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Lego Man's Truth Is Out There

How exactly did Lego Man appear on Siesta Key Beach, and will the person responsible come forward to claim him?

It wouldn't be Florida without a Lost storyline thrown into the story behind the .

Because it seemed to be Lego Man was just that, winding up on a tropical beach trying to figure out how the journey came to be while toiling away in purgatory, which turned out to be a lockup at the .

It seems that the phrase NO REAL THAN YOU ARE on the front of Lego Man is appropriate.

But it's up to you to figure out the true story behind the madness.

What the public knew following the bizarre day (or as Floridians say, today, becasue every day brings something bizarre) in October was that artist Leon Keer had created Ego Leonard, or what people have called Lego Man.

He just so happened to wash ashore on Siesta Key Beach, just in time for the Sarasota Chalk Festival with its Lego chalk theme.

Coincidence? Ego somehow miraculously made his way across the ocean, perhaps from Holland, where the artist lives. If you believe that, then you may not have had time to wonder about the patterns of the world's ocean currents.

By the looks of a few ocean and wind current videos, that journey could mean turning into an iceberg, going through the Arctic Circle; circulating in the Pacific Ocean, surviving giant squid and whales; meandering from California to Australia, to the Falkan Islands, over to  Africa and eventually back and forth between two continents until he reached Siesta Key Beach, unscathed. Nary a barnacle.

Another route would have Lego Man swirl in the Arctic Circle again, caught up by a transpolar current, shooting down alongside Greenland and the East Coast, perhaps via a circular path to Africa, and then swept into the Gulf of Mexico.

Either way, that's quite the remarkable journey. Captain Nemo would be jealous.

The Legloland folks said Ego isn't their child and not made out of genuine Legos. There goes that theory. 

Then there's another account by Jenah Victor Smith of , who sponsored artist Leon Keer, which meant she covered the artist's expenses and brought him to Sarasota.

Victor Smith told a Patch editor in October that her sons were going to find a Lego Man on Siesta Key. Lego Man was designed to promote the chalk festival, which had a Lego theme, where her children were raising money for their charity KidsServe.com, which benefits children in Haiti as well as Feeding Empty Little Tummies in Manatee County.

But there was a kink. Sarasota resident Jeffrey Hindman found Ego instead. 

When Patch contacted Victor Smith for details this week, editors were sent back and forth between her and Chalk Festival Event Chairwoman Denise Kowal, and denials and various stories presented on both ends.

In one phone conversation, Victor Smith told Patch she would like two smaller Egos. 

"I emailed Ego and asked if I could get two smaller Egos for my kids for Christmas but I haven't heard back from him, because I guess he can't produce any work while he's in jail," she said.

Victor Smith has not claimed Ego and said she would be out of town Wednesday, so she couldn't claim him during the first day either.

Kowal claims this is news to her.

"If she knew something then, she never shared it with me," she said Tuesday inside her Chalk Festival headquarters in Burns Square.

Overall, Lego Man's appearance has been a positive to the community, she said.

"It's been a really good thing for the community," she said. "I'm not sure it really helped the Chalk Festival." 

When Smith's open account with a Patch editor is brought up, another theory emerges — that telling the real story of how Ego came ashore and was discovered would be the equivalent of telling a child that there is no Santa Claus.

"Now we're telling the whole world that Santa Claus doesn't exist," Kowal told Patch in a telephone interview prior to the in-person meeting.

Victor Smith also had shared the same theory.

"Telling people the story behind Ego is like saying there's no Santa Claus," she said. "I believe in Santa Claus and that he came to my house on Dec. 25."

The following day Patch met with Kowal in her office through her offering, and when asked about what she meant by the Santa Claus reference, Kowal was mum.

"Actually I'm not going to say that because you're going to report that," she said.

"I think what you're doing is on self-interest," she continued … They want to think you're clever and smart, and I think that's the direction you choose to go."

With that, the interview ended. 

Whether that artistic construction was done here in Sarasota or overseas is unclear.

The world had hoped Wednesday the rightful owner, or at least Hindman, would come forward and claim Ego. But that hasn't been the case so far, according to The Herald-Tribune:

"He's not going anywhere this week," said Wendy Rose, spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office, on Wednesday. "I have had conversations with Mr. Hindman. I anticipate he'll be making arrangements to pick up his property next week." 

Nobody still knows if Ego came here like Santa Claus, if he washed ashore, or someone placed him just enough into the water during the night to be  discovered the next morning.

Or maybe all of this is just a figment of something imaginary, and we're waiting until all of the Lego Men come together on some far away island, pondering their existence.

No real than any of us, right?

virginia hoffman January 26, 2012 at 12:12 PM
"I think what you're doing is on self-interest," she continued … They want to think you're clever and smart, and I think that's the direction you choose to go." Great "Up Chuck", keep that self interest going , I'm very interested in this mystery.
Daniel Miller January 26, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Origin of Ego, the Artist behind the Lego Man - Sarasota Visual Art http://bit.ly/te10Al
Charles Schelle (Editor) January 26, 2012 at 06:41 PM
We have more answers in this new story: http://patch.com/A-qzLZ

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