Vic Kirkman is a North Carolina artist who works intensely to advance his skills creating realistic ducks. He carves all types of waterfowl, but emphasis is on the realistic decorative decoy carved for competitions held on the East Coast.

Painting a Blue-winged Teal at a demonstration in the N.C. Museum of History.

Painting a Blue-winged Teal at a demonstration in the N.C. Museum of History.

Even though Vic has been carving seriously only since 1989, he moved up the ranks very rapidly and often wins over more experience carvers. He competes in the professional ranking and has won Best-in-Show and placed in top honors at major competitions in the Southeast U.S. and Louisiana, including the distinguished Ward Foundation World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition held annually in late April at Ocean City, MD. In February 1998, Vic won Best-in-Show at the East Carolina Wildfowl Arts Festival as well as the PeopleĆ­s Choice Award, and was a Featured Carver at the Virginia Wildlife Art Show. In August 1998 Vic won a Best-in-Show at the Gulf-South Championship in New Orleans. An Open Class blue ribbon at the World Championships in 1997 and being published in Wildfowl Carving and Collecting Competition magazine followed his exciting three-in-a-row Best-In-Show wins at the Core Sound Wildfowl Festival, the East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival, and the Mid-Atlantic Wildfowl Festival in their events. Vic also has the honor of displaying his work in the Village of Yesteryear at the North Carolina State Fair every October. He judges major carving competition events, and was a judge of the Junior Duck Stamp Contest for 1998, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sponsored event, and is an active member of the IWCA (International Wildfowl Carvers Association).
Canvasback Drake(3)

Having been a serious contender several times since 1995, Vic’s goal is to win the World Championship Floating Pairs competition, a world class prestigious event in decorative decoy carving. The
winner of this annual event wins, among other gifts and benefits, a purchase award of $10,000.00 and a permanent display of the birds in the Ward Museum at Salisbury, MD. More important is the recognition of the achievement by his peers, students and serious collectors.

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Vic has lived in Raleigh since attending N.C. State University in 1960. Born in Lumberton, N.C. and raised in a hunting and fishing family, he developed an early interest in the wildlife indigenous to the swamps, rivers and woodlands of Southeastern North Carolina. This interest carried over into studies of the biological sciences in college and later employment in the biological supply field. Summer jobs included working with investigators of the N.C. Department of Wildlife/Inland Fisheries doing fish and fauna surveys of N.C. lakes and rivers. Vic’s woodcarving experience began as a Boy Scout when he and his father would carve neckerchief slides, knife handles and gun stocks together. He watched his father carve bird dogs in relief on redwood and mahogany. He attributes his interest in woodcarving to his father, but downplays the theory of a “natural talent.” “I just
work very hard at it and try to develop a methodology that can be passed on to others.” He is currently teaching the art of carved decorative decoys to 18 enthusiastic students from all walks of life. Several have already won ribbons at competitions and three of his students have won Best-of-Shows at IWCA events.

The Cajun style of carving has had a strong influence on Vic and he has studied those methods extensively via
Curt Fabre, the Brunet family and other Cajun carvers. During his annual 1-2 weeks in Southern Louisiana, an area rich in wildfowl carving tradition, Vic studies with Mike Boner, a world class carver from New Orleans, learning advanced painting techniques and elements of artistry. North Carolina professional carvers such as Mark Strucko and Tommy Rogers have also been helpful in his carving pursuits. Although Vic and his students occasionally carve a songbird or shorebird just for fun, to hone skills and add to the joy and versatility of woodcarving, each weekly 2 hour class is serious work and focuses on the art of wildfowl sculpture. He says that this is one of America’s finest folk arts and is rapidly being considered as fine art by the art world.

Vic Kirkman hopes someday to be recognized as a major contributor to the advancement of this artistry through his teaching and excellent work. “At my age I want to be able to derive some supportive income from teaching and endorsements. To do this, people have to know who you are and that you are good at what you do. I hope my work will speak for itself to lots of people.
I want to leave some beautiful creations behind and inspire other carvers to advance the art form.”

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