by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
Scot Storm took required art classes while attending Walker High School and drew comic book heroes on the side. His creative talents were channelled into an architecture degree at North Dakota State University (NDSU). It wasn’t until after college, when painting became a hobby, that he saw the potential in it.
After a roommate’s girlfriend submitted paintings to a duck stamp competition, Storm decided to give it a try.
“While living in the Twin Cities and not having access to the outdoors, it was a way to stay connected,” he said.
He earned second place in the 1988 Minnesota duck stamp contest for his very first entry.
Until 1999, he entered a lot of duck and pheasant stamp contests around the country while working for Short Elliott Hendrickson.
“I painted after hours,” he said. “The stamps are small and easier to get done. I sold a couple of limited-edition paintings during that time, which helped build my confidence.”
His first win was in 1991, the Indiana pheasant stamp.
“It took until 1999 to win again, but it started to roll from there,” Storm said. “That drove my desire to paint more.”
He has won numerous national competitions in addition to several contests in Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas. He has been chosen Artist of the Year by multiple organizations.
Storm and his wife, Kristin, live near Freeport with their son, Logan and daughter, Summer. He is one of the wrestling coaches at Holdingford High School, harkening back to his high school years on the wrestling team with his dad coaching. Storm also wrestled for NDSU.
Although he spent a lot of time in the outdoors growing up, hunting with his dad and his brother, Storm realized that he noticed different things after he started painting.
“I saw the way sunlight hit a tree, and the feathers on a bird,” he said. “I would bring a camera along as much as a gun.”
One of Storm’s philosophies is to show people different aspects of the outdoors. He showed one part of the cycle of life in a painting of three wolves vying for a carcass. Two older wolves are snarling at a yearling who is trying to get close enough for a bite.
“Death and pain are part of the outdoors,” he said. “A number of different artists told me I was crazy when I took it to the NatureWorks show in Tulsa, Okla. in March, that I was ‘really taking a chance.’”
That painting was the first to sell at the show.
Only about 25 percent of Storm’s time is spent painting. He does a lot of photography to use for reference. Paintings are often put together using several photos.
Storm travels around the country throughout the year to photograph different settings, catching birds and animals in their native habitat.
In 2012, he was invited down to a Louisiana hunting cabin by a director of Ducks Unlimited.
“We pulled in during the evening and it felt like the middle of nowhere,” said Storm. “Water came up to the road on both sides and I saw red eyes in the water. Our host said to wait, that he was turning the lights on, not only because of the alligators but because it was the time of year when snakes were looking for warm places to nest.”
One January, Storm went to St. Paul Island, Alaska to scout a waterfowl scene for an outfitter.
He also visited Kodiak Island in Alaska for five days. A native guide invited Storm to his house for dinner. Rather than waiting to be picked up by the island’s only car, Storm walked. His host was agitated.
“He just said, ‘but — there are grizzlies out,’” Storm said.
Storm took the car back to town.
Each spring, he spends one to two weeks in South Dakota with a friend, photographing the waterfowl migration.
“We’re all ‘camo’d’ up, sitting in water all day,” he said. “Some would say I’m crazy, but I love it.”
Storm had never been a speaker, even hating to talk with someone new on the phone. But last year he was invited to speak at the Ducks Unlimited International Convention in Nashville, Tenn.
“Being with my wife and her family, outgoing people, helped me a lot,” he said. “I talked about the conservation efforts of artwork, helping to purchase land or going toward bringing the wolves back.”
Storm enjoys the feeling of constantly learning. He is currently percolating an idea for a television show, something for the Outdoor Channel, the History Channel or A & E.
“I want to put together a pilot show,” he said. “I’m just picking away at it now. It’s for after the kids are out of high school. It comes from trying to educate people. I’m a big believer in a well-rounded education.”
Life took a direction Storm never anticipated, but it’s a great life.
“It’s never repetitious,” he said. “There is always something happening.”
For more information, visit www.StormWildlifeArt.com.