(Non) Artist Profile: Stewart Steinhauer

by Lindsay Shapka in ,


According to Canadian Stewart Steinhauer, though he makes his living creating beautiful stone sculptures, he is not an artist but simply someone who “inadvertently makes stuff.”

Mother Bear Preys for Earth Healing, 2007     Stewart Steinhauer

Identifying with his Cree/Anishnabe/Mohawk Aboriginal ancestors, Seinhauer follows their belief that his ability is not a ‘talent’, but a spiritual gift; 

creative individuals become conscious of the swirling pool of creative forces, and recognize their place in it

This sculptor became conscious of his ‘gift’ when he went on an aboriginal fast/spiritual journey into the back-country mountain wilderness. While on this journey he had a vision of a bear who transformed from a small, playful bear — to a large and powerful spirit bear — and finally to a stone bear that seemed to ripple as it moved. According to this ‘non-artist’, the bear made a 3-D imprint on his mind which appears when he is creating his sculptures. 

Mother Bear Preys for Earth Healing, 2007     Stewart Steinhauer

The bear is an incredibly important symbol in aboriginal culture, but has almost contradictory meanings — representing both tranquil, nurturing motherhood, and the protective power of a fierce warrior. It is only fitting then that the contradictory Steinhauer, an ‘artist’ yet at the same time someone who just ‘makes stuff’, uses the bear as the subject of some of his most impressive works. 

Steinhauer began sculpting in 1973 and since then has produced 21 exhibitions worth of new works in shows all across Canada. His works are also in private collections all over the world.