Bob Johnson is a carver and active spear-fisherman from Baxter, Minnesota. He’s been carving since 1993 and his fish have evolved quickly into quality works of art, which are in demand among collectors. Not only are his fish popular with collectors, but have been successful in show competition as well. He did well at the recent 2002 John Jensen Gathering Show held in Perham, Minnesota. Taking home three 1st place ribbons, three 2nd place ribbons, two 3rd place ribbons, plus a “Best of Show” in the Texas World Championships held in conjunction with the show.
Bob’s interest in fish decoys began at a young age, and was sparked by his father and uncle, who were carvers and users of fish decoys. The fish decoys carved by these men were used for spearing, a means of harvesting fish, and weren’t thought of as art objects. His father was an outdoors-man, known as an exceptional fisherman and hunter. The outdoor life lessons learned from his father have served Bob well, and are evident in many aspects of his life.
Bob works as a visual arts teacher at Brainerd Senior High School in Brainerd, Minnesota. Including fish decoy making into the art class curriculum, he has inspired a whole new generation of carvers and potential spearers. In doing this, Bob helps to assure that the art of the fish decoy won’t become a lost art. His efforts to create and grow an interest in the hobby among young people should be commended. Using his artistic skills and drawing inspiration from the outdoor appreciation taught to him by his father, Bob creates fish decoys that contain and reflect the “spirit” of the fish they imitate.