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Stamp selection is ducky for local artist

By Joe Kieser
Sun Newspapers
(Created 10/7/2004 9:11:56 AM)

David Chapman’s latest creations literally received a stamp of approval.

The Minnetonka resident’s painting of a white-winged Scoter was chosen as the winner of the 2005 Minnesota duck stamp competition, held by the Department of Natural Resources. He was also chosen winner of the 2005 pheasant stamp, a competition he last won in 1992.

Winning the stamp competitions was not entirely unexpected since Chapman has two previous wins for creating the 2002 wild turkey stamp and the 1992 pheasant stamp.

But two winners in one year?

“Yeah, I was surprised because it was stiff competition,” he said.

Chapman said that he had been trying to win the duck stamp competition for some time since winning the wild turkey competition in 2002 and the duck stamp entry was fulfillment of a goal he set more than a decade ago.

“It took me about 14 years, but I finally fulfilled my original quest,” he said. “I never won the duck one before. I’ve had so many seconds and thirds.”

In fact, over the last four years Chapman’s entries in the duck competition have finished second three times. This year’s pheasant stamp selection was just icing on the cake.

Now Chapman sets his sights on the fish stamp competition and the federal wildlife stamp competition, something he said Minnesota artists are perennial winners at because of the high quality of wildlife artists in the area.

“Minnesota is the hotbed for wildlife art,” he said.

Chapman said he believes it was meant to be for him to win this year’s duck stamp competition because the object of the painting, the Scoter, is something he had firsthand knowledge about.

According to Chapman, the Scoter is not the kind of duck that is easy to get your hands on because they are not native to Minnesota except on the North Shore.

It just so happened that more than a decade ago one of Chapman’s neighbors showed up on his doorstep after a hunting trip with a Scoter in hand and gave it to Chapman. The local artist accepted the Scoter, had it stuffed, put it in a closet and forgot about it. It wasn’t until the competition came along that Chapman realized he had the perfect model for his painting.

“It was kind of like destiny,” Chapman said about the subject of his winning painting.

When Chapman is not creating future stamps he is working as a commercial artist. He shares a studio with his father, Loyal “Bud” Chapman, an artist known best for his golf holes series. Chapman said it was his father who instilled a love of art in him.

“I’ve learned all my talents from him,” he said.

Besides the stamp entries being something Chapman says he “loves to do,” they can also be profitable if they are chosen as winners of the competition.

Chapman said that once the stamp is created, the artist has the rights to reproduction of the images that are sold.

“Over the years it’s been a real windfall for a lot of the artists.”

One possible reason Chapman’s wildlife images are so powerful is because he has a love for the outdoors and nature. The fact that he is also an avid hunter lets him see the images he paints close-up, in action.

“When I started painting it’s amazing how much more I appreciated [the outdoors]. It changed the whole experience for me,” he said.

Chapman’s 2005 Scoter duck stamp and pheasant stamp will be available in March of 2005.

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