Like many other Americans, New Mexico ZOZOBRA LEGO creator Robert Piñeda found himself invested in the 2019 Netflix documentary “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” that covered the history of the failed Fyre Music Festival. Unlike other viewers, however, Piñeda decided to breathe new life into the long dead project by using his talent to create an alternate ending to the “greatest party that never happened”.
By Nichole Harwood
Piñeda’s journey began after watching the documentary, covering the rise and fall of the failed festival. After watching the footage it didn’t take long for Piñeda to transform his inspiration into reality through his work. He began to create a mirror “Winter Fest” set with igloos and Lego mini-figures with miserable faces, reflecting the reality of the failed project. However, as Piñeda worked on his creation, he began to notice that the igloos he was setting up looked similar to the white tents that may have adjourned Fyre Fest if the event had a chance to happen. The thought shifted the gears in the Lego artist’s mind and set him on an entirely different path.
Piñeda decided to create a scenario that had never had a chance to exist, a place where Fyre Fest came to life.
“I knew I could not only make a Fyre Fest with tents and figures looking miserable, but I could also make a set using the same figures partying like Fyre Fest actually happened,” Piñeda said. “I added as much of the of Fyre Fest highlights as I could fit: from the gourmet cheese sandwiches, Andy the man that would do anything for the release of the bottled water, Billy McFarland on his jet ski with this black shirt and hat, beds just lying around for the taking, Ja Rule, people taking selfies, and then it just continued to evolve.”
As Piñeda’s imagination continued to develop, he found himself adding humor into his creation eventually including a shark attack and a monster chasing a man out of a porta-potty onto the set.
To make his set come to life, Piñeda gave each character a name and backstory. Additionally, to ensure his creation reflected the inspiration in his mind, Piñeda worked with two separate systems: one that allowed him to build the set online and the other that allowed him to build the set in real life.
With his imagination taking the lead much like his with the first ZOZOBRA LEGO project, everything came together, Piñeda said. After finishing his creation, the artist contacted Oren Aks, a poster creator for the failed project who also currently controls the Fyre Fest Instagram account. After Piñeda reached out, Aks eagerly agreed to add the photos of the set to the official account.
“He loved it and thought it was hilarious,” Piñeda said with a laugh. “He wanted to know which character in the set represented him.”
As an artist, Piñeda said that he always strives to ensure every project stands apart from his past creations. When Piñeda decided to bring Fyre Fest to life, he knew he was preparing to tackle a project unlike any before. The failed event was primarily driven by social media. Piñeda said he was thrilled to test the boundaries of his imagination by creating a platform that would flourish through social media, as the event that had inspired it did.
Upon completion, Piñeda said he was pleased with his finished creation.
“This set was smaller, but it brought satisfaction knowing I could create a smaller set,” he said. “While it wasn’t as detailed as the ZOZOBRA set, it brought a different level of satisfaction to try something smaller.”
Piñeda is currently in the beginning stage of creating his third ZOZOBRA LEGO set and is excited to release it soon to the public. As a native New Mexican artist, Piñeda encourages other artists to chase their dreams and overcome obstacles as he has.
“Just do it,” Piñeda said. “Who cares if people don’t like your work. If it makes you happy, then it makes you happy. If you don’t think you’re good enough, then try to be different,” he said. Piñeda encourages aspiring artists to not only “just do it,” but to create their own style, adding variety to the artistic community. “If you’re not as good as someone else, at least your different. Eventually, you will create your own niché, your own followers, and your own market which will bring a sense of satisfaction.”
Video by ABQ-Live internRaevin Richardson