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Featured Artist Works Displayed in the Offices of the Governor

August, September 2010 - Rick Whittier (Lidgerwood)

Photo of Rick WhittierRick Whittier was born in 1961 in Minnesota and lived there until his late teens.  He spent 20 years of his early adult life in Northwestern Wisconsin, living in a home he and wife Connie designed and built themselves. In 2004 they semi-retired and moved to North Dakota.

With a passion, nearly obsession for wood working, Rick has built and designed many, many items from wood, starting at the young age of 12 when he received his first scroll saw. Besides designing and building his home he's also made a wood boat (which he used for several years), furniture, clocks, birdhouses, dollhouses, 6 foot - all wood ship replicas and all kinds of home decor items.

He doesn't like pattern books. When he spots something he likes and wants to make, he either makes a quick hand sketch of the item or takes a couple photos and a few measurements.  He then goes to his shop, makes a pattern of plywood, sets that in front of him and makes the item. 

He started carving spear fishing decoys in 2004 when a friend stopped over with an older decoy wanting some made that he could actually use since North Dakota legalized spear fishing again. The friend was trying to help occupy Rick's time with some small woodworking, since Rick had just had several massive heart attacks and open heart surgery. He had some white pine lumber on hand and carved several that the friend says work wonderfully! While researching the internet he found a category on eBay to sell them.

While researching the worker decoys on ebay, he saw all the beautiful carvings of the known artists, said "I can do that", and started carving fancy, realistic decoys. 

Probably one of the most unique things about his carvings are the way he paints them. He uses Krylon spray paints, not air brush. He even blends the colors in mid-air and mists them for the milky, wet look. He then touches up, like spots and stripes with a brush, but again using paint from the spray cans. He is the only person known to paint fish in this manner throughout the decoy world for competitions.

In April 2007 he entered a few decoys in the National Fish Decoy carving competition in Perham, MN.  He took two 5th place ribbons, one on a perch and the other on a largemouth bass. He entered only a few decoys in the Perham show again in 2008 and took a third place on his largemouth bass.  He is a member of NFDA (National Fish Decoy Association).

In 2009 he entered 4 of the 5 competitions in MN for the NFDA competition circuit and took 38 awards including, 2nd place service working fish decoy carver of the year, 3rd place decorative carver of the year for MN and 2nd place World Points Champion. In 2010 he entered all 5 competitions but only took 5 decoys for competition in the World Points Champion and 2010 National finals and still took 3 place as well as an additional 32 ribbons in the competitions for the year. In addition he was awarded Carver of The Year by the mid-state chapter of the Minnesota Darkhouse & Angling Association.  As of April 2010 he has earned 72 awards and ribbons for his fish.

This is Rick's full time occupation. He carves nearly 300 species and sub-species of fish.  Most of his carvings, he makes into spear fishing decoys, as they are what started the American Folk Art movement, others are made into wall plaques and some he makes decorative stands for display on mantels or table tops. He sells all of his art on eBay. eBay user id is whittierdecoys where you can bid on his items or contact him at: Rick Whittier, PO Box 308, Lidgerwood ND 58053, phone: (701) 538-4064 or email:

Rick Whittier images
Photo of Blue Marlin sculpture
Photo of Crappie fish sculpture
"Blue Marlin "
Photo of Brook Trout plaque
"Brook Trout "
NDCA blue art footer with typed arts disciplines listed