Taking a chance on a dream and leaving a profitable career in the process is never easy, but it paid off for Steve Hamrick. In 1981, Steve left behind a career in real estate to turn a weekend hobby into a full-time career as a wildlife artist.
"I was always worried about being a starving artist, but you only live once, and to me that meant doing something professionally that I loved," said Steve. "It was one of the best decisions of my life."
Steve draws his inspiration from time spent outdoors, generally hunting and fishing. He is moved by the natural beauty around him and will often snap a few photos while he's out, which will serve as inspiration when he's back in his studio.
In addition to painting, Steve creates bronze sculptures, wood carvings and resin castings of ducks, birds and other animals that surround him.
Steve uses his talent to serve the greater good by donating paintings to Ducks Unlimited and other conservation groups for auctions. He sees this as a way to help preserve the natural resources that he loves and that inspire his work.
"I'm happy the money they raise goes back into the ground — we need that more today than ever. I consider that my duty. I've benefited greatly from our natural resources," explained Steve.
Some of Steve's accomplishments as an artist include:
- Minnesota Trout and Salmon Stamp winner, 1986, 1992, 2004, 2015
- Minnesota Pheasant Stamp winner 2003, 2015
- Minnesota Turkey Stamp winner 2004, 2014
- Minnesota Waterfowl Stamp winner 2012
- Minnesota Walleye Stamp winner 2015
- Minnesota Deer Hunters Association Artist of the Year, 2000
- Best of Show at National Wildlife Art Show in Kansas City
- Displayed and Demonstrated at the Minneapolis Museum of Art
- Selected for Ducks Unlimited National Art Package twice
- Minnesota Ducks Unlimited Sponsor Artist and Flyway Artist
- Best in Nation Wine Label for Hells Canyon Winery
- Best in Category Original Wood Carving "Ruffed Grouse and Birch Stump" at Northern Nationals in Minneapolis