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Minnesota wildlife artist work on display

John House

NEW YORK MILLS - Minnesota artist John House will exhibit of his new wildlife work July 9-19 at the Cultural Center in New York Mills.

House will fill the gallery with portraits of human nature and wild nature as part of the annual fish decoy show. This show is held each year in conjunction with the LundMania Fishing Tournament and the New York Mills Summer Celebration.

Born in 1956 in St. Paul, House showed both artistic talent and a love for nature at an early age. House's passion for fur, fin and feather overshadowed his artistic pursuits in high school, but the unpleasantness of an accounting major in college forced him to rethink the direction his life was taking. House has been recognized as one of the foremost wildlife artists in the United States, having won competitions for his work to be placed on Minnesota's duck, walleye, trout, turkey and pheasant stamps. House's art graces the cover of the 2014 Cabela's spring catalog.

After a short stint as a fishing guide in Canada, House married his high school sweetheart and took up knife and chisel, deciding that he was a professional decoy carver after having carved the grand total of one decoy. It was difficult at first, but drawing from his years of duck hunting experience, eventually his talent came through and the public began to take notice. In 1985 he entered his first carving contest and won first place with Canvasbacks. Three more national contests followed, all with blue ribbons, culminating in his first win at the Ward World Championships in 1992. All of these contests were won with Canvasbacks. To date, House has hand-carved and sold more than 500 decoys.

However, as a carver in the mid-'80s, House's first passion of drawing and painting returned to him, and slowly he began to blend flat art into his repertoire, depicting the many dramatic scenes he's experienced as a duck hunter. Again, it was a slow start, but his carving background gave him the foundation he needed to portray birds in sporting situations, and eventually the public began to respond. In time, House began to enter painting contests sponsored by the Minnesota DNR (known as "Stamp contests"), and finally won the Minnesota Duck Stamp contest for 1999, followed by the Pheasant Stamp for 2004, the Trout Stamp for 2006 and the Turkey Stamp for 2008. With this last win, House became the first and only artist to win all four of Minnesota's Stamp contests, the "Minnesota Grand Slam." In addition, he has illustrated three books and has been on Field and Stream Radio and ESPN

House has been a full-time, professional artist for more than 30 years now, being largely self-taught with the exception of a year of training at The Atelier in St. Paul.