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Alex Fojtik: Builder Bio
Ever wonder about my collection, influences, technique, or building process? No? Too bad, because I'm gonna tell you anyway.
About this creation
This is gonna be wordy, kids. Buckle up. The good news is all pics are never before seen MOCs and doodles.

ON INFLUENCES AND DEVELOPMENT

I owe props to a whole slew of builders for helping to end my dark age in late 08 and providing continuous inspiration: Soren, Izzo, Darkspawn, Andrew Lee, Kevin Fedde, Eylar, Cole Blaq, Young, Ocean, Goldman, Nannan...the list could go on for days. You guys know 'em all. However, I can pretty much pinpoint the single MOC that made me go drop 120 big ones on a Canon Powershot A1000, sign up for MOCpages, and get started. It was Brian K's SCHISM. I consider it the mech to end all mechs but at the same time it was the one that inspired me to try my hand at it.

Bubblegum was my first attempt to join the big boys. It took about 5 multi-hour sessions. I grinded it out before my collection was even half-sorted and it was pretty much a nightmare. I have so much respect for Pete Reid and all those greeble kings that make mechanical realism their primary style. Well, it managed to net me a blog post on BB and to be frank, I pretty much creamed myself. Eighteen months and around 50 MOCs later, I'm still around trying to build as much as possible and contribute to the evolution of our hobby. Time flies.


















ON SORTING AND ORGANIZATION

Sorting from 4 giant tubs to the bins you see below took the better part of about 10 days while I was unemployed. My goal for sorting was to hinder my building process in the smallest way possible. I sort by element...meticulously. Almost every single small element has a SPECIFIC home and is within arms reach when I'm building. I do not sort by specific use, as I feel this limits a builders possibilities.

I am old-school and build on the floor, but not by choice. I have really limited space so the same corner of my room serves as storage, building space, and photo-lab. It takes awhile to transform it to each stage. A desk...someday.





The shoe box sized containers I picked up at OSH for about a buck apiece. The small parts sorters came from there, too. They, however, cost a pretty penny and were worth every one. The bin on top is the WIP bin; I try hard not to let it get full. The collection is rounded out with a large tub of baseplates (not pictured).

And below is my photo toolkit: two lamps with CFLs, tape, a foam board, some rechargable batteries and a few different colored posterboards. The tripod has only been used to shoot a couple MOCs that had longer photo sessions. Its far from perfect but it gets the job done.



ON BUILDING PROCESS

Not all my MOCs are half-chores like Bubblegum was. Now I just say "they take as long as they take" and try to enjoy the process of creation just as much as the end product. Now, I simply pick from a long list of ideas I have jotted down and go to work. Some ideas get fused, some dissolve. Some get churned out in two hours, others stew for a month or more.

I like building for competitions. It drives me out of my comfort zone and helps me think about presentation more than I normally would. I encourage any of you who aspire to be better builders to join the MOCpages contests (or any contest): they are fun and a little structure can help bring out your best.

A MISSION STATEMENT OF SORTS

I do have certain aesthetic characteristics that I keep in mind more than others when building. Color is an aspect that I love to work with. I don't have an extensive collection of the more exotic colors but I work with the rainbow I have as much as possible. Just coming up with enough medium blue for KOS-MOS' hair (below) was quite challenging.

While I hover around certain genres and work with cliches plenty, I try to add a twist to keep things fresh. There are certain MOCs that I have built just because I wanted to, but usually I keep originality and presentation in mind to some degree.

I do hold high standards for myself. If a MOC didn't come out perfect, its okay, but I'll always step back and view it with a critical eye, figuring out what to change next time I approach that type of MOC. If it wasn't clear: feedback, questions, dialogue, and constructive criticism are always welcome in my comments sections.


CubeDude KOS-MOS

ON TECHNIQUE

I use the technique that works, not the fanciest. Usually I won't SNOT something unless I really have to. Many great effects can be achieved with simple and straight forward techniques. I pretty much dread technic but at the same time feel the builders that understand the engineering principles behind it have the greatest potential. Small mosaic work is another I find difficult and am striving to develop.

While I built mostly minifig scale initially, I am discovering the virtues of building at any scale. The minifig is awesome, no doubt, but it limits too many possibilities to build only to their size. I am glad more and more builders seem to be discovering the wonders of various micro/macro scales.

