Area resident makes career as knowledge artist

Area resident makes career as knowledge artist
Bucky Edgett holds a copy of Near Eastern Archaeology. (Photo by Lyndi McNulty, HANDOUT)

Bucky Edgett, 64, of Westminster, has always been an artist. He received gold stars in third grade for pictures he drew with crayons. He said his parents and teachers assumed he'd end up being an artist someday.

He took private art lessons while in junior high school in the early '60s. In 1968, while he was attending Franklin High School in Reisterstown, he took lessons on Saturdays at the Maryland Institute of Art.


Edgett did a lot of easel painting, collages and shadow boxes at that time. He also tried his hand at medieval-style illumination but could not get the egg tempera paint that he made himself to work. Egg tempera paint is made with egg white, water and pigment. He also painted landscapes, still-life images and figural paintings. At the same time, he did cartoons and illustrations for the school literary magazine, "The Junto." He was also designing and silk screening the posters for all the school plays and dances. Edgett painted a huge logo backdrop that hung at the back of the stage in the school auditorium.

"They used it for decades until it finally fell apart," Edgett said.

He continued to do the same types of artwork while he attended Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island. While there, he took studio art classes including drawing and painting. Edgett did cartoon illustrations for the school newsletter, the Brown Alumni Monthly, and painted posters for student political organizations. Despite his obvious affinity for art, he did not major in the field. Instead, he majored in religious studies.

When he graduated in 1977, Edgett used the commercial art contacts he had made while in college to land a paid position at AmeriCorps VISTA — Volunteers in Service to America — working for a new alternative underground newspaper called Grass Roots.

"It was a wonderful learning experience," he said. "I learned how to do formal paste-up and mechanical production for printing."

In 1978, the newspaper went bankrupt, but the editor who had hired him found Edgett a summer training program in which he learned to do small-scale offset printing on a printing press.

That provided him the background to get a job with Colonial Printing in Cranston, Rhode Island, where he worked from 1978 to 1983. While there, Edgett learned other layout and mechanical techniques to create printed materials. He had become a commercial artist rather than a fine artist.

Over the years he has had several commercial art positions. Since 1992, Edgett has served as a freelance commercial artist for his own business, Lucky Productions.

"I have done everything from being an offset printer, a photographer, illustrator, designer and copy editor," he said. "I think all of what I have been doing has been an art project."

When the Biblical Archeologist academic journal was changing to the title Near Eastern Archeology, the editor asked Edgett, its art director, to redesign the logo and create the illustration for the cover. The illustration is a collage titled "Ancient Mugs," which features mug shots of eight ancient sculptures, including a Neolithic clay human head from Jericho, an ivory statuette of a seated goddess from Turkey, and a Chalcolithic female figurine from Cyprus.

"It was very well-received and became a bestselling T-shirt design as well," he said.

Currently, Edgett produces The Crab, the digital newsletter for the Maryland Library Association. He is also doing a series of advertisements for artist Freya Grand.

Edgett has worked for at least six fine artists to promote their work including Carroll County sculptor Bart Walter and Baltimore sculptor Patrick McGuire.

"I think of myself as a knowledge artist," he said. "I was supposed to be a fine artist but I turned out to be a commercial artist or a graphic designer. I have been very lucky to work for academic associations and scholarly journals. Since I married a librarian, I have been able to work for libraries. I enjoy creating advertisements, brochures, journals, websites that help convey and promote information and knowledge. I like making the poster, the computer file that is used to print the brochure and making the website. I like the combination of the artistic and the mechanical. It is a craft like the William and Morris Craft Movement. You don't have to just design something, you have to make it."


Edgett can be contacted at

Lyndi McNulty is the owner of Gizmos Art in Westminster. Her column appears on the first and third Wednesday of each month.