Rustic Underground owner Randy Jenkins is an artist, designer and builder — talents all on display in his Rustic Taxidermy
Written By Joe Willey
Randy Jenkins, the owner of Rustic Underground, is a true Ocean City local — born and raised. His work succinctly captures the laid-back vibe and weathered elegance that has made the area a renowned East Coast travel destination. But, it is his newest creation that is attracting attention.
While fishing on the Route 50 Bridge, his son caught a big flounder. Wanting to create something that captured the memory of his son’s catch, and using the materials he loved working with, he created his first piece of Rustic Taxidermy.
His Rustic Taxidermy work is proudly handmade. The focus is on creating custom pieces that show the true marks of craftsmanship. He starts by laying out each fish by hand, with anatomical precision yet without the aid of a computer. His designs capture the look of weathered materials that have been exposed to the sometimes aggressive wind and waves of the Atlantic Coast. To create the look of oxidized metal and weathered wood is a method he developed on his own, by trial and error.
Jenkins has created the Rustic Taxidermy of mahi-mahi, mako shark, marlin, tuna, rockfish and many other commonly caught area fish. He adds the longitude and latitude coordinates specific to each catch, helping him create a unique narrative for every work of art.
Rustic Taxidermy has enjoyed an enthusiastic reception by the public from the beginning, which explains the rapid growth of the business. Jenkins says he focuses on his client’s desires to three-dimensionally capture a memory in time, something that they can display with pride in their homes and share stories about with friends.
But the process isn’t easy. Working with steel and cypress to create Rustic Taxidermy requires a combination of equal parts clear vision and craftsmanship. The result is that Jenkins has succeeded in creating works of art that are a bridge between memory and design, showcasing the Eastern Shore lifestyle he cherishes.