Since his career began in 1982, Minnesota artist James Hautman has established himself as one of the most dynamic and exciting talents to emerge from today’s new generation of wildlife artists. Accuracy, attention to detail and dramatic impact are what set Hautman’s work apart from others. These characteristics, combined with a distinctive, truly classic style, have propelled him along an award-winning career path.
Hautman’s career began in a business venture with his brothers, Robert and Joseph. These enterprising young men saw a market for their talents and began painting waterfowl images on slices of logs. The Hautman “Birds on Boards” sold readily to tourists and locals in their area. When Jim’s talents became more and more developed, he began entering state conservation stamp competitions. This competition style painting was an easy transition for him as the dimensions are similar to those he used when creating the log designs. For three years Hautman entered competition after competition. During that time he dedicated himself to honing his talents while analyzing the trends and styles of the winning images. Then, in the 1988 competition year, Jim’s diligence was rewarded. He emerged victorious by capturing both the Delaware and the Nevada duck stamp contests. In 1989 he won Minnesota’s duck stamp competition and then in 1990 he won his first Federal duck stamp contest, the most prestigious of all conservation art competitions. For the past decade, Hautman has won an average of one conservation stamp competition per year including two Federals and an Australian duck stamp competition. Though much of his artistic energy is focused on conservation stamp contests, he is very accomplished in traditional wildlife, landscape and exotic animal art. Natural talent and a genuine love for the outdoors are two significant ingredients to this young artist’s incredible success. His talent he attributes to his mother, Elaine, who was once a commercial artist and is now an abstract impressionist painter. His love for the outdoors was instilled by his father, Tom, who was a dedicated hunter and fisherman. Jim’s parents taught each of their seven children to appreciate and respect the delicacy of the human/wildlife relationship. The Hautman family not only nurtured Jim’s talent and passion for wildlife as a boy, but continues to offer him tremendous support and encouragment. Most of the family live near Jim and his wife, Dorothy, in central Minnesota. So when confronted with artistic challenges, Jim can readily turn to his mother or his brothers for assistance. Robert and Joseph Hautman are also wildlife artists and are competitive challengers in the conservation stamp contest arena. This extraordinarily talented trio has won an astounding total of 21 conservation competitions since 1988 with each of the brothers winning the famous Federal at least once.