Animal Planet is introducing “The Million Dollar Duck,” a documentary that follows the Federal Duck Stamp Contest. The special follows six wildlife artists that are competing to win “the Olympics of wildlife art.”
At the Television Critics Press Association Summer Press Tour, one artist said painting ducks became worth it when a friend told her about the competition.
“I didn't paint ducks until I knew about the contest,” said Dee Dee Murray. “I did wildlife of mammals mainly horses and pets. A friend of mine had entered, and it sounded intriguing.”
2015 Winner Adam Grimm discussed how much hard work goes into the competition.
“And it's a serious dedication,” he explained. “I mean, I'll spend several months out of the year just doing nothing but working on this painting for this contest, and most of the years, for most of the artists in the contest, you don't--if you don't win, you lose, and it gets hard to take that time and time and time again. Some people enter for 20, 30 years without ever even coming close.”
Artist Rebekah Nastav said painting ducks is not something that she ever gets tired of.
“I never get sick of painting them. There will be times where I'm about halfway through and I'm kind of sick of that particular painting because I just want it to be done, especially when it's still, like, in, sort of, the ugly stage because my favorite part is just doing the final touches where it actually looks nice. So there's times where I don't really feel like finishing it. But other than that, no, I never get tired of doing it, and I always look forward to picking my next painting for the next year and trying to decide how I want to design it.”
And although the prize is not actually a million dollars, Grimm revealed the winner still makes a good deal of money.
“So the money that the artist can expect to make is made from retaining the rights to the winning original painting design, and then, they can license that on products,” he said. “They can make limited-edition prints and sell those. So that--it used to be worth in excess of a million dollars.”
“Million Dollar Duck” premieres September 14th on Animal Planet.