Meet the artist who turned over 500 drag performers into Lego minifigures 

Drag and Lego superfan Brick Queens YVR has been sharing unique “Drag Race” fan art every day for over three years

Some Drag Race fans tune in for the dazzling runway looks, some for the juicy drama and some for the larger-than-life personalities. But one fan has something else on his mind while watching queens death drop, duck walk and get read for filth—Lego.

“When I’m watching the show, all I’m doing is thinking, ‘What can I replicate? What can I do? What parts exist?’” says the artist only known as Brick Queens YVR on Instagram, a self-described drag and Lego superfan.

The Vancouver local has been creating fan art of queens from across the Drag Race universe—including iterations from the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Spain, Holland and more—for over three years. But unlike the usual drawings, paintings, sculptures or even cosplays that Drag Race can inspire, Brick Queens crafts unique recreations of looks straight off the mainstage using only Lego parts. By combining pieces from the over 15,000 minifigure designs released by the toy company, he’s able to create a strikingly similar Lego likeness. 

Each figure is a one-of-a-kind creation. A head from a Batman set, body from a Harry Potter set and arms from a Disney set combine with other parts to create the perfect match of Season 15 winner Sasha Colby, the 500th performer re-created by Brick Queens.

According to his diligently maintained spreadsheet, Brick Queens has made figures of 511 unique drag performers from across the Runiverse and beyond. Having re-created several looks from many individual performers and also crafted versions of judges and other drag-adjacent folks, the total number of figures Brick Queens has made is in the thousands. 

Sasha Colby. Credit: Courtesy of Brick Queens YVR

Brick Queens says he first got into Drag Race during Season 9 in 2017. It was a friend’s insistence combined with Lady Gaga’s appearance as a guest judge that convinced him to finally hop on the bandwagon, and he was instantly hooked. “I was like, ‘This is insane. This is high art,’” he says.

Around the same time, Brick Queens just so happened to be getting into Lego builds, and he couldn’t help but see some familiar faces in the collectible toys. “It wasn’t long after I just started to fiddle around with figure parts that I was like, ‘Oh, this kind of looks like Roxxxy Andrews. This kind of looks like Kim Chi.’”

Inspiration struck and he decided to try his hand at turning his favourite queens into minifigures to give as meet-and-greet gifts. His first creation was fittingly the toy-inspired Trixie Mattel. Brick Queens gave the All Stars 3 winner his version of her at a show in 2018. “Trixie was over the moon and that’s kind of what inspired everything else,” he says. 

 

Brick Queens continued doling out the dolls to queens as he met them, and eventually decided to undertake the task of re-creating every queen from the franchise. He started the process on January 1, 2020, sharing them on his Instagram along the way. Of course, COVID-19 lockdowns started a few months later. “It kept me going through the pandemic,” he says. 

Since then, Brick Queens has continued creating and posting a unique drag minifigure almost every single day. He decides on what looks to re-create based on both taste and practicality. “It’s a combination of what’s possible and what I like.” 

“Drag Race UK” Season 4 winner Danny Beard. Credit: Courtesy of Brick Queens YVR

Brick Queens says some seemingly simple pieces like thigh-high boots or opera gloves are beyond the capabilities Lego provides. But something extravagant like Drag Race UK Season 4 winner Danny Beard’s Little Shop of Horrors-inspired eleganza was something he instantly knew he wanted to tackle, even though it became his most challenging build to date.

Figures like Beard’s Audrey II and Canada’s Drag Race alum Miss Fiercalicious’s swinging painterly look utilize the Lego medium to transcend mere outfits, and become feats of engineering. When I ask Brick Queens if he uses glue to achieve any of these more complex looks, it was as if I was suggesting that he’d broken some unspoken Lego law. “I don’t glue nothing. There’s no glue in this house,” he says.

“Canada’s Drag Race” alum Miss Fiercalicious. Credit: Courtesy of IG @missfiecalicious and Brick Queens YVR

While Brick Queens admits he started the project as a fan of Drag Race, he continues it as a fan of drag, period—especially his local drag. “I’m so passionate about Vancouver drag. I do think it’s the best drag in the world, and I’m extremely biased. But I really want to use what even tiny little platform I have that is outside of the city to share that.”

Once he got through re-creating every queen who had appeared in the U.S and U.K. franchises—at that point 12 U.S. seasons and one U.K.—he started re-creating local Vancouver legends like the bearded Alma Bitches and Kendall Gender pre-Canada’s Drag Race. He even celebrated his 1,000th day of artwork in a post showcasing figures of 18 local performers, writing in the caption, “I realized that at its best, this account is a celebration of Vancouver artistry.”

The local Vancouver drag scene, in miniature. Credit: Courtesy of Brick Queens YVR

Brick Queens concedes that from a branding perspective, he might fare better sticking to Drag Race, but he says he can’t help but show love to the local scene. “I get to give thanks to a city that has really warmly embraced me as a member of the community, despite not knowing what I look like and never talking to me.”

As for this season of All Stars, naturally, fellow B.C. local Jimbo is Brick Queen’s favourite to win. “This is Jimbo’s season; everyone else is just there to play the Fame Games,” he says.

As the Drag Race franchise has gone increasingly international, Brick Queens says he’s finding it harder to keep up. “As these franchises continue to expand and go on, I don’t have a lot of options. I only have so much space,” he says. 

Still, he keeps going. “Every year I say, ‘This is the last year.’ And I’m wrong. I don’t want to stop, but I know at some point there has to be a stop.” 

For now, Brick Queens says he plans to continue posting for as long as inspiration strikes (and he has room on his walls).  

“​​There’s always more. There’s always something I haven’t done. There’s always an idea, or a season, or something,” he says. “​​I have to put this energy somewhere … So this is a way to keep all the drag stuff really focused in one area so that my regular personal life, that does exist on some level outside of this, has room.”

Phoebe Fuller (she/her) is a journalist and graduate student based in Vancouver, Canada. She likes writing about queer stories, labour issues, social media and her latest reality TV hyperfixation.

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