LEGO convention

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- LEGO creations will fill the Kentucky International Convention Center January 19 and 20. WDRB caught up with one local builder who says the toys aren't just for kids.

John Klapheke knows exactly when his LEGO obsession began.

"I was about three years old. I was given my first LEGO Duplo set. It was a train," said Klapheke.

He's come a long way since that train. He now has about 100,000 pieces that fill an entire room.

"To be able to take something that people see as one thing, and transform it into another. That's the unlimited possibility of LEGO and that's what it means to be a creator," he said.

Klapheke is what true LEGO enthusiasts call a MOCer, which stands for "My Own Creations."

"You have that in your mind, and you take the LEGO bricks that you have and you make it your own. Something you won't see in a box and that's what makes it unique," said Klapheke.

In fact, the 20 year-old Bellarmine student hardly ever follows the instructions anymore.

"Often what I'll do is buy a large scale set and just get it down for the pieces," said Klapheke.

His LEGOs are sorted into individual, color coded bins that line the walls of his LEGO workshop. He often spends months to get a build just right.

"The build that took the longest to construct is a monastery I built. It was a medieval monastery that took three months to construct. It was like four feet, two-and-a-half or something like that," he said.

His love for LEGO took him all the way to Denmark last year, where he interned at LEGO headquarters.

"I had the chance to go to work for LEGO as a designer for four months to kind of see a taste test of what it's like," said Klapheke.

It was a dream come true for this rookie turned pro.

"You have an impact on kids' lives as you're designing LEGO. That's what LEGO has done for me, and that's what I hope to give back to LEGO users," he said.

Back home in Louisville, Klapheke's busy working on creations for the BrickUniverse LEGO fan convention that he hopes will capture the magic of LEGO.

"The best part of those conventions for me is seeing when the kids and the parents see something and their eyes light up and they go 'wow.' That is the magic of LEGO and that's what I'm still trying to preserve in myself and share with other people," he said.

The BrickUniverse LEGO Fan Convention is January 19 and 20 at the Kentucky International Convention Center. Tickets are $18 at the door, or $15 when you buy them online.

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