Gary was born into the Eagle clan of Masset, Queen Charlotte Islands, in 1958. He was the fifth child of nine born to Harold Minaker and Eleanor Russ. Gary was taught to carve at the young age of 14 by his brother, Ed, and sister-in-law, Fay. He apprenticed under them for a number of years while learning the stories, forms and techniques essential to his craft. While working as a logger and fisherman, Gary continued his studies in the course of refining his skill with chisels, until 1980 when he devoted himself fully to his art.
Taking his inspiration from such past masters as Charles Edenshaw and Isaac Chapman, Gary, a contemporary First Nations artist, carves traditionally in both form and content, leaving his work unpolished in the traditional manner – with a tool finished grey/black matte surface. Each sculpture is an original in design reflecting both Gary’s spiritual and cultural heritage, in keeping with a clear understanding of three-dimensional form for which Haida artisans are renowned.
Gary works predominantly in argillite, however he has worked in other mediums such as soapstone, wood and silver castings. His work has been featured in publications, gallery exhibits, and in private collections worldwide. Coastal Peoples was pleased to have Gary participate in our highly anticipated show entitled Spirits Transform in November of 2001.
Gary currently resides in Vancouver, BC, nevertheless he periodically returns home to the source of his creative inspiration – the remote and timeless Islands where the spirits of his ancestors still watch over the people and artisans of Haida Gwaii.