Canadian Heritage

Historical Vignettes

The Ingenious: From Miniature to "Larger Than Life"

All the same, Deveau respects the will of his clients and works with the materials they have chosen. He says he receives most of his inspiration from his clients, mostly when chatting about how they imagine the final product. "The challenge is to come up with what the client wants and give the sculpture movement, by sculpting the legs and arms, the curvature of the back, the placement of hands and feet, by giving them tools..."16 His wood sculptures are mostly made with white pine and elm, because of their impressive height, essential for the 'creation of giants'. The imposing sculptures he builds for clients are mostly to honour or commemorate a significant person, or to underline the importance of an industry or an event.

It started with the Foire Brayonne contrats, to honour the six founding peoples of the City of Edmundston. I made my first public demonstrations during the Foire Brayonne working on logs planted directly in the ground... after a few years, these statues rotted and I had to rebuild them.17

The art of sculpting with a chain saw is a challenge in itself, especially while working in front of an audience. The important speed of execution is a practical advantage but also an imminent danger, because of the weight of the saw and the work done high up. For the artist, this means he must attain a certain level of concentration to be able to create before a crowd, something Deveau achieves brilliantly.