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Artist creates portraits of Uvalde victims using LEGOs

Sean Kenney, who used to live a few hours away from Uvalde, created portraits of the victims out of LEGOs.

TEXAS, USA — "When words can't express how you feel, you make things."

That's what artist Sean Kenney said about his portraits commemorating Uvalde victims, photos of which are going viral online. 

He is using LEGO bricks to create each piece of art; the masterpieces will soon be in the hands of each child and teacher's family. 

"Try to find a way to capture the spark and the joy that's in their eyes," said Kenney, who's created LEGO art professionally for about 15 years.

When 19 children and two teachers died in last week's rampage on Robb Elementary, it hit close to home for Kenney.

"Not only because I create portraits of kids, but my wife grew up in Texas. I used to live a few hours away from there. My kids are about the same age," he explained.

Kenney lives in Amsterdam now, but part of his heart stayed in Texas.

"I couldn't even express how I was feeling. The sadness, the anger, the confusion, the frustration."

So he looked around online and gathered as many pictures of the kids as he could. Once he found the perfect photos, he created digital renderings of the LEGO portraits for the Uvalde victims.

"The irony there is children should be playing with toys and not hiding under desks," said Kenney. "In these portraits, I intentionally left many pieces out so they're not finished because these kids didn't get to finish their lives."

Kenney draws them first, then builds them later. Each drawing takes about two to three hours.

Building one, he says, takes about a week. Roughly 10,000 pieces are needed for each portrait.

"I made this as an act of catharsis to express what I was feeling about this situation. I never in a million years thought these families would see these drawing. They started to get tagged and shared and started to send messages reaching out to me," said Kenney.

Kenney says donations came flowing in so he could turn the digital renderings into full-size canvases.

Credit: Sean Kenney

He says friends and volunteers will deliver them to Uvalde families within the next couple of days.

In the future, he plans to build each one out of LEGO bricks -- possibly with the help of the Robb Elementary community. He's still working on that idea.

"If one person like me can just do something as simple as draw and make a change and make people feel better, I guess that's what art is for, and at least it makes me feel like we can all make a difference," he added.

You can see more of Kenney's work on Facebook and on his website.

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