Steven Brekelmans, Kitbashing (Drums), 2006, balsa wood, tissue paper, glue. Gift of William and Ruth True, 2022. Installation view Western Bridge, Seattle. Photo: Mark Woods

Kitbashing (Drums), is a full-scale reproduction of a Tama drum set crafted in balsa wood and cut tissue paper. The highly detailed wood joinery and paper cutting techniques reference the traditions and techniques of paper cutting and hobbyist model-making, and nods towards the connections between Vancouver’s experimental music communities and contemporary art practices, especially between the 1970s and 1990s.

Steven Brekelmans’ practice invites investigations into the value of labour, craftsmanship, and the legacies of Modernist aesthetics. He cites his frequent attendance of regional DIY and punk musical acts as a strong influence in his artworks, which often include a subversive aspect of biting humour which imbues the works with tension. In this instance, the materials and title of Kitbashing (Drums), inspire an imagining from the perspective of the imagined drummer of this kit, and what destruction would result from actively playing it, with the full force of a live set. This imagined sabotage is in direct contradiction to the studied care and craftsmanship of the artwork’s execution. The work’s title is also informed by hobbyists’ practices’ of “kitbashing” and combining the elements of model kits to customize, repurpose, or make more unique outcomes than that of the original commercial model kits’ instructions.

Steven Brekelmans (1975) received a Diploma in Media Art from Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design in 1998, and an MFA from the University of Victoria in 2012. Recent solo exhibitions include New Drawings of Bottles, Cans, Hats, Cheese, Sculptures, Posters, Casseroles, Azaleas, Canes, Flags, Trash Bins, Cacti, Glasses, Lighters, Mirrors, Chernoff Fine Art (2019); One Man Band, Dynamo Art Gallery, 2018; Flesh & Blood, Or Gallery, 2015. His recent group exhibitions include, We Do Not Work Alone, Nanaimo Art Gallery, 2021; The Artist’s Studio is Her Bedroom, Contemporary Art Gallery, 2020; Ionic Bonds, Kamloops Art Gallery, 2019. He is also an accomplished artist working in the public realm, with major works of sculpture installed in Vancouver (Hinge Park at Olympic Village), Burnaby (Metrotown Skytrain Station), and Port Moody.