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Nicholas Markell

Raised in Owatonna in the 70’s, I became very familiar with wildlife art. I remember my mom painting a lot to relax. There was much I learned  from her.

Many young artists where I grew up created wildlife art at some point in their training. I spent many many hours painting fish, birds and deer. My family used to be in charge of the Fine Arts Department at the Steele County Fair, so we were at the fair every day. I have fond memories of going to the Isaac Walton Building, studying the taxidermy and taking photos of the live fish in the huge water tanks. 

My artistic pursuits engaged me in many different subjects in a wide array of styles and forms. I entered the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN and earned a Bachelor of Visual Arts. For several years I worked as a commercial artist and Art Director, guiding creative projects for several prominent Minnesota organizations. Back then, I entered a few habitat design contests, but my vocational interests began to take on more clarity.

In 1987 I decided to study for Christian ministry, earning a Master of Arts degree in Theology and a Master of Divinity degree from the Washington Theological Union, now located in Washington, DC. I planned to be an ordained priest, but my future took a different direction after I chose to leave the seminary and soon met my wife. Today, I am married to my soul mate Signe, and we have two beautiful children, Grace and Aaron. For the past 15 years or so I have operated an ecclesial arts studio, creating stained glass and iconography for worship and graphics for religious publication.

Visit my ecclesial arts website, Markell Studios >>

I truly enjoy fishing as a hobby and have grown to appreciate the outdoors. It makes some sense that my interest in wildlife art would surface again and it has. 

Nature is the way we can know of God’s grandeur. For the past 25 years, I have focused my artistic efforts of what I believe to be my calling: art for worship. Yet, I also know that while many people may seldom step through the doors of a church, they will find a certain peace and meaning in a sunset, landscape or the friendships of fishing companions. So, I feel good to know that my wildlife art is as much a way to share my faith in the Lord of creation as it is a way to help preserve the natural resources and habitat we in Minnesota respect and honor.