Nathan Sawaya: An American artist whose penchant for art derives from his love of LEGOs — yes, the same ones that you probably played with as a child. From a life-size Conan O’Brien LEGO sculpture and a Lindsay Lohan LEGO portrait to his most recent sculpture of a man frozen in an ice-cube — which can be presently seen at the Wired store in Times Square in New York City alongside his sculpture of the Melting Man — Sawaya is breaking the boundaries of art by creating something extraordinary from simple children’s toys.

In hope of instilling some holiday spirit in GALO readers, as well as his fans, he shares with us his recent Christmas “card” creations.

“There are so many holiday traditions in our home, but one of them takes a bit of work. When the winter holidays come around, I like to send out greeting cards to my close acquaintances. However, I try not to just go to the store, and buy a box of cards. No, as an artist, I want to do something creative. And as a LEGO artist, I want to do something creative using LEGO bricks.

So each year, I build greeting “creations” to send out to friends. In the past, I have sent out little LEGO snowmen, or LEGO trees each built from a handful of LEGO bricks that I glue together, so they survive the mailing. This year I sent out snowflakes which had to be specially packed. I hear they have become quite the collectors’ item.”

Stephanie Imbeau: An American artist who likes to play with that which is unconventional creating artworks from items that often times go overlooked, or are discarded, such as umbrellas or cardboard. She acquired international fame with her piece Shelter, which was installed outside of the Channel 4 building in Westminster, London.

Before readying herself for Christmas, Imbeau shares her first encounter with Santa Claus.

“There’s some debate about whether it’s healthy for parents to let their children believe in Santa Claus. For me, as a child, it wouldn’t have mattered what my parents said. I wanted to believe, and that was that.

On Christmas Eve, when I was five-years-old, I was woken up by what I was sure was Santa’s sleigh landing on our roof. I couldn’t help but get out of my bed and sneak downstairs to get a peek. What I found, looking back, were my parents putting presents under the tree, caught red-handed. What I convinced myself of then was that I saw Santa’s boots as he went back up the chimney while my parents put his delivery away. I was so excited I could hardly stand it. I ran straight back to bed so that Santa wouldn’t think I was naughty, and the next morning opened my presents without once doubting the validity of my sighting.”

Rose Jang: An internationally renowned Korean-American pop artist who can easily melt hearts with her magnetic voice, Jang has five albums under her belt and several awards. But what many find extraordinary is her association with FIFA events. In 2010, Jang performed in front of the world’s top FIFA presidents when she sang during the FIFA South Africa World Cup. Recently she could be seen performing at The Lincoln Center of the Performing Arts in the heart of the Big Apple.

But in the midst of her singing career, she finds time to spend the holidays with her family, participating in the cooking and baking that the holidays entail.

“I was born in Princeton, NJ to Korean parents who had come to the United States to study. Christmas was always a holiday that combined both my Korean heritage and my American heritage. For Christmas dinners, we would cook turkey, but [we] would also have an array of Korean dishes to choose from such as Japchae (Korean glass noodles) and, of course, [a] Korean signature staple, Kimchi. Cooking is one of my favorite pastimes as I have been a foodie for much of my life.

I am a native New Yorker, and one of the many things I love is the diversity of restaurants in the city. So, with my knowledge of good food and a passion for cooking, I prepared a Christmas Day dinner for friends and family last year at my parents’ New Jersey home. What made the meal so meaningful was the fact that it was the first time in a few years that I could gather my family together despite my busy touring schedule. Among the “stand-outs” were a roast turkey and cornbread stuffing, butternut squash and radicchio pappardelle, curried sweet potato mash, and of course, to remain in tradition with how I grew up, Kimchi fried rice. At the end of the dinner, I sang Christmas carols and we drank eggnog. It was by far the most amazing Christmas I’ve had in many years and I look forward to this Christmas because I will be cooking again for family and friends. Merry Christmas to all!”

Editor’s Note: Happy Holidays to all of our readers from the GALO staff!

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