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italian brothers lego sculptures

Bricks Build Computer Science Graduate’s Career

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Boba Fett lego helmet being held by Boba Fett cosplayer

Christopher Gearhart is proof that a successful career can include LEGO bricks.  

A 2019 graduate from Taylor’s Computer Science major, Gearhart works as a software developer for Crane Currency, a global currency securities firm. Outside the nine-to-five, though, Gearhart is the owner and chief software developer for Bricker Builds, a company that markets unique LEGO-building experiences.  

“We create life-size sculptures of things that are nostalgic to people,” Gearhart said. “Everything is representative of something you could hold or experience in real life.” 

Gearhart on Fox 35 Orlando during a Brick Convention in Orlando, FL in 2023.

Some of Bricker Builds’ most popular sculptures include the “Italian Plumber,” items inspired by Star Wars and Marvel comics such as a “Dark Lord Maul Bust” or “Wieldable Saber Replicas,” and dinosaur eggs - and it's all truly life-sized. The company makes the instruction manuals for the builds, and sources brand-new bricks from The LEGO Group. Despite not being affiliated with The LEGO Group, their team of fans have created over 100 designs.

Gearhart launched Bricker Builds in Atlanta in October 2020, when many people had more time on their hands and craved a sense of stability and comfort. With many adult fans of LEGO looking for new building challenges, Gearhart saw an opportunity. He now leads a team of 28 at Bricker Builds in addition to his full-time job.  

This mini appa build, a nod to Avatar: the Last Airbender, went viral on Instagram.

Collaborations Count 

Born and raised in the Chicago area, Gearhart has loved LEGO since he was a child, starting at the age of 4. By age 9, he was creating board games with bricks. From there, he began experimenting with stop-motion animation, and by the time he started looking at colleges, he had already been creating his own LEGO stop-motion animation videos on the YouTube channel Bricks Brought to Life. He initially was interested in Taylor for the film program but ultimately decided that software development was a greater interest area.  

“I have bragged about the Computer Science & Engineering Department to dozens of people because I think it’s one of the best programs I’ve ever heard of or known to exist,” he said. “The teaching staff is incredibly collaborative and personal. I spent hours with faculty, and they poured into me as a growing creative.” 

At Taylor, Gearhart continued his work with graphics and digital effects, using his own software to create digital renders for companies that work with LEGO. He was mentored closely by professor Dr. Jon Denning, eventually collaborating together in projects using Blender, a 3D computer graphics software tool set. His abilities attracted the attention of his current employer, and he moved to Atlanta right after graduation to start his job there.  

Gearhart and Taylor professor Dr. Jon Denning presenting at the Blender Conference in 2019.

“My education at Taylor was a graduate-level program as an undergraduate. That experience, combined with how my professors invested in me, set me up for success later,” he said.

Beyond academics, Gearhart’s professors challenged him to think deeper about the gifts he had been given. As Bricker Builds grew as a business, Gearhart wrestled with surrendering it to the Lord. 

“The biggest challenge for me in starting the business was figuring out how to integrate business with my faith. For the longest time, I felt like I was holding my time back from God by running the business, and I wrestled with shutting the business down in the early days. I realized over time that the business was a blessing from God, given to me to steward and to use for His glory… I was wrestling with these exact same things at Taylor with my extra-curricular work, and Denning and Brandle challenged me to see that I didn’t get these things outside of God’s blessing. And it’s true: this business is an incredible blessing from God.” 

Conventions and Beyond 

Gearhart is looking forward to continuing to grow Bricker Builds, especially in the national convention circuit, including BrickWorld, DragonCon, Brick Convention, and Brick Fan Expo. Unlike other brick exhibits and displays, Bricker Builds allows attendees to experience their creations directly, rather than a hands-off approach.

“You get to pick up our lightsabers, for example, hold them, and take pictures with your family. We put the time into making items that can hold together.”  

A family enjoying the Bricker Builds booth at a convention.

“It’s all about creating that memorable experience with the people you love.”

Explore Computer Science at Taylor

Curious about how far your unique interests in software development can take you? Request more information about Taylor's Computer Science & Engineering programs, and schedule a visit to meet the team in person. 

Photos courtesy of Christopher Gearhart.