Who is Jordan Schwartz?

If you read BrickJournal magazine, follow the Brothers Brick, or just about any popular LEGO blog, then you will have seen the work of Jordan Schwartz, commonly known in the LEGO community as “Sir Nadroj.” Jordan even has his own website, an online portfolio, appropriately punned as, BrickStud.com.

When I discovered that Jordan was heading to Brick Magic, I took the opportunity to pose a few questions, so we could get to know him a little better before the big event.

Jordan Schwartz aka Sir Nadroj

Jordan Schwartz aka Sir Nadroj

Identification by Jordan Schwartz

Identification by Jordan Schwartz

Took me a little while to figure out the “Sir Nadroj” thing—“Jordan” spelled backwards. It’s a bit of a pronunciation not common (at least not to me, in English). Why Nadroj?

Nadroj was actually never my idea, but my oldest brother’s. About 7 or 8 years ago, he made me my very first Yahoo! Email account; on online forums, he had always gone by “SirNim” (Benjamin backwards, abbreviated.) So he chose “Nadroj” for me. I honestly can say I’m not particularly fond of it, but it’s stuck!

Is it tough being a TFOL? Is it your alter ego that no one knows about except for the online community? I mean, to us, you’re “famous.” Maybe it’s just that all us AFOLs that work full-time are jealous of you being in high school and having what we vaguely remember is called “free time”… ;)

Nah, it’s not tough. A lot of people keep it as a dark, dirty little secret, but to me, it’s hardly dark or dirty. I’m proud of what I do, and I think it’s just something that makes me unique and different compared to my peers in school. I have no problems talking to them about what I do, and for the most part, they are happy for me and generally appreciate my work. Obviously, the lay-person cannot appreciate all of the subtle techniques and the like, but they can appreciate the aesthetic qualities of a given creation. I think the word “famous” is a little too heavy for the context of the AFOL community; I believe we are all pretty much in consensus that we build because 1.) We love it and 2.) to help each other and contribute new ideas to the building world. I hope I can inspire others to build (particularly the younger crowd), and if I have—even just one person—then what I have been doing was not in vain. I am moving to college to study architecture in Boston this coming Fall, so I will be at least an hour from my collection at any given time. I even have an interview at Frank Lloyd Wright’s school Taliesin in July in Wisconsin, so who knows—I may be just a “bit” farther from my collection in two years! I am trying to make the most of that “free time” because it’s going out the window pretty soon!

The Devil's Motorcar by Jordan Schwartz

The Devil’s Motorcar by Jordan Schwartz

You’re a prolific builder. And I’m guessing that a lot of your builds have to be taken apart for subsequent builds. But what builds have you kept?

Before my first convention, BrickFair 2009, I almost never kept anything together. But now, since I do travel a bit, I try and keep as much together as possible. Among some of my creations still together right now include Rapunzel’s Tower, Bavarian Autumn, Octopus, Please Do Not Feed The Animals, Sentinel 400, Mauve Avenger, Moribund Char-a-banc, Maleficent(‘s head), NASA EX-LF Probe Module, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Petr-O-Rama, Double-Decker Bus, Ford Model-T, Ice Truck, Devil’s Motor Car, Stagecoach, Hip to be Square (American Psycho), Kathmandu and Googiecruiser (the last two have not been unveiled online yet.)

Can you offer a building tip to someone who is short of time but wants to improve his building skills?

There are almost 21,000 different elements out there—there’s always a way to build something, so don’t give up—keep trying different methods and techniques; don’t settle for an “ok” likeness of the subject you’re building — strive to get every detail right.

What is your favorite LEGO piece?

Impossible to choose! Though I am fond of the old finger hinges, cheese slopes and any and every Fabuland figure (if they count).

Rapunzel's Tower by Jordan Schwartz

Rapunzel’s Tower by Jordan Schwartz

Part of what makes a great MOC online is great pictures—do you take your own pictures? Can you offer a photography tip or two for taking good pictures of MOCs?

I’d call my photography my “Achilles’ Heal”—it’s sufficient, but I am always trying to improve upon it. However, I’d suggest always photographing a creation with the proper lighting and with a proper-colored background. Invest money in a light box (prices range, but mine was actually fairly inexpensive) or make one from an old cardboard box and paper; there should be plenty of tutorials online.

The Lost Temple of Angkor Wat by Jordan Schwartz

The Lost Temple of Angkor Wat by Jordan Schwartz

You’ve been to a few conventions this past year, what are looking forward to about Brick Magic, in particular?

I’d say meeting new people who I have not met yet at the other conventions—anyone from Nathan Sawaya to other AFOLs from the online community. When it comes to conventions, looking and sharing LEGO creations is only half the fun—the other half is meeting new people, and that’s usually the highlight of any convention for me.

Can you give us an idea of what you’ll be taking to Brick Magic? (Unless, of course, it’s top secret…)

I actually have not decided yet! As I said earlier, I have quite a bit of small things still together, so I’ll choose my favorite from that list. I’m going with my twin brother Alex, and we’re only taking two carry-ons, so I need to use my space wisely!

Want to read more about Jordan?

Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come by Jordan Schwartz

Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come by Jordan Schwartz