Kaska / Tlingit Nations
Dean Herson, born in 1970, is Kaska/Tlingit and a member of the Wolf Clan from Teslin, Yukon. His father was a teacher and superintendent of public schools which allowed Dean to see many parts of the country while growing up. It was living in northern British Columbia that had an impact on his sense of environment, community and self-identity. His parents encouraged him to search out his heritage from a young age.
In the early 1990s, Dean started to pursue a lifelong commitment to learning First Nation’s art with the encouragement and support of his wife. He began designing and painting at first, but wanted to carve. In 2006, this took him back to the north, to Terrace BC, where he began formal training in drawing, design, tool making and carving under prominent Northwest Coast artists Stan Bevan, Ken McNeil, and Dempsey Bob at the Freda Deisling School of Northwest Coast Art. In the Spring of 2007, Dean was recognized by the Northwest Community College with the Dr. Freda Diesling Award.
Dean’s current body of work includes serigraphs, paintings, regalia design adn wood carvings. One of his salmon designs was selected by the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre as their offical logo. In the summer of 2007, Dean and fellow student Henry Kelly were asked by teachers Bevan and McNeil to paint paint longhouse fronts for the community in Kitselas, BC.
Encouraged to teach, Dean began instructing at the Northwest Community College in spring of 2007, through the College’s continuing Education Department. Here he taught local youth the fundamentals of Northwest Coast design.
In December of 2007 Dean traveled with his teach and mentor, Stan Bevan, to Australia and New Zealand to open the People of the Cedar exhibit in Melbourne Australia and visit carving schools in New Zealand with the intention of learning from other indigenous artists.