Canadian Heritage

Historical Vignettes

The Ingenious: From Miniature to "Larger Than Life"

Albert Deveau: Creator of Giants

Albert Deveau became known as the "chain saw sculptor" or as the "Brayon in the Tree" purely by accident. Right after building his house in Iroquois in 1973, he discovers a new sculpting tool while attempting the impossible.

He was looking to buy a twenty-five foot high wooden statue to put in front of his house, and went to Saint-Jean-Port-Joli after a few suggestions.

" Once I got there, I was told that it couldn't be done, that it was impossible to build a twenty-five foot statue. At that instant, I got an idea... When I came back, I went to see Mister Arthur Parent, who owned a mill in Saint Quentin, to buy a piece of wood big enough to sculpt a twenty-five feet statue. I finally bought three white pines, big resistant trees... When I got home, I looked at that and said 'Saint Sirop!' This will take a long time! "12

Therefore, he started his statue project just like West American Indians would to create totems. Their technique consists in pulling back the bark of a tree, and then sculpting it while it lies out horizontally. He then decided to set the tree vertically in order to see his work evolving. After a few minutes, he decided to use a chain saw to take out big pieces he didn't need, cutting off big blocks of wood. "At first, I just wanted to remove the bigger pieces, but went on sculpting with the chain saw. Sixteen hours later, Grandpa Frank was born."13 That's how Albert Deveau sculpted his first character entirely by using his chain saw. He started a craze for this relatively new technique, and got an impressive number of contracts to create different sculptures.