Huffpost Arts
Kim Bellware Headshot

Jeff Friesen's Mini Stereotypes Of LEGO America Are Coming To A Coffee Table Near You

Posted: Updated:
Jeff Friesen

Jeff Friesen isn't looking to take over the world, but he is looking to re-create it -- and he's doing it brick-by-brick.

As the creator of the wildly popular LEGO scenes "The Great LEGO North," "The 50 States of LEGO" and the recent "Bricksy," Friesen's work has been ruling the LEGO-loving internet since he laid the first brick last fall.

Now, the Canadian photographer's U.S. series is getting the hard copy treatment: A book with forty exclusive new scenes will be released in September.

(See "The 50 States of LEGO" below.)

With a mix of sight gags (Delaware) and pop culture (Iowa), Friesen uses "The 50 States of LEGO" to riff on the impressions, history and stereotypes from each state in the union. Speaking from his home in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Friesen told HuffPost that he's confident in his insights into the 50 states -- despite being a native Manitoban.

“I lived in the states for a couple of years, and I’m pretty well-traveled," Friesen said. "I’ve been to about 37 states -- though many of them were visited at high speed while driving.”

For Maryland, a state Friesen hasn't visited, he seized on the state's iconic seafood. Other states, like Illinois, are represented by their largest or most iconic city: the Land of Lincoln has two new exclusive scenes featured in the book that depict The Blues Brothers and the St. Patrick's Day tradition of dying the river green and -- both distinctly Chicago institutions.

Friesen only uses official LEGO bricks and pieces to create his scenes, a limitation that has forced him to get extra-creative in some instances: "For Georgia, I can’t do a peach farmer, because you can’t do peaches in LEGOS."

This, Friesen explained, is also why his LEGO citizens have a carb-heavy diet of bread, croissant, pizza, and the occasional chicken drumstick or carrot.

While the clever captions and scenes can be a little subversive at times, Friesen said the series has turned out to be virtually "troll-proof," receiving largely positive feedback.

"More often than not, people are in agreement about my [characterizations]," Friesen said. "My Canada ones are a little more pointed than the ones I made for the U.S., because I live here."

After his "The 50 States of LEGO" book is released, Friesen said he'll look to build scenes of London. He also plans to collaborate more with the builder who inspired his LEGO artwork to begin with -- his 7-year-old daughter, June.

"June's a really a good builder," Friesen said. "She’s much more abstract than me: She’ll have a werewolf running a coffee shop.”

