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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Local LEGO Master Showcases Creative Skillset, Wins Holiday Building Challenge

LEGOs are not just for kids. An AFOL is an Adult Fan of LEGO. Mel Brown also achieved the status of  LEGO Master and appeared on Fox’s reality competition show as a season 1 LEGO Masters USA contestant. The Glen Burnie, Maryland resident who is affectionately known as LEGO Master Mel returned to the television screen, winning the LEGO Masters: Celebrity Holiday Bricktacular on December 20, 2022, by creating a LEGO sleigh that held 320 pounds of weight. The retired police officer’s celebrity partner was the late actor, Leslie Jordan. Holiday builds were televised from December 19-21, 2022.

In addition to Jordan, Brown appeared on the show with singer Robin Thicke, actor Cheryl Hines, comedian Finesse Mitchell and several former LEGO Masters reality show contestants.

“We were raising money for charity because of the celebrities, so they got to choose,” Brown said. “It was just us and the celebrities who never really touched LEGOs at all.”

In an era when many homes are saturated with trendy electronic games, Brown illustrates the benefits of playing with toys that make people think. He initially appeared on LEGO Masters in 2020 immediately before the pandemic, while engaging in brick-building challenges in a competitive team environment.

“A LEGO Master is a person who can basically bend the shape of the bricks the way they need them to make something that’s pleasing,” Brown explained.

Brown worked in law enforcement for 18 years. Ten of them were spent serving Annapolis. LEGO Master Mel currently works with the Boys & Girls Club of Annapolis at the Bywater club as the club director. The Bywater community is a low-income housing neighborhood.

For kids who prefer LEGO sets over other toys, Brown said that he would encourage parents to allow them to partake in the LEGO building hobby. He also pointed out that the elderly population can benefit from using LEGOs to enhance cognitive skill and hand and eye coordination.

“LEGO unlocks the creativity of engineers and problem solvers,” Brown said.

Behind the scenes, Brown has been building with LEGOs since 2017. You can find LEGO Master Mel tinkering in his very own LEGO room. His adventure began because his three-year-old grandson Kian inspired his LEGO building hobby after the young boy wanted to see the LEGO Batman Movie. The pair took a trip to the store to buy the Batmobile LEGO set to assemble. Brown’s story reminds that families can enjoy constructing LEGO projects together.

“Me and my grandson started building LEGO as our pastime,” Brown said.

Social groups and YouTube streams began to intrigue Brown. His artistic ability continued to evolve as he kept building with LEGO bricks. The self-taught LEGO enthusiast also ventured to a LEGO convention that was held in Virginia.

“It was just like a whole new world. It was like an amusement park everywhere you looked around, it was somebody making something creative out of LEGO,” Browns said.

He likes to build skyscrapers and towers. Brown has even created six feet structures and taller.

The Winning Sleigh was televised on December 20, 2022 | Photo Credit: FOX LEGO MASTERS, Endemol Shine

“I had a chance to build a commemorative coin in D.C. with my friend Jermaine Gardner, who was on  LEGO Masters with me. The National Law Enforcement Memorial Museum commissioned us to build a 90,000 LEGO piece commemorative coin. It’s about seven feet tall and it’s 500 pounds of LEGO. If you think about it, my artwork is sitting in a museum. It’s still there today. They own it, so it’s always going to be there,” Brown said, mentioning just one LEGO commissioned art project.

Brown put Anne Arundel County on the map by mastering something different. He feels pretty good about it.

“I want the kids to know that the world is full of opportunities, and never count yourself out of anything,” Brown said.

When it comes to youth he works with, Brown wants them to be able to unlock their creativity in their minds to be a better citizen, or a better productive person in life.

“Whether if they decide they want to go into sports, or if they want to be a banker or an owner of a building, or just work in the workforce, I want them to apply their abilities to those challenges and rise above anything that they put their mind to,” Brown said.

Follow Brown on Instagram via https://www.instagram.com/iceberg_bricks/ or https://www.facebook.com/FoxLEGOMasterMEL. See https://www.hulu.com/series/lego-masters-fd4ada37-965a-4f86-9ea4-0b214f3e6d7e to find the LEGO Masters: Celebrity Holiday Bricktacular on hulu.

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