Those who know that kid from Akron will tell you he’s a pretty complex guy.
And no one knows that better than Wayne Peltz, who has created a Lego portrait of Cavaliers superstar LeBron James.
The Lego portrait is just one of the latest of his creations portraying sports athletes.
In his day job — well, usually, a night job depending on the schedule — when he’s not poring over thousands and thousands of tiny Lego bricks, Peltz can be found inside the visitors’ dugout at Progressive Field, making sure everything is just right for rival ballclubs.
The Broadview Heights resident said his dabbling in Lego art started about eight years ago.
It’s fun to collect autographs from willing visiting athletes and celebrities, but Peltz said he found it boring to ask them to sign a ball.
That’s when he turned to paper and paint to sketch pictures of the celebrities and that didn’t work out so well.
“I found out I couldn’t draw,” he said.
So he started playing with Lego pieces to create cool portraits.
Word spread quickly around the clubhouses, and he soon found athletes asking and paying him to create original Lego artworks of them, too.
Some of his more recent works actually hang on the wall of the visitors’ clubhouse.
Lego art of Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout is now on display, and Peltz is working on one of Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.
These are no small undertakings.
His LeBron James piece is now hanging prominently at the entrance of the Explore It Lego exhibit at the Great Lakes Science Center as the Cavs prepare to play the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
Peltz, who is a member of the Northeast Ohio Lego Users Group, spent some 50 hours working on that piece of art and used more than 8,000 Lego bricks to get LeBron looking just right.
He admits he was a bit intimidated and put off tackling LeBron since the athlete has a pretty tight circle of friends.
He struggled the most getting the Spalding logo on the basketball just right.
“Sometimes I struggle with the nose or the mouth,” Peltz said.
This is the second of a three-phase Lego-inspired exhibit at the museum and the latest installment that will run through June 4 and will feature works by brick artists from Northeast Ohio and throughout the country.
Among the creations on display is a three-dimensional Winnie the Pooh and some 1.3 million tiny bricks used by a Columbus artist to re-create a larger-than-life replica of a 1978 Lego castle set.
This is the public debut for the castle along with the mural of LeBron.
Entry to the Lego exhibit, which will feature speakers and demonstrations this week, is included with the science center admission.
The LeBron portrait will remain on display until Labor Day, well past another hoped NBA championship parade.
The next phase of the exhibit, dubbed Move It, is set to open June 17 and will feature works by Los Angeles-based Lego expert Adam Ward.
“This is some pretty amazing stuff,” said center spokesman Joe Yachanin. “And to think there are some of these artists right here in Cleveland.”
On a wall not far from LeBron are other Lego portraits by Peltz, including Indians manager Terry Francona.
“The hardest one is always the one I am working on,” he said. “I am always trying to one-up myself.”
Unlike most of his works, LeBron’s portrait is incomplete.
There is a blank spot where the athlete’s signature goes.
Peltz said he’s been fortunate that most of the baseball players have been willing to sign theirs and even have asked to buy them.
He’s hoping LeBron will do the same someday, but he realizes the NBA player is a bit busy right now.
“If my phone rings and I see 330, my heart will skip a beat,” he said.
Craig Webb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3547.