Terry Starr was born in 1951 to the Gispax Laats tribe, Eagle Clan of the Tsimshian Nation. His mother is from Kitsumkalum, BC and his father is from Lax Kwalaams (Port Simpson). Terry began carving at an early age and was influenced by the wealth of art and cultural traditions still active in Port Simpson.
Terry attended Camosun College in Victoria, BC for Business Administration, and there he met Art Thompson, Tim Paul, and Richard Hunt, who held the position of First Carver for the Royal British Columbia Museum. Terry began to carve with the artists of the Royal British Columbia Museum Carving Shed, which served as an education center for the museum, as well as training young artists and overseeing many international commissions directed through the museum. Terry assisted with the growing number of commissions, many of which were for both Expo ‘86 in Vancouver and various sites around the city in preparation for the world's fair.
Terry chose to concentrate on carving full-time and began an investigation into his own Tsimshian style. At the same time, he continued to assist with commissioned works given to other artists. He moved to Vancouver to receive greater exposure for his work and was immediately offered the commission to paint the housefront design for the Tsimshian longhouse at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec. He continues to carve and paint full-time and is also a respected printmaker.