Gary Olver was born in 1966 in The Pas, Manitoba of Woodlands Cree descent. His family moved to British Columbia in 1975. On a family vacation to visit his uncle, who was stationed at the air force base in Masset, Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), he met a number of the Haida artists, watched the artists working on various projects, and he was inspired by the quality of work in progress.
He began to work as a professional actor working in both feature films and television. He has played roles in both The X-files, Highlander, and several small parts in films including a singing role with Willie Nelson. His acting career was cut short by a horrific accident when a car hit his bicycle. The accident required surgical repairs to his face and left him some loss of speech and sight—most of which has been recovered over time. He began to manage an Army Surplus Store in Vancouver and crossed this business with the growing movie industry in Vancouver. During this time he began to carve miniature pieces in Northwest Coast style. Carving helped rebuild his dexterity and attention to detail and he became more and more interested in carving. In 1999 he left his job to carve full time. His major interest remains in jewellery and miniatures in stone, argillite, ivory, wood, and precious metals.