Kerry Woo is a tech-savvy, creative self-made entrepreneur. Not only is he a sought-after architectural photographer in Nashville, but he is also a LEGO Master. In 2022 he participated in the third season of the popular television reality competition show, LEGO Masters. The show features teams of two competing in various challenges to construct LEGO creations. Each team is judged on creativity, technical skill, and overall execution.
Kerry is a first-generation Chinese from a large family with 3 brothers and 3 sisters. He grew up in Richmond, Virginia. As a kid he was a big daydreamer with high expectations wrapped around creativity, he believed he would be a famous car designer or a graphic designer. As a young boy, he loved building model cars, drawing cars, and listening to music.
“I was never much into watching tv, as a paper boy listening to my transistor radio all the time I became a die-hard music lover.”
Kerry admits that a pivotal moment in his life was when he stumbled into a hippie headshop where the guy working there told him he needed to buy three records, Emerson, Lake & Palmer (first album), Crosby, Stills & Nash (first album) and Super Session (by Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield, and Stephen Stills). The discovery of those albums changed his entire view of music. Moving forward he spent hours exploring music, packaging, and art design which also led to his love for live concerts.
Kerry’s dad was a four-star chef living his dream in Washington DC at his own restaurant. Seeing how happy his dad was while living his dream as a chef, instilled a desire for Kerry to pursue his own dream as a creative.
Kerry admits he was impatient while considering college and decided he didn’t want to spend 8 years earning a master’s, instead, he was compelled to actively build a career on his own.
“Originally I thought I would go to Virginia Commonwealth University but after realizing the commercial art degree I wanted would take 8 years to get I decided to skip college and take the path of earn-while-you-learn.”
Kerry realized early on that he wanted to pursue art as a career. At the time, graphic design at a technical college at the high school level sparked his interest.
“I didn’t know that one could take an original and print hundreds of copies of one’s work as a printer, after taking high school credits at Richmond technical school. I got a job at a paint company out of high school called Pratt & Lambert. There as a four-color printer, I would print the labels for the paint cans. That’s how I became deeply immersed in creativity as a career.”
When Kerry was 20 he and his coworker decided to relocate to Atlanta after visiting the city while on vacation. This spur-of-the-moment decision was based primarily on the music scene. He got a job as an encyclopedia salesman that lasted for a day, then became a check designer for John Harland check printers. He admits that his love of music and live concerts were his driving force in those days. He eventually got a job at a music store and that was when he realized there might be a way he could combine his love of music and art into one.
Kerry’s Career In The Music Industry
Working at the music store opened up Kerry’s creativity. He began focusing on building in-store music displays with posters for merchandising. He started entering contests for those displays and winning awards. In the late 70’s he was offered a job that required him to relocate to Nashville by WEA, the distribution arm for Warner Bros., Elektra, and Atlantic Records. His role was to help open up the country music market with marketing and merchandising through the wholesale and retail markets. That led to him winning the “National Merchandiser Of The Year” award.
Kerry’s Transition Into Tech
As technology grew so did Kerry and his career. Later he transitioned into the digital world of technology. He got into desktop publishing and started a Graphic Design business called Computer Works. That career of creating newsletters and logo designs for clients allowed him to be a stay-at-home dad for 7 years while helping raise his kids.
When the iPhone came out around 2008, Kerry took a job at AT&T working with Yellow Pages Advertising as one of their first internet marketing managers to drive online sales for Yellow Pages representatives. When he tired of the corporate culture as most creatives do, he became a blogger and photographer. His focus was always to find ways to make people smile, something he still focuses on today.
Kerry started taking photos of events, and architecture. His architectural work took off when he accepted a job as a Google Trusted Photographer. In that time he created over 800 virtual 360 tours of businesses across the region. From there as an early adopter of a 3D camera called the Matterport, he began shooting interiors and exteriors of buildings on his own.
“I came away inspired by Mike’s lecture. He shared how important it is to have a personal creative outlet in order to fuel your creativity, which made me think about what I might want to do in the future.”
The Beginning Of Kerry’s LEGO Career
When Kerry got home there was a postcard in his mail about an upcoming LEGO contest at the public library. It was sponsored by a local construction company and that was when he decided to combine his love of architecture with LEGO. He researched, designed, and built a city that won Best of Show, Best Adult, and Best Construction in the contest. The next year he did it again and won several more awards.
Not long after, Kerry met Patrick Durham through the Tennessee Valley LEGO Users Group. They learned that the hit show “LEGO Masters” was accepting auditions for the show. The show features teams of two competing in various challenges to construct LEGO creations. Each team is judged on creativity, technical skill, and overall execution. Kerry and Patrick teamed up and made it on to LEGO Masters season 3 as the two-man team known as “The Grandpappies.”
As a contestant on LEGO Masters, Kerry showcased his creativity, technical skill, and ability to work under pressure. He and his teammate impressed the judges with their imaginative and intricate builds, although they did not win the competition.
Today, Kerry still works as an architectural photographer but he is picky with what he chooses to shoot. He and his wife Becky built their dream home in College Grove, Tennessee, where he has a 400 sq ft room dedicated to LEGO where he has been making waves in the world of LEGO building. He shares his creations on social media and on the LEGO Convention circuit while offering his knowledge and experience to other LEGO enthusiasts, young and old alike.
Kerry’s passion and dedication to the LEGO craft has inspired many, and he continues to be a role model for LEGO builders of all ages. Having only built LEGO for three short years, Kerry says,
“One is never too old to create and with passion, education, and encouragement, creativity can push you in a direction never before imagined.”
As Kerry moves forward as a LEGO Master he is building a legacy of his own brick by brick!
The Creative Push Vlog on YouTube
You can see the interview I did with Kerry in this video.
The Creative Push Podcast
You can find more about Kerry on The Creative Push Podcast!
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