Larry Tucci


Very early in life Larry Tucci recognized there was magic to be found in nature. His father was
a fisherman, who travelled annually to Northern Canada to experience the glorious solitude of wilderness fishing destinations. And Larry's mother did her best to expose her sons to the many layers of beauty found in the outdoors, from the most exquisite sunsets, to the tiniest bit of moss that might reveal an incredible spectrum of unique colors. Although neither of them was involved in the outdoors in more than a casual way, the influences of Larry's parents had a profound impact on their middle son.

Larry was born and raised in the Detroit area, first in the city and later in the northern suburbs where nature was abundant, and city life a world away. When they left the city he was just seven years old, and the forests surrounding Larry's new home soon became a source of comfort and a place of refuge from all that was difficult in life. Beyond just a passing interest, he soon felt driven to learn more about every new discovery he made. It didn't matter if it was an insect, a bird, a plant or an animal that crossed Larry's path, he needed to know it's name, what it was doing in the place where he found it and how it was connected to the things around it. This passion emerged involuntarily and unexpectedly, and continues to this day.

Somewhere along the way an equal passion began to take hold, a feeling of wanting to re-create the unique discoveries he was making in nature in the form of pictures. Larry worked very hard in those early years to become the best "recorder" he could be. At the age of eleven he enrolled in a correspondence course with the
Northwestern School of Taxidermy, in Omaha, Nebraska, and began the new artistic endeavor of reanimating birds, fish and mammals in three dimensions. This practice led to a further use of his growing artistic skills, as Larry made scores of drawings recording the anatomic structures of various creatures, to get the most realistic results in his taxidermy. Once again his parents had a quiet but important influence, as they watched their large chest freezer become increasingly crowded with all manner of dead things. There was never a word of discouragement, even in the face of this somewhat morbid development.

Fast forward a number of years, Larry had finished High School and was working on the shipping dock of a Detroit chemical plant. One of his co-workers, an older man named "Art" worked side-by-side with Larry each day loading and unloading tractor trailers, and they shared sketches of their favorite subjects during idle time. In the months leading up to Art's retirement, he approached Larry one day and expressed a sadness over never having the opportunity to develop his artistic abilities into a career. He told of his life as a young boy during the Great Depression, when circumstances forced him to help support his family and there was no place for his art. In that moment Art said solemnly, "don't let this happen to you, don't spend your life here and let your artistic gift be wasted". Larry took Art's words to heart and within months left his job and enrolled at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, where he would go on to earn a Degree in Fine Arts, majoring in Illustration.

After college came many successful years working as a self-employed illustrator, producing technical art for the automotive industry and related companies. Along the way Larry never stopped making art that reflected his love for the outdoors. Those efforts were rewarded with honors such as having his art featured on four state trout stamps, and being juried into prestigious international shows like the National Park Service's "Arts for the Parks Top 100", and "Art of the Animal Kingdom", at the Bennington Center for the Arts. But as he worked with determination at making a transition from commercial art to the Fine Arts, the fortunes of the auto industry and the Midwest region in general, continued to falter.

In the late summer of 2009 Larry moved to Fort Collins, Colorado, with his wife Cathy and their two young children. He had experienced firsthand the vibrant art scene of the west during a trip to Jackson Hole, and was anxious to produce work for an audience who truly appreciated art reflecting the beauty of the natural world. Along with the geographic move there was another deeper shift taking place within the artist. For years he had been painting in a style of high realism, using gouache and acrylic paints. But deep down he longed to be more expressive in his work, and had been moved by the beauty of rich, impressionistic oil painting he had seen in the West. This led to a new undertaking using the more traditional medium of oil on canvas. For the past several years Larry has worked almost exclusively in oils, laboring to develop a visual voice which honors his history of strong drawing and technical ability, but opens a path to more personal expressions through the beauty of rich oil colors.

Larry Tucci


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