Randal was born and raised in Castro Valley, California. He does not remember a time when his hand was not involved in art. He has traveled extensively in the Western United States, Canada, Europe, and Africa.
Randal’s formal fine art training began while he was a sophomore in high school in 1975; for nine years---summers and falls--- he attended classes at the Okanagan Game Farm in British Columbia, Canada, under artist Clarence Tillenius. There he drew, painted, and sculpted all forms of animals working directly from life. These were formative years and instilled in him a lifelong love of observing nature.
Upon graduating high school in 1977, it was on to the Art Students League in New York where he studied figure drawing and sculpture under Jose DeCreeft. In 1978 Randal received private instruction in painting from esteemed western impressionist Robert Lougheed, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
From 1979 to 1981, he learned the art of bronze casting with Piero Mussi at Artworks Foundry, Berkeley, California. He later furthered his art studies with Bob Kuhn and George Carlson.
Concurrent with his fine art, Randal began a career in special visual effects for the movies, in September of 1981. His first project was the blockbuster “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi”. In the 25 years that he was a key creative in the effects industry, he worked on, to list a few: “Gremlins”, “Willow”, “The Golden Child”, “Robocop 1 and 2”, “101 Dalmatians”, “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, “Jurassic Park 1 and 2”, and in 2005, “The War of the Worlds”.
During that time Randal quickly ascended the ranks from the ground up as Mold Maker, Key Sculptor, Creature and Concept Designer, Animator, Senior Animator and ultimately, Animation Director and Consultant for Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Disney.
Randal has been twice honored and recognized by his peers in the movie industry with two Academy Award “Oscar” nominations for Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects as Animation Director for the 1997 film, “Jurassic Park: The Lost World”, and again in 2005 for the film “The War of the Worlds”. In 1998 he was voted in to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), again by his peers, for “outstanding contributions” to cinema.
His work is in the permanent collections of the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, Wyoming and the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, Wisconsin, and many private collections internationally.
RANDAL DUTRA ON ART
We live in a rapidly changing world. Technology has invaded every part of our lives. We are a culture caught up in ways of living that often preclude the quieter moments of expressing appreciation, or gratitude.
For me, as a practicing artist of diverse mediums (that has included the newest of technologies), what I’m constantly reminded of is how precious the “original source” of things is—Nature. Without an observance of nature we lose our sense of direction and our very origins.
I’m never at a loss for creative challenges because there is still so much untapped material, and new ways to express it. Artists, since the beginning of mankind, have aligned themselves with the rhythms of nature. We are all drawing from the same well, the same subjects. What separates artists is what they do with that material. How they make it their own.
Handmade original art is now more important than ever. Singular works created by passionate, thoughtful, and genuine individuals will never go out of style, because they remind us that truth is the one currency that holds its value.
-Randal M. Dutra