Robert “Bob” Guge was born in 1952. Like many others, he followed in his father’s footsteps. Guge’s father Roy started entering pieces into competitions as his artwork improved, and that sparked Guge’s interest in carving. By age twelve Guge had already carved a few birds.
His first career, however, was not carving, but house painting. In 1973 Guge and his wife visited Chincoteague, Virginia and met with decoy carver Delbert “Cigar” Daisey. That was when Guge finally saw the potential for a career as a professional carver. He kept his day job as a painter, but carved at night and on the weekends. Eventually he stopped painting houses and took off on his chosen career.
Guge is mostly self-taught but his biggest influences have come from Harold Haertel and Cigar Daisey. He works from a basement studio at home and enjoys his occupation because it allows him to spend time with his family. He also teaches carving and has been doing so since the mid-1980s. He thinks of it as a good way to make a bit more money while practicing his art.
In his carvings he is more concerned with trying to capture the essence of the bird rather than create an exact replica. He says he does not try to choose between accuracy and creativity, as both are equally important. He makes primitives, which have a folksy feel, and more realistic and detailed sculptures.