Brick By Brick, Young Artist Puts It Together
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In a lot of ways, Sam Smillie is just like a lot of kids. He likes music, and the typical things 11-year-olds like.
"I like to ride my bike,” he said. "I like video games."
And what he really enjoys is a toy most 11-year-old boys can relate to.
“I always liked just to build stuff."
It's safe to say not many 11-years-olds have turned their love of something into a business.
"Somewhere in the ten thousands maybe. Or maybe even more."
That's the number of Legos he has. Not dollars. Yet.
Sam sells what he builds through his own online store. His motivation?
"To get some money. And I just like building them, so I thought it would be fun."
It all started at his parent's urging, after Sam made Christmas presents for his entire family.
"This one's my brother on his computer, because he's really tech-y,” he said. "This one is my sister, cuz she likes to sing."
"This one's my sister, she loves fashion and clothes and stuff.”
"This one's my parents at the fire,” he said, “like having a glass of wine or something."
"When he gave us those Christmas gifts we were all so amazed and just touched because it really captured the essence of all of us,” said Doreen Smillie.
Starting your own business, even when it's play, is work.
"It at first was like really slow, and I didn't get anything."
But recently, Sam got his first big break.
"And I wouldn't expect it to be this big of a project. They wanted me to do like four hospital scenes."
Sam's mom got an e-mail from Memphis-based Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, which commissioned four of Sam's pieces of Lego art.
"One was like a surgery room with two conjoined twins."
He also built a trauma scene, an outpatient center and a party in front of the hospital, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary.
"It was crazy, because I didn't really expect it to be a success."
"The fact that they would have a child commissioned to do some of the art project for their gallery, to help inspire some of the kids that go through the hospital, and their families is pretty exciting," said Doreen.
Sam hopes his first big job can help land others like it. Entrepreneur. Artist. And best of all...still a kid.