Arctic Artists
Dean Axelson D.V.M. - Biography

view artwork

Dean AxelsonDean passed away Monday, October 3, 2011. He will be missed.

I like to carve. I get a great deal of satisfaction from taking a nondescript piece of stone or wood and creating a likeness of something found in nature, such as birds, animals, reptiles or fungi. When I look at a raw piece of stone, I visualize what is in it, it tells me what it wants to be. I make it happen by removing what I don't want, revealing its inner image or essence. I have studied rocks and minerals extensively, and carving them allows me to bring out the inherent beauty of their colour and structure. I have also had a fascination with nature all my life and this is just another way of expressing my love of nature in all its various forms.

Curriculum Vitae:
I am a veterinarian who specialized in the treatment and surgery of birds, reptiles, exotic pets, dogs and cats for 37 years. When I retired in 1997, I turned my North York, Ontario practice over to our son, Dr. Rick Axelson. A year before retirement, in June 1996, my wife Judy and I moved to Ballantrae, just north of Stouffville, Ontario. During my years as a veterinarian, I lectured all across North America on avian and exotic pet medicine and surgery and wrote numerous professional journal articles. I have also written 5 books on verterinary medicine and archaeology - another major interest in my life. All these years of treating small creatures has given me excellent hand-eye coordination which helps me in my sculpting. I've also developed a deeper appreciation for wildlife: Judy and I are avid birdwatchers.

For many years prior to 2000, I carved wood and occasionally some soapstone. The purchase of a 60 acre cottage property in the Bancroft area in 1989 was prompted by my interest in rocks and minerals and I have attended the Bancroft Gemboree as an outside dealer for about 17 years. I have been carving stone seriously since about 2000 when I discovered a large (40 acre) deposit of various coloured marble and green serpentine on our cottage property.

Most of my carvings are sculpted in hard stone such as marble and granite but sometimes I work in serpentine and soapstone. Soapstone and wood can be carved with a knife, files or chisels. Changing over from soapstone and wood, which are quite soft, to hard stone like marble and granite required a completely new set of tools. Hard stone carving requires the use of diamond and air powered tools and I do most of my carving with a diamond blade on an angle grinder plus a flexible shaft Dremel-type tool with diamond burs. This type of stone carving produces a great deal of dust which requires carving outdoors and using a protective mask. I rely on power tools for most of my work. I supply some diamond carving tools, marble, green serpentine and soapstone carving stone to fellow artists and offer lessons on hard stone carving. My work has won two first place awards in North York and Bancroft art shows. I have worked in clay for many years reproducing the pottery and pipes of the native Iroquoian people of Ontario as they made it, with a bonfire as my kiln. Some of my reproductions are in museums.

view artwork
Contact (please add "Arctic Artists" in the subject line of an email)
Dean Axelson
5 Tamarac Drive
R.R. #3
Stouffville, Ontario L4A 7X4
Tel: 905-640-3988
Website by Jurpik Design. All contents copyright.