  • Alabama
    Jeff Friesen
    "The rising Crimson Tide washes tailgaters onto the playing field—or so they later claimed to the referee."
  • Alaska
    Jeff Friesen
    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Fish for a man and he is food for a week."
  • Arizona
    Jeff Friesen
    "To be honest, John and Juan are still on the fence about their friendship."
  • Arkansas
    Jeff Friesen
    "Promenade across the floor, Shimmy right on out the door, Henpeck a chicken, buff your cat, These DJ beats are really fat."
  • California (North)
    Jeff Friesen
    "Moonbeam's compost-powered hybrid generates a respectable 32 fruit flies per rotting banana peel."
  • California (South)
    Jeff Friesen
    "Referring to Twinkie-Poo as an accessory pet was their first mistake."
  • Colorado
    Jeff Friesen
    "Head 'em up, move 'em out, send 'em down...the snowboard wranglers of Aspen hoof it on the slopes."
  • Connecticut
    Jeff Friesen
    "Cruising with the Stepford wives of I-95."
  • Delaware
    Jeff Friesen
    "Inspired by Emanuel Leutze's famous painting, Washington Crosses the Delaware."
  • Florida
    Jeff Friesen
    "Reptilian life-forms rule the beaches of Florida. Most are slow-moving, but some will strike without warning at a 4:00 p.m. dinner special."
  • Georgia
    Jeff Friesen
    "As it turns out, Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara's passion for one another was easily doused by local firefighters."
  • Hawaii
    Jeff Friesen
    "Sometimes extreme surfing is more about the board than the wave."
  • Idaho
    Jeff Friesen
    "Farmer Abe is justifiably wary of little green men, but this wee fellow has big eyes for taters...not to mention he pays in solid gold."
  • Illinois
    Jeff Friesen
    "Bugsy's mom is thrilled that he's running his own lemonade stand this summer. And to think, he hasn't rubbed out any of his playmates since June."
  • Indiana
    Jeff Friesen
    "After bouncing back from harrowing crashes all season, an unknown racer won the Indy 500 by driving as if he had nothing to lose."
  • Iowa
    Jeff Friesen
    "Every summer you see them emerging bright yellow from their green jackets: the children of the corn."
  • Kansas
    Jeff Friesen
    "There's no place like home, but if your house is frequently blown aloft, it helps to wear a parachute indoors."
  • Kentucky
    Jeff Friesen
    "Brave belles explore the outer reaches of the Kentucky Derby hat."
  • Louisiana
    Jeff Friesen
    "A Mardi Gras float is only as good as its cleanup crew."
  • Maine
    Jeff Friesen
    "If you find yourself in a pinch, just rub the swollen area with moxie."
  • Maryland
    Jeff Friesen
    "Today the crabs decided to have a picnic of their own."
  • Massachusetts
    Jeff Friesen
    "The British are coming! How Paul Revere figured it out is anyone's guess."
  • Michigan
    Jeff Friesen
    "Machines will never replace humans in manufacturing or caption writing. Ha! —This automated caption generated by Dumbchuckle Software's Groaner 5.1"
  • Minnesota
    Jeff Friesen
    "Some places have a dry cold. In Minnesota it's a nice cold, okey-dokey?"
  • Mississippi
    Jeff Friesen
    "Slow-cooked meat that's finer than frog's hair and tenderer than toad love."
  • Missouri
    Jeff Friesen
    "The wakeboarding scenes were edited out of Mark twain's books for brevity."
  • Montana
    Jeff Friesen
    "Curiously absent from Lewis and Clark's journals is Gaston, their faithful manservant."
  • Nebraska
    Jeff Friesen
    "Chimney Rock has to be around here somewhere."
  • Nevada
    Jeff Friesen
    "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, hopes Gilbert, who rarely stage-crashes showgirl performances back in Des Moines."
  • New Hampshire
    Jeff Friesen
    "Robert enjoys climbing in the White Mountains for the solitude that only untouched wilderness provides."
  • New Jersey
    Jeff Friesen
    "Dreams come to life on the Jersey shore, and some nightmares as well."
  • New Mexico
    Jeff Friesen
    "People tend to shy away from probing questions in the Land of Enchantment."
  • New York
    Jeff Friesen
    "Give me your tired, your poor, your creamy masses of tartar sauce."
  • North Carolina
    Jeff Friesen
    "The truth is that while Wilbur did most of the flying, Orville had other interests at the Kitty Hawk beach."
  • North Dakota
    Jeff Friesen
    "Home, home on the range, where the reruns of Three's Company play."
  • Ohio
    Jeff Friesen
    "Ohio puzzles presidential candidates, but kids love living in a swing state"
  • Oklahoma
    Jeff Friesen
    "Home to famous cattle drives. Tailgate their methane-powered rides at your own peril."
  • Oregon
    Jeff Friesen
    "Free-range chickens flee gluten-free hipsters at the FreeBird food truck."
  • Pennsylvania
    Jeff Friesen
    "The heavyweight cheesesteak champion is also a patron of fine arts museum stairways."
  • Rhode Island
    Jeff Friesen
    "Sometimes a quahog decides to stuff itself."
  • South Carolina
    Jeff Friesen
    "Annie May mixes Southern culture both genteel and otherwise in her customized off-road Charleston house."
  • South Dakota
    Jeff Friesen
    "A chance encounter provides inspiration for large-scale sculpture in the Black Hills."
  • Tennessee
    Jeff Friesen
    "One can't help falling in love with a peanut butter, banana, and bacon sandwich."
  • Texas
    Jeff Friesen
    "Rounding up the little doggies who've lost their way."
  • Utah
    Jeff Friesen
    "Delicate arches and delicate noggins collide in the Utah backcountry."
  • Vermont
    Jeff Friesen
    "Vermont is celebrated for playing a crucial role in 1983's hit song, 'Sweet Trees (Are Made of This).'"
  • Virginia
    Jeff Friesen
    "In the Navy you can do just what you please."
  • Washington
    Jeff Friesen
    "We can only close our eyes using clothespins."
  • West Virginia
    Jeff Friesen
    "There's just five minutes left of Bobby's uneventful shift in the mine."
  • Wisconsin
    Jeff Friesen
    "After jumping the shark, Arthur Fonzarelli limits his outdoor activities to helping with the traditional Wisconsin cheese harvest."
  • Wyoming
    Jeff Friesen
    "Never feed Yellowstone's grizzly photo bombers with the attention they so wildly crave."

Around the Web

50 States of LEGO — The Brick Fantastic LEGO Photography

These Lego Creations Perfectly Represent Each Of The 50 United ...

Jeff Friesen's '50 States Of Lego' Project Takes You Across America

Stars, Stripes and Bricks: '50 States of Lego' - Mashable

50 States of LEGO, Funny LEGO Dioramas Representing the USA

Lego Dioramas Make Punch Lines Out of All 50 States | Raw File ...

50 States Of Lego - Design - ShortList Magazine

50 States Of LEGO: Illustrated Miniature Stereotypes Of America

Lego Representations of the 50 States of America: Accurate Depictions or Nah?

These Lego representations of all 50 United States are too cute!

Barnes & Noble's Get Pop-Cultured Celebration Continues at Stores Nationwide

UC and National Urban League to Provide Hands-On Science and Technology ...

Audience Calendar