Retired hairdresser puts down scissors in exchange for sculpting tools

Dino Cosentino creates intricate tree sculptures

An internationally renowned Vancouver hair dresser has taken his talent for creating sophisticated styles and transferred it to building sensational sculptures.

Today, instead of using styling gel and a brush for his creations, Dino Cosentino has turned to wire to mold intricate tree sculptures in a variety of forms and styles, including a unique piece adorned with hundreds of pink blossoms used to represent the ribbons of the breast cancer awareness campaign, and a tree resplendent in rainbow blooms to represent the LGBTQ2S+ community.

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“Wire is like hair so it was a very smooth transition,” said Cosentino. “Back when I was styling hair and entering all the competitions everyone loved what I created, but the next day after the hair was washed, it was gone. Now with my trees, that beauty can last forever.”

In the 1980s, Cosentino made a mark for himself at his renowned Shaughnessy salon while coiffing and styling the hair of celebrities and members of Vancouver’s elite. The popular stylist also travelled the world scooping up prestigious hair titles and winning numerous styling competitions.

Cosentino, born in Montreal’s Little Italy in 1942, began his creative journey early under the guidance of his father, Vincent, who was a designer and silk screen printer. Cosentino was just 15 when he attended hairdressing school in Montreal and graduated at the top of his class.

During the 1960s, Cosentino won numerous prizes and competitions and in 1979 he moved to Vancouver, where he began working in Alberto Leone’s prestigious salon. Not long after, Cosentino bought the salon and became the go-to stylist for many members of Vancouver’s high society.

During that time, Cosentino also worked for L’Oréal as a platform artist and it was during a trip to China, in the 1980s, when he got the inspiration for the sculptures he makes today. (Part educator, part entertainer — “platform artists” are considered the rock stars of the hair industry.) While training new stylists at a prestigious hotel, Cosentino saw a stark space transformed into a beautiful Chinese garden through the innovative techniques the Chinese craftsmen used. This sparked an idea, but it was only after he retired from hairdressing that Cosentino found the time to create his own sculptures.

And now, at age 75, Cosentino is considered an “emerging artist.” His first show, Immortal II, took place in mid-November at Visual Space Gallery on Dunbar Street where 20 original works of art by Cosentino were on display and available for purchase.

“I love design,” said Cosentino. “What I am making is unique. No one else is making sculptures with the same approach.”

And although many might consider 75 as an age to settle into retirement, Cosentino believes that being a senior is the perfect time to seek long-sought-after dreams.

“Whatever age we are, we should never give up on our dreams,” said Cosentino. “They can come true at any age and if I can do it, anyone can.”

sthomas@vancourier.com

@sthomas10

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