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Best Local Artist 

Tom Huck

Ask printmaker Tom Huck what fuels his work — large, meticulously detailed woodcuts, always grotesque and often violent — and the 36-year-old artist doesn't mince words. It's all about revenge. Huck still smarts when he thinks about his adolescence in rural Potosi, Missouri. Few people thought he would make it as an artist; few people cared about his art, period. They were far more concerned about the Potosi High football team (on which he played defensive lineman.) Huck's is a simmering revenge, though. He carves it out day by day, square inch by square inch. A single woodcut can take months to complete, but the finished product is a remarkable work. His two major suites of prints, "2 Weeks in August" and "The Bloody Bucket," aren't merely dark, dark satires of his hometown's small-mindedness. They are also historical documents of a uniquely American time and place. But maybe the surest sign of Huck's rapidly rising stature is his own ambition. His new suite, "Booger Stew," is a series of triptychs that he projects will take fifteen years to complete. These woodcuts will be bigger than anything he has carved, the subject of his satire much broader: religion, reality TV, the culture of beauty. Huck owns St. Louis. America's next.

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