My name is Julius A. von Brunk, and this is my official website. I was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1984: the middle child of three children, and the son of a McDonald’s manager and an Army combat medic. Since an early age I was fascinated by LEGO bricks, Transformers, and video games – and therefore I’ve incorporated them as inspiration into my artwork as an adult.

From left to right: me, my mother, father, and older sister in Gettysburg, PA (circa 1987). Check out my Thundercats shirt!

I’m also an ex-Boy Scout, an ex-Freemason, I speak with a bad speech impediment, I can’t whistle, and I drink too much caffeine!

Try to guess where I’m from.

My Skills: Career

In elementary school in the 1990s I was part of my school’s gifted program, which would help promote my fascination for science, technology, and tinkering with simple machines. I wanted to initially peruse a career in engineering, but by my late teens I realized my true skill was digital arts. I started off creating freelance graphics in my hometown in Pennsylvania, and after developing a portfolio I migrated to the New York City metro region in early 2010 and immediately began a successful career as a graphic designer.

Since living in New York, I’ve worked for numerous companies and created graphics/videos for a variety of industries. I started off making package designs for small electronics brands, and as of this update, I’m a video editor for the cyber security division for a large investment bank in Lower Manhattan.

My Skills: LEGO

As you can guess by this website’s main focus, one of my biggest fascinations is the art of LEGO bricks. I’ve collected the toys since I was very young, and first began taking photos of my original creations as far back as the 1990s in the pre-internet era. In the 2000s during the early social media era, I first started uploading photos of my LEGO creations to blog websites such as MySpace. I gradually honed my skills by getting better with making LEGO models throughout the 2000s through the 2010s, and first began shooting with DSLR cameras in 2014. Since then, my photography and video recording skills have greatly improved.

In the 2010s I began incorporating electronic components into my LEGO creations as well. I started off small by attaching simple circuits with batteries, lights, and switches into my models, but as time progressed, I would eventually build my own circuit boards with self-programmed microchips to make my models light up and play audio noises. I haven’t worked on too many electronics projects since then, but I’d like to get back into it eventually. One of my favorite but most complicated projects was a life-size replica of Han Solo’s DL-44 Blaster Pistol from the Star Wars franchise – which underwent numerous revisions but could light up and play sound effects from the pull of a trigger. This was made by me in 2014 as a summer project. The Mk.II version of this blaster pistol uses a small microchip which was programmed by me with Arduino:

I was once commissioned to create a giant LEGO project for a publicity event for Ripley’s Believe it Or Not! in Times Square in summer 2012, but the event was canceled due to unforeseeable circumstances – so I reused my pieces to construct a large 5-foot LEGO replica of a Nintendo Entertainment System controller which was wired with switches and electronic parts to actually play games. When this project was released in early 2013, I was contacted by Nintendo of America, who commissioned me to create a massive store display for their Rockefeller flagship store Nintendo World Store – for the release of LEGO City: Undercover for Wii U in spring 2013. I consider this event to be one of my crowning achievements as both an adult fan of LEGO as well as a fan of classic video games.

Part of the exhibit: a mosaic LEGO Nintendo Wii U sign, and mosaic Nintendo sprite panel – inside a glass case.

My Skills: Animation

Back in the 2000s when I was a teenager, I first made a stop-motion animation for a school project. This was a class that had modules in cubicles of various careers that each student was assigned to on a rotating weekly basis; basically dozens of career types, and we were required to learn the basics of each one. For example, let’s say a student would get assigned to the physician module, and thus spend a week learning about the human skeletal system and X-rays. Each week’s module was completely random, as selected by the teachers. When I was luckily put in the digital animation module, this opened up new doors of creativity. This was in 2001 when webcams were dull and storage space was limited. Our teachers gave us a few random fast food toys to make into stop-motion videos at low quality and slow frame rates. However with myself being the stickler for quality, I opted to bring in several of my classic Generation 1 Transformers figures to make an epic video – and I went against the teacher’s directions by making my video very large in file size and length!

The project was supposed to only require one day’s worth of work, but I went overboard and worked several days on this animated project – much to the dismay of my teacher who also didn’t like me hogging the storage space. The final project was approximately under 30 seconds, and consisted of my Autobots and Decepticons transforming from vehicle to robots, and getting into a brief scuffle! I wowed the class very thoroughly, since the other students created choppy animations with zero plot and using those lame fast food toys. This also means that the very first official Baron von Brunk animation in world history is now lost media: a quick stop-motion animated video of my Transformers! The positive reception among my classmates made one thing abundantly clear: I wanted to be an animator.