One thing I do value heavily is creative part use: it can make the difference between a 'blah.' and 'wow!' MOC, especially with smaller creations. I won't go out of my way to look for weird things to use, but I have sorted my collection in such a way that no piece gets overlooked for creative potential.

Check out the junkpunk robot below for an example. I pretty much built a simple frame of t-pieces and brackets and then went through my small piece drawers saying "that sink head would make a good robot drainage pipe" or "the Atlantis helmet looks like a funny face from this angle."

My ultimate goal for a creation is to get the MOC to match my vision (which often changes) of what it looks like in my mind. If I can get it there (or close), I have succeeded.














Junkpunk: my newest interest




ADVICE TO ASPIRING BUILDERS

I'm not going to assume your goals as a builder, or even that you have a goal: that is something you need to figure out. If you want recognition, learn how to market your MOC and yourself. If you want to develop your technique, browse the blogs and tutorials and ask honest questions. Always keep building.

I recommend trying to build to the strengths of your part collection. Personally, I feel one of the greatest challenges of the LEGO medium is in working with what you have. If I have to buy more than one set, or may need to order parts from BL or PAB, I usually rethink the MOC. Your collection will never be able to reflect your mind's eye perfectly, at least not without a very fat wallet. If this fact bothers you, go pick up a pad and pencil...and practice.

The most important thing is to remember to have fun. While emulating others can be fun, remember to build what YOU want to build. If you like to build clone scenes, don't let the AFOLs step on your toes (just don't expect them to always praise it). Share what you have and take pride in it. If you're having fun, you're doing it right.

MISC. ABOUT ME

I...

like electronica...a lot.
love transparent bricks to a disturbing degree.
was born in '86.
hold a degree in literature (so forgive me if I get verbose).
believe biosystem is a severely underexplored genre.
have placed 4 bricklink orders.
feel insane when I look at the moon too long.
most of all, am here to have a good time.




When pigs fly!

And of course, thank you to anyone who has ever viewed, rated, or commented on one of my MOCs in any way. Sharing them with you is a true joy.

Also, you may use this space to ask any questions/request more info if you like.

