Stephen COLE


September 27 – October 23, 2022

Stephen was born in Manitoba and grew up in the Okanogan in Salmon Arm BC. A self-taught artist, he started carving at 14, drawing at 16, and painting oils at 20. He became a stone mason in the late 70’s which led to artistic fireplaces when he moved to the Comox Valley in the early 80’s.


He joined forces with a gifted house designer and a creative builder and together they built highly sought-after homes that would often center around one of Stephen’s sculpted fireplaces or feature walls.

Stephen made public art for businesses and resorts with his free formed concrete, stone and wood sculptures and he participated in Arts Alliance shows in Courtenay. In 1988 he was in the BC Festival of Arts and had a private show at Cathay

Resort. During this time, Stephen had many commissioned fireplaces, courtyards and landscapes in homes on Vancouver Island and offers to work internationally.

Gabriola Island became his home in 2009 where he began transforming his house and yard into living art. In 2015, Stephen entered his studio, The Rising Stone, in the Gabriola Thanksgiving Studio Tour and has been a fixture on the island ever since.

Stephen has a deep yearning to connect or communicate with the essence of who we are. A self that is most present when carving. If his stone carvings had a theme, it would be living a conscious life full of spirit.

While stone carvings have the strongest connection for Stephen, he also loves to explore the combination of different and dissimilar mediums. You will find stone, hydrostone, concrete, wood, glass, cold cast bronze, resin, pigments and metal in these unique sculptures and wall art.

Seven years ago, Stephen combined a sand sculpture with a lifecast and recast the result in hydrostone. This inspired the Mermaid series of hydrostone, pigments, bronze powder and acrylics. Since then, he has combined life casts and sculpture into a constantly evolving series.

Paintings are still a passion for Stephen as he explores different mediums and techniques. He uses acrylics, mixed media, resin, pigments, cold cast bronze on canvas, board and glass.

Stephen has participated in many group exhibitions on Vancouver Island, Vancouver, and Gabriola. His stone sculptures have won Best in Stone at the Ladysmith Fine Art Show in 2021 and 2018. He was chosen as one of 50 artists to participate in the 2020 Global Art Festival in Gujarat, India where he carved and created two sculptures in the White Desert of Kutch.