At that time I was a huge fan of and I aspired to make my own cartoon series – whether from stop-motion or from standard 2-D animation. I lacked the professional gear to make stop-motion videos, and sadly backed out of those prospects for the time. I would eventually learn simple Flash animation skills in my early adult years in circa 2004-2005, and would create several animated shorts for Newgrounds; most of which are no longer available due to being removed for copyright issues, as well as Flash no longer being supported on browsers. Most of my old animations were very crude and sophomoric to be honest, and were basically just rip-offs of video games. They made sense to me at the time – they were basically just dumb inside jokes that my friends and coworkers at Home Depot thought were funny. I wasn’t exactly trying to be the next Don Bluth.

With Flash dying and with my creative tastes changing, I wanted to step up my game by doing actual stop-motion animations akin to the show Robot Chicken – but lacked the abilities during the later 2000s. This would change by the later 2010s when I upgraded my camera gear and dipped my toes into stop-motion. The very first stop-motion animation I ever created in this new era was a demonstration video of my LEGO Game Boy Color Transformer “Prismatis”, which was made by me using my Nikon D5200 in summer 2017. I would go on to make a few other similar brief videos using my LEGO Transformers to demonstrate their transformation cycles.

By the end of the 2010s I created a few stop-motion shorts for YouTube, and planned on directing a feature-length animation using LEGO bricks. Some of them were standalone animations, whereas others were animated demonstrations of my LEGO creations. At the time of this update, I’m currently stuck in a small studio apartment in Manhattan which doesn’t give me much space to animate, but I look forward to owning a home and eventually allocating space for epic stop-motion animations.

Miscellaneous Facts!

  • I stand at 5’10”.
  • My hair is naturally super curly, so as a teenager I had wild hair like 1970s-era Tony Iommi. I cut it short when I was 20 and usually keep it short.
  • My paternal lineage descends from the Prussian nobility. I’m a fifth-generation German-American.
  • I’m not actually Amish nor do I have any ties to the Amish Mennonite community: I use the nickname “Amish” for myself in addition to the LEGO Amish avatar as sort of a kitschy, tongue-in-cheek nod to the city where I was born [Lancaster]. My hometown has a notable Amish Mennonite community, which means pretty much anyone from that region is often stereotyped as being “Amish” by outsiders – similar to, let’s say, how someone from Texas would be stereotyped as a cowboy. When I moved to New York in 2010, coworkers would often roast me by asking me if I was Amish or if I had electricity back in Lancaster – so I’ve learned to just deal with it and embrace the stereotype. Hence I created a LEGO Amish man as my avatar logo, and I jokingly referred to myself as “The Amish Auteur” in reference to how meticulously detailed I would get with creating some of my stop-motion animations. So, although I’m a native of Lancaster, PA and am a German-American, I am coincidentally not Amish nor Pennsylvania Dutch – and therefore any references to them in my persona are merely tongue-in-cheek.
  • When my mother was a manager at McDonald’s in the 1980s, she amassed a collection of lapel pins. After she passed away in 2021, I kept her pins and currently I wear them on my suit jackets at my office job. Notably in my company portrait, you can see the yellow Ronald McDonald pin on my jacket. Although I’ve personally never worked in fast food, I have a weird relationship with those companies due to my childhood of sustaining off French fries that my mom would bring home from work. It’s for this reason why I’ve created numerous fast food-related LEGO creations.
  • I was once a small-scale actor for backgrounds and commercials. Notably from 2012 you can see me as a pedestrian in Central Park in Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 (I’m the guy with the glasses and long dark grey jacket in the thumbnail – I appear in the video starting at 3:46). I was also once featured in a Chevy commercial in 2016. I haven’t done any major gigs since like 2016 or so, but I do plan on doing some cameos in a few upcoming independent movies.
  • I love hard rock and heavy metal: my first concert was Black Sabbath with Godsmack in Hershey, PA in 1999 when I was 14.
  • Some of my favorite bands are Judas Priest, Metallica, Van Halen, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Motörhead, and Alice in Chains.
  • I was the absolute epitome of a true ’90s kid: I had a mullet, I drank copious amounts of SURGE, I religiously watched The Simpsons and Beavis & Butt-head, I saw Jurassic Park in the theater twice, I played hours of Nintendo 64, and I even wore a Nirvana shirt in my 8th grade year book photo!! The only stereotype I didn’t partake in was wearing JNCO jeans – because my parents wouldn’t let me have them.
  • My top five favorite films are as following:
    • The Transformers: The Movie
    • Stalag 17
    • Patton
    • The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
    • Back to the Future

Image Gallery:

Baron von Brunk laying on a couch with his cat playing Nintendo in 2003, vs. Baron von Brunk lying on a couch playing Nintendo without a cat in 2023.
Retaking the same photo on the same exact spot, 20 years later (2003-2023). Sadly the cat has died.