October 16, 1946
Gene Brabant spent his childhood watching late Kwakwaka'wakw master carvers Mungo Martin and Henry Hunt work on the Thunderbird Park project at the Royal Museum of British Columbia in Victoria, BC. He was offered his first apprenticeship by Kwakwaka'wakw artist Tony Hunt when he was just fifteen years old, but did not accept the offer until he was twenty-three years old. In 1971, Gene began carving full-time with Tony and John Hunt. He also worked with adopted Kwakwaka'wakw carver John Livingston. Gene has been trained in Kwakwaka’wakw style, but he often works in classical Nuxalk or Bella Coola style. He is artistically inspired by Nuu-chah-nulth artist and carver Joe David, and his painting style is influenced by Kwakwaka'wakw artist Willie Seaweed. Gene has travelled extensively to visit museums and study older pieces in collections, and his work is often an interpretation of these older pieces.