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Wildlife artist Zach to appear at county Nature Center banquet

By Staff | Mar 20, 2008

From Vietnam to Africa to Iowa and all points between, wildlife artist Larry Zach has dedicated his life to recording wildlife for others to see.

Zach will share that experience with those attending the Emmet County Nature Center banquet at the Estherville Elks Lodge Saturday, March 29. The doors open at 5:30 p.m. with serving starting at 7 p.m.

Zach has donated one of 10 conservation editions of Old Rivals I, the first of his three-part Old Rivals series, to be auctioned during the banquet which will raise funds to help pay for the new Nature Center at Wolden Campground. Zach has also donated three prints of the Old Rivals series which will also be on the live auction.

“We’re avid conservationists and wildlife lovers,” Zach said in an interview Tuesday with the Estherville Daily News. “We just kind of feel blessed.”

Zach began his art in 1983 when as a novice he entered and won the Iowa Duck Stamp competition. His art took off from there, and in 1990 he resigned his position teaching biology to devote his entire time to his art.

If it sounds like art is a drastic career change for Zach, it really isn’t.

“Virtually everything I’ve done in life, it couldn’t have been designed better” to lead up to his art career, Zach said.

Zach hopes that those who see his art can enjoy the memories it evokes.

In the Old Rivals series, Zach contrasts two bucks in each of the three prints. In Old Rivals I, it’s the Mascoutin nontypical and a 160 BC class 10-point typical. Old Rivals II contrasts a massive Tussey nontypical and a wide 14-point typical. Old Rivals III contrasts two nontypicals taken with a bow.

As well as the bucks, the Old Rivals series has ‘hidden’ images embedded in each print. For example, Old Rivals I has a John Deere and a Farmall while Old Rivals II has a hawk, mascot of the Iowa Hawkeyes, and a cardinal, mascot of the Iowa State Cyclones. Old Rivals III shows both an ISU sticker and a University of Iowa Hawkeye on a barn.

People from rural areas may pick up on the ‘rivalries’ a little more than others.

“I’m an old farm boy myself,” Zach said. “I still like to play in the dirt.”

If there’s one thing Zach hopes that people can get our of his work it’s that it will take them back to that special time or place a generation or two ago when they actually saw some of the same scenes depicted in the Old Rivals series. “The real compliment is when it affects people emotionally,” Zach said.

Zach tries to carry that sense of wonder into his gallery in Ankeny which includes everything from stone carvings from Africa to woodcarvings by other artists in addition to a showcase of his best work.

He also has a lot of praise for the people who worked to make the Emmet County Nature Center a reality.

“I think it’s just phenomenal,” Zach said. “You’re not only going to benefit the people now but for generations to come.”

Banquet tickets are $25 and there are a limited number of tickets available. Call the Nature Center at 712-867-4422 for ticket information.