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LEGO Masters

Photo credit: Channel 9

Gold Coast school teacher makes LEGO Masters finale

Charntel Cleveland | May 2020

Emmanuel College music teacher and father of five Andrew Tuppen has made it to Sunday night’s finals of reality TV show LEGO Masters.

Along with his graphic designer teammate Damian, Andrew is in the running for the show’s grand prize of $100,000.

Like most people, Andrew discovered his love for LEGO as a child.

“I had two brothers. We had a LEGO room and had a really good time building things,” Andrew says.

However, a cancer diagnosis at the age of nine saw Andrew hitting the bricks even harder to help take his mind off his illness.

“My chemotherapy was two-and-a-half years long and I had a lot of time off school, so playing with LEGO was really helpful,” he explains.

Building blocks to creativity

Fast forward several years, and a university-aged Andrew discovered another angle to the benefits of LEGO building.

“When I was doing my music degree, I started writing music and had a teacher who said I needed other stimulus to be really creative,” Andrew says.

“He and his wife did jigsaw puzzles, but I had a stack of LEGO beneath my bed so decided to give building a go to fuel my creative flair.

“Building with LEGO helps develop photo memory, as well as your left and right brain, so it’s brilliant.”

Teamwork key to success

While building with LEGO is mostly a solitary activity, LEGO Masters contestants work in teams of two to tackle building challenges.

Andrew says teamwork has been key to his and Damian’s success on the show so far.

“Even now getting to finals week, people are there because they are good builders but also work well as a team,” he says.

“We’ve had to work out each other’s strengths and really work together during the challenges.”

A smashing pastime

Regardless of the outcome of the show, Andrew plans to keep building.

“Building is my happy place and I love LEGO,” he says. “But I also love my job, music and teaching kids.”

While many LEGO lovers collect sets and stick to the instructions, Andrew is more interested in the creativity the bricks inspire.

“Maybe I’m more of an artist than a LEGO nerd,” he laughs.

“After I build something, I sit with it for a few weeks and usually smash it up afterwards.

“I do appreciate finished LEGO sets, but love the idea of looking into my mind’s eye and creating something from scratch.”

Gold Coast a top spot to call home

A Pacific Pines local, Andrew calls the Gold Coast the best place to live in the world.

“We have beautiful beaches, gorgeous hinterland with some of the best coffee houses, and no pollution,” he says.

Andrew loves the city’s relaxed lifestyle, as well as its ambition.

“We’re not a conservative city, but we do think ahead and have good connections internationally.”

Andrew says his five kids love the beach, have season passes for Dreamworld and are all avid borrowers from Gold Coast libraries.

“Each of us has our own card, so it’s not unusual for us to have more than 100 library books in the house at a time.”

Countdown to the finale

Regardless of whether he and Damian win, Andrew has loved his LEGO Masters experience.

“I didn’t go in it to win it; I went in it to build and got to do that as much as possible and I’m happy with that,” he says.

“Of course it would be nice to win the $100,000 though!”

LEGO Masters airs on Sunday at 7pm and Monday at 7.30pm on Channel 9.

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