Play well,
Alex



Comments

 I made it 
  July 8, 2010
Quoting Stuart Delahay Always nice to see how others do what we do, I always pick up a good tip or two checking out peoples pages on inspiration, sorting and storing, etc. But I really came here looking for a sigfig for the final round of Mobrules - and you don't have one! You've left yourself very vulnerable there sir, liberties may be taken.....
Hehehe, don't worry, my skin is pretty thick when it comes to poking fun. Man, I really hope I don't eat those words later.
 I like it 
  July 8, 2010
I prefer "When pigs fry!" ... mmmm, bacon ... hehe ... It was a pleasant writeup. Very cool insights!
 I like it 
  July 8, 2010
Always nice to see how others do what we do, I always pick up a good tip or two checking out peoples pages on inspiration, sorting and storing, etc. But I really came here looking for a sigfig for the final round of Mobrules - and you don't have one! You've left yourself very vulnerable there sir, liberties may be taken.....
 I like it 
  June 28, 2010
Nice magnet on the Junkpunk. Hihi...
 I made it 
  June 25, 2010
Quoting Matt David AH! Now that I'm home from work, and thus no longer susceptible to the effects of two Advil, Chronic OCD, immense boredom, and then two more Advil, I have remembered what it was I wanted to say when I commented earlier. Hoodoo. Yes, that was it. I haven't been following your building very long, but I found it interesting that it was a BK mech that inspired you to join MOCpages. Interesting because while the Bubblegum was a nice attempt at the typical mundane military style that so many of us build in (and get STUCK in, Exhibit A: yours truly), you then turned around and created, in my opinion, one of the most uniquely worthwhile creations on the site. It was simple for you, I know. But the styling and design of that simple MOC said much about you as a builder.
Yeah. While I was happy with how Bubblegum turned out, the process of building it was really forced for me, which is why you don't see that military style too much from me now. I soon realized I didn't have a problem building onto a simple exoforce frame then adding my own twist, like Hoodoo or Prismatic shadow. We all find our own styles after a while; its the beauty of play ;).
 I made it 
  June 25, 2010
Quoting Redal Lewis, Neo Guard, Dai Gurren Dan Member Soooo aside from having a fat wallet, what's the BEST way to get a good parts variety quickly (or not so quickly)?
Honestly, try and pick up someone's second hand collection through asking around, or hitting up craigslist or ebay (to get a good chunk of basic parts on the cheap). Then do a bricklink order to round out some parts you think you are going to need (different for everyone, but various snot bricks and brackets are good to have around, and wedges and panels are good categories). In short, try and buy used. If you buy new (in the US), look for around a 10 cent per piece set to get the most out of your dollar.
 I like it 
  June 24, 2010
Soooo aside from having a fat wallet, what's the BEST way to get a good parts variety quickly (or not so quickly)?
 I like it 
  June 24, 2010
AH! Now that I'm home from work, and thus no longer susceptible to the effects of two Advil, Chronic OCD, immense boredom, and then two more Advil, I have remembered what it was I wanted to say when I commented earlier. Hoodoo. Yes, that was it. I haven't been following your building very long, but I found it interesting that it was a BK mech that inspired you to join MOCpages. Interesting because while the Bubblegum was a nice attempt at the typical mundane military style that so many of us build in (and get STUCK in, Exhibit A: yours truly), you then turned around and created, in my opinion, one of the most uniquely worthwhile creations on the site. It was simple for you, I know. But the styling and design of that simple MOC said much about you as a builder.
 I made it 
  June 23, 2010
Quoting Hans Dendauw Suffice it to say, Alex, that you are on my list of influential builders. Your ability to jump from one genre to another with such skill is both irritating and awe inspiring. Ok, it's more irritating than anything else! Hahaha! Kidding, of course. As for drinking and building, well, it certainly leads to interesting places, now doesn't it? I think we need a new acronym, IAFOL, Inebriated Adult Fans Of LEGO!~H
I can already smell the new IAFOL group brewing, Hans (pun very much intended).
 I made it 
  June 23, 2010
Thanks for the comments. Glad you guys are finding this useful/interesting. I wrote this one more for you guys than to showcase the MOCs. 6/23/10 I made many updates and expanded sections greatly. Not expecting further large updates.
 I like it 
  June 23, 2010
Pigs with rockets are always a winner in my book. I like learning other builders' styles. Yours seems quite similar to mine. I love the Bubblegum. It's adorable.
 I like it 
  June 23, 2010
The chess pieces and the silver claw-monster/robot are amazing. The minibots look good too.
 I like it 
  June 23, 2010
Interesting read. Thanks for sharing.
 I like it 
  June 23, 2010
well it was the pig with the rocket that pushed me over the edge and made me comment on this :D anyway, i definatly build on the floor alot, mostly because my table is covered in half finished things, or dios that need photographing :D nice storage, and transparent pieces are the BOMB! this is probably the coolest biography i've read (cause the ones we read in english class were soooo boring)
 I like it 
  June 23, 2010
I have those same organizers! Not nearly as many, but I'm getting there. :)
 I like it 
  June 23, 2010
Very cool idea here. Love the bit of history about you, bravo.
 I like it 
  June 23, 2010
Suffice it to say, Alex, that you are on my list of influential builders. Your ability to jump from one genre to another with such skill is both irritating and awe inspiring. Ok, it's more irritating than anything else! Hahaha! Kidding, of course. As for drinking and building, well, it certainly leads to interesting places, now doesn't it? I think we need a new acronym, IAFOL, Inebriated Adult Fans Of LEGO!~H
 I like it 
  June 23, 2010
It is always interesting to find out about another builder, and even more interesting when they are as good as you.
 I like it 
  June 23, 2010
I've been meaning to do something like this for ages... maybe it's time...
 I like it 
  June 23, 2010
Nice bit of your own backstory. see ya. garth
 I like it 
  June 23, 2010
Finding a builder who learned how to use good techniques is always a pleasure. ~Ryan
 I like it 
  June 23, 2010
Great read and interesting insights into another builders Lego thought processes and methods.
 
By Alex Fojtik
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Added June 23, 2010
 

The background images used on this page are © Todd Lehman,
available at http://www.lugnet.com/fibblesnork/lego/backgrounds/


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