Randy Puckett

The Capital Athletic Club

Since his childhood in Southern California, Randy Puckett has loved animals and the sea. In 1976, he carved a toy whale for his son, Justin, and his interests in sculpture and whales merged. Since then, Randy has sustained a passion for creating whales through sculpture. He eats, drinks, sleeps, and lives whales. He has found ways to be part of their world: dived with research biologists and Humpback Whales, been within 50 feet of a Blue whale, observed River Dolphins in the Orinoco and Sperm whales in the North Pacific and Sea of Cortez, Orcas off Puget Sound and Bottlenose Dolphins off Florida. If there is a chance to observe whales or dolphins, Randy finds a way, not least of which is studying the abundantly rich coastal waters off Monterey, California, where Randy makes his home. Randy collects and studies photographs, motion picture film and video tape, and current scientific literature on whales.
With countless hours of personal observation, he knows whales inside and out, to include necropsies. Because of his devotion to craftsmanship and anatomical accuracy in his works, Randy may study pictures of a Beluga’s blowhole, or grooves in the “armpit” of a Humpback Whale. The fun of his research is in the detail and in getting to know the scientists who discover those details. As they walk through the Hall of Mammals, visitors to the Monterey Bay Aquarium observe overhead Randy’s life size Gray Whales and Orcas. In La Jolla, California, guests of the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography see THE LEGACY, which heralds the entry to the Aquarium and La Jolla Bay beyond. At the time of its installation in 1996, THE LEGACY was the only life size bronze sculpture in the world of any of the large whales: at 39 feet 10 inches tall, it was the second largest bronze sculpture ever cast in the U.S. This life size work features a breaching Gray Whale and calf, and the diving tail of a third Gray Whale displayed in two fountains.
After several years of creating whales in wood, Randy first cast his work in bronze, beginning in 1981. Bronze is an enduring medium and allows more fine detail. Randy’s fascination with motion, grace, and tactile beauty is evident in his sculptures, which are among the finest in the world. He loves to play with ideas for his whales: studying the interplay of mass, line and space. His affinity for fluid, elliptical forms enables him to conceive a pattern or movement to render in an anatomically accurate portrait. The abstract of shapes and angles he envisions are then translated into a detailed study of a fascinating species, based on current scientific research. Randy’s sculptures frequently interpret something of the natural history and abilities of whales and dolphins: the phases of life and the ways in which mankind can identify with other species. The grace and beauty of Randy’s work is enjoyed and recognized by many collectors. It is displayed in museums, galleries, and private collections around the world. His work has garnered many awards in competitive art shows on both East and West Coasts. The Ocean Research Foundation awarded him the 1988 John Stoneman Award for his “outstanding contributions toward the better understanding and appreciation of the marine environment.” Although Randy spent his childhood in San Bernardino, California, he graduated High School in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. After military service, he graduated in 1975 with a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. Randy brings a range of life experience to his work. As a child he kept a “zoo” in his garage. As a young man, he sampled many professions, including: folk singer, merchant seaman, soldier, student of political science and pre-law, humane work, and carpentry. In 1976 Randy returned to California, this time to Monterey on the central coast, where he makes his life as a sculptor in the solar home and studio he designed and built himself.

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