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Stan Bevan was born in 1961 in Terrace, British Columbia and raised in the near by village of Kitselas on the Skeena River in Northern British Columbia. His father is Tsimshian from the village of Kitselas. He is Tahltan-Tlingit through his mother’s side and her village of Telegraph creek, British Columbia.
Stan Bevan was initially inspired to pursue an artistic career by his uncle, Dempsey Bob, who is one the foremost master artists of this generation. Stan began carving under his guidance and was encouraged to apply to the Kitanmaxx School of Northwest Coast Art and Design in Hazelton for the term beginning in 1979. Dempsey believed in receiving a broad overview of Northwest Coast art and the discipline that the school could offer. Upon graduation, Stan joined his cousin, Ken McNeil, to begin a formal apprenticeship under Dempsey’s instruction. Their first project was the carving of a 31-foot totem pole for the city of Ketchican, Alaska. This pole is a dedication to the Tongass Tlingit of South East Alaska. This was followed by a second totem pole also for the Saxman Village near Ketchikan.
Dempsey’s own career began when the art and culture was near extinction. He understood the importance of teaching and training new artists to insure that the art would continue at the highest level. Stan’s valued assistance on commissioned pieces led to a working relationship that continues to this day. He also began making his own pieces using both Tahltan-Tlingit styles and the added influence of the personal style of his uncle. Working side by side with Ken McNeil also led to numerous collaborative pieces. Bevan created mask-bowl frontlets and other items in the Tahltan – Tlingit style.
In 1987, he made the important decision to become a full-time artist. Since that time, Bevan has produced an impressive body of work that has shown he has learned well from his uncle and has begun to develop an independent style that is providing individual recognition and a reputation for monumental commissions.
Stan Bevan has used both the traditional training approach by apprenticing to his uncle as well as a formal training course at the Kitanmaax School for Northwest Coast Indian Art in Hazelton. He worked with Vernon Stephens at ‘Ksan in 1979. Bevan also learned the traditional dance of his maternal Grandmothers.
The dancing has helped Bevan to understand the intricacies and uses of the pieces he creates. It has always been the belief of Dempsey Bob that dancing is an important part of creating art and Bevan has used the dance as inspiration for his work.
2011, BC Creative Achievement Award in First Nations’ Art