergie, "All of the Lights"

Best rap song: Jeff Bhasker, Stacy Ferguson, Malik Jones, Warren Trotter & Kanye West (songwriters), "All of the Lights"

Best country solo performance: Taylor Swift, "Mean"

Best country duo/group performance: The Civil Wars, "Barton Hollow"

Best country song: Taylor Swift (songwriter), "Mean"

Best country album: Lady Antebellum, Own The Night

Best new age album: Pat Metheny, What's It All About

Best improvised jazz solo: Chick Corea, "500 Miles High"

Best jazz vocal album: Terri Lyne Carrington & Various Artists, The Mosaic Project

Best jazz instrumental album: Corea, Clarke & White, Forever

Best large jazz ensemble album: Christian McBride Big Band, The Good Feeling

Best gospel/contemporary Christian music performance: Le'Andria Johnson "Jesus"

Best gospel song: Kirk Franklin (songwriter), "Hello Fear"

Best contemporary Christian music song: Laura Story (songwriter), "Blessings"

Best gospel album: Kirk Franklin, Hello Fear

Best contemporary Christian music album: Chris Tomlin, And If Our God Is for Us...

Best Latin pop, rock or urban album: Mana, Drama y Luz

Best regional Mexican or Tejano album: Pepe Aguilar, Bicentenario

Best Banda or Norteno album: Los Tigres Del Norte, Los Tigres Del Norte and Friends

Best tropical Latin album: Cachao, The Last Mambo

Best Americana album: Levon Helm, Ramble at the Ryman

Best bluegrass album: Alison Krauss & Union Station, Paper Airplane

Best blues album: Tedeschi Trucks Band, Revelator

Best folk album: The Civil Wars, Barton Hollow

Best regional roots music album: Rebirth Brass Band, Rebirth of New Orleans

Best reggae album: Stephen Marley, Revelation Pt. 1: The Root of Life

Best world music album: Tinariwen, Tassili

Best children's album: Various Artists, All About Bullies ... Big and Small

Best spoken word album: Betty White, If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won't)

Best comedy album: Louis C.K., Hilarious

Best musical theatre album: The Book of Mormon

Best short form music video: Adele, "Rolling in the Deep"

Best long form music video: Foo Fighters, "Foo Fighters: Back and Forth"

All photos: Getty Images

Alice Gribbin is a Teaching-Writing Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was formerly the editorial assistant at the New Statesman.

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“I see the world in rectangles”: Life as a Lego Master Builder

Nathan Sawaya stunned colleagues when he quit his job as a lawyer to play with Lego full-time. Now everyone from Lady Gaga to Barack Obama’s a fan.

Nathan Sawaya is describing his favourite Lego brick, shiny-eyed and grinning at the thought of it. But he’s not a child proudly displaying a beloved toy. He’s a 43-year-old former corporate lawyer, and well over six foot tall. The brick he is evangelising about is a small 1x2 socket plate with a stud in the centre of its top. He calls this a “Jumper”.

“You know your Lego lingo?” he asks, looking crestfallen when I shake my head. “It has only one stud instead of two, and it allows you to do even more detail because you can offset the brick a little bit. But in general, I focus on the rectangular pieces.”


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Sawaya is one of the world’s eight Lego Master Builders, having left his job at a New York law firm when he was 32 to dedicate his life to building Lego constructions full-time. His most striking works include a torso of a man ripping his chest open with bricks spilling out, called Yellow, a lifesize T-Rex skeleton, a two-metre long model of Brooklyn Bridge, and replicas of famous paintings, including the Mona Lisa, and Edvard Munch’s Scream.

I meet him in a dark exhibition space in a tent on London’s Southbank, where his works are lit up around us. His latest constructions consist of a series of DC Comics superheroes, so we are surrounded by expressionless Supermen flying around us, capes realistically rippling, and a full-size Batmobile with glistening batwings. His boyish eagerness aside, Sawaya himself looks like a comic book villain – a hulking figure dressed in black from top to toe, with a long black overcoat, piercing eyes and thick dark hair.


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Back in his early thirties when he was a lawyer, he would come home after a punishing day at work and do something creative – drawing, painting, sculpting with clay and wire. He soon began to experiment with Lego, constructing models out of sets he had lying around the house. His son, now 17, was never particularly interested in playing with it himself.

“Eventually I made the choice to leave the law firm behind and become a full-time artist who plays with toys,” he beams.

His family was supportive, his colleagues jealous, and his bosses confused – but it wasn’t long until Sawaya found success as a Lego artist. He has had exhibitions of his work on every continent but Antarctica, and gained some high-profile fans. When he was US President, Barack Obama posed with one of his installations – monochrome life-size men sitting on park benches in Washington – and Bill Clinton has a sculpture in his office, as does Lady Gaga in a music video.

“That is the magic of Lego,” he says of his popularity. “It has become a universal language in a way.”


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Sawaya’s Master Builder status means he can buy all his bricks directly from Lego in bulk – not possible for us Lego civilians. He used to buy sets in toy shops and on eBay when starting out; now he can email asking for 500,000 red 2x4 bricks, say, and Lego ships them to him on wooden pallets. He has six million bricks on hand at his studio in Los Angeles. “Millions of each colour and shape and size,” he says. “And they’re all organised by shape and colour.”

He works away for hours at a time in his studio, with his dogs obediently at his feet, in what he describes as a “trance”. He plans designs on special “brick paper” like graph paper, but sometimes he free-builds from his imagination. “I do often see the world in rectangles,” he says, and sometimes he even dreams in bricks.

Just like children do with Lego sets, he simply snaps the bricks together – though he does dab glue between each brick, which triples the time it takes. He describes it as “therapeutic”, but says making a mistake can be “heartbreaking” – he can lose days and weeks of work at a time. “There may be times where I start questioning my choices in life,” he smiles.


Photos: Copyright Jane Hobson

Sawaya faced snobbery from the art world when he first began approaching galleries as a Lego artist. “Oh, is that cars and trucks and little castles?” was the response. He feels it’s now a more acceptable medium. “It makes art accessible,” he says. “And in doing that, it democratises the art world a bit. It allows people to relate to the art. Everyone has snapped a brick together at one point, every child has played a little bit with Lego.

“As an artist, my role is to inspire. And what better way to do it than through a medium everyone is familiar with? If someone sees a marble statue, they can appreciate it, but very few people have marble at home they can chip away at.”

The first Lego creation Sawaya can remember making was a little house, when he was first given the toy at the age of five. He then made a city that grew to 36 square feet. When he was ten, he was desperate for a dog. His parents refused, so he tore all his creations down and built a lifesize one. “It was blocky and very multi-coloured, of course,” he says. “But it was that ‘Aha!’ moment – when I realised it doesn’t have to be on the front of the box. It can be whatever I want.”

The Art of the Brick: DC Super Heroes is on at Upper Ground, Southbank, London, until 3 September 2017.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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