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An artistry niche since childhood

Rhonda Costa-Landers
Appeal Staff Writer
Trevor Clark/Nevada AppealRobert Bucknell poses in front of a mural of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park on July 15. Bucknell, who paints murals for companies like Cabela's, painted the mural in Mom & Pop's Diner on Carson Street about 10 years ago.
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While in grade school, Robert Bucknell entered a couple of citywide art contests and won. From there, he just kept going.

Since then, it’s not awards Bucknell’s been after, it’s the enjoyment of painting murals on canvas and oils.

Bucknell, 56, a Carson City resident since 1989, has been the exclusive artist for Animal Artistry since 2000. Animal Artistry is described as the “global taxidermy studio specializing in unique hunting and safari trophy room installations and wildlife reproductions.”

Animal Artistry provides all levels of taxidermy, from one animal to entire exhibits, and museums for big-game hunters.

Bucknell also partners with Reno Artist Paul Manktilow in painting murals for Cabela’s, and has done murals in Bass Pro Sporting Goods stores.

“We do the canvas work in-shop in Reno, then on site painting for the store,” Bucknell said. “We work three to four weeks on site, per store.”

Bucknell said the theme is similar for each Cabela’s store ” Africa and North America. Reno is an exception, it will be only North America.

One downfall to Bucknell’s busy schedule, he has never been to the grand opening of any of the Cabela’s stores since they’ve all been in other states. Reno will be the exception.

“It will be fun for us to see. We never get to see the finished product,” Bucknell said.

“I enjoy doing landscapes, and that’s mostly what we do for Cabela’s, then paint animals into them.”

One piece of Bucknell’s work can be seen inside Mom and Pop’s Diner at Third and Carson streets. It is of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.

“That’s one of my better pieces,” he said. “I did that about 10 years ago.”

He also did a mural inside the St. Charles Hotel several years back, when the restaurant Joe Garlic’s was located inside.

When Bucknell heads out on an assignment, traveling with him is his wife of 34 years, Diane. The Bucknells have three children; Gabe, 32, in Southern California; Glorie, 29, and Angela, 22, both in Carson City, and two grandchildren.

“I do private jobs, too,” Bucknell said. “We are private contractors. My biggest local job is the Silver Legacy.”

“We’ll go anywhere in the world ” as long as they pay us,” added Diane with a soft laugh.

Bucknell said he has started to cut back on his time doing big jobs, and wants to do more oil paintings, fine art, and cut into the art market.

“I’d like to get a series ready and present it to galleries,” he said. “I’m learning the aspect of the whole marketing thing.”

After completing work in Cabela’s stores in Chicago and Hammond, Ind., he will return to finish the Reno store.

Bucknell’s work can be viewed at http://www.robertbucknell.com.

– Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at rcosta-landers@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1223.