ReBlock Project

Gabriel Bizen Akagawa in collaboration with Anne Katherine Knafl, Ima Knafl Akagawa and Ari Knafl Akagawa



scrap wood, various paints and finishes

“ReBlock” is an interactive piece made from scrap pieces of lumber (cutoffs or discarded drops) from the restoration of my family’s home. Our house was originally built in 1893 and has undergone several renovations. We have lived there since 2008. I try to use reclaimed wood as often as possible and save most scraps and materials torn out, repurposing them into sculptural works. The wood is surfaced with leftover paints, pen marks, stickers, finishes from our home, as well as, my children’s and my own art practices. The various pieces of scrap come from my wood shop at home and from the wood and metal shops at SAIC.

My children have helped sand and mark the wood for this piece. The varied sizes allow consideration of scale shifts, understanding weight, balance, connections, textures, positive and negative space, utility, representation, etc. They and I have chosen the blocks they wanted to paint and which paints, stains, markers, and stickers they used to enhance them. We built the initial formation of the pieces for the show’s opening. Participants may interact. My children enjoy taking on persona of construction worker, chef, ice cream trucker, map maker, etc. while using these blocks. Feel free to do the same.