I'll bet very few. Not knocking schools whatsoever, but I have a hunch those that have the talent and drive suceeded regardless of whether they attended a school.
Let's list some names and if you know if they did or not let us know. Some of these folks come on here from time to time and can tell us themselves.
BTW, this list is not inclusive and please feel free to add other names. These are names that I got off the top of my head, and since I've been out of the loop for a while concentrating on commercial work, obviously I'm not up all of the latest noteworthy folks. I also concentrate on fish so that narrows my scope too.
Joe Meder ?
Stephen Savides ?
Mike Orthober ?
Gary Brunch ?
Frank Kotula ?
Richard Krane ?
Frank Newmeyer ?
Ronnie Gaillard ?
Clark Schriebeis ?
Jan VanHoesen ?
Mark Frazier ?
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Gees Cecel, you would think by now you would know how to spell Mr. Savides name.
In all fairness, you have to look at how long schools have been popular. I mean they've been out there but probably very few people knew where to look to find them. I would say since the internet has been in existence, I'll bet their popularity has risen considerably.
Also, how many folks are out there that COULD take a ribbon that could care less about competing? I for one no somebody that could with his commercial mounts. And I suspect there are many more diamonds in the rough...
I spent 6 years with Patrick Rummans...
No pay..... all I recieved was housing and meals and a GREAT TIME !
and I can make one hell of a crate... "Crateboy" :)
Well worth the sacrafice...
Also..... Patrick's name is not on the list either but I know he spent 2 years in France with the BEST...
Education is a powerful tool in the right hands...
SCHOOLS being the operative word. Like Jim Kimball stated, many of them spent time with learned individuals who passed their knowlege along, but as for (in)formal schools, I can just about bet not a single one of those names "attended a school" where they perfected their skills. Taxidermy tends to be a lot like pinochle. Regardless of how well you understand the game, you'll never be any good at it until you sit down and hold those cards in your hands. Very few artists are good teachers as it's impossible to TEACH talent. By observing the masters, one learns to imitate the methods from which he or she later adds their own nuances. Oftentimes, the student becomes a greater artist than the teacher because of the talent, not the instruction. Just as an example, what could Joe Meder teach Fred Vandenberg or vice versa. The real trouble with our industry is that we are approaching the terminus.
As strange as that might sound and as much hullabaloo as some of you will raise, it's the truth. We (certainly not me)as an industry have just about perfected the art. The offshoot of that is that we don't understand that. We've installed septums and created esophageal passages in the back of the throat. We've made papillae and tinted denture material made into teeth. We've created nictitating membranes and preorbital glands. Where else can we go? Just visit a competiton.
Instead of the 2 to 300 deer heads of the past, we now have less than 50. But we have tons of lizards, tweety birds, and small game animals. We've almost turned into a "who can mount something smaller, better" category as we've gone to microtaxidermy. No one mounts bass as they once did. I hear the fish guys talking of spending hours at the Maybelline counter in the drug store looking for blushes and blends to add detail to their work. Sculptors now create android mannikins with steriod muscle groups. When have you EVER seen a deer with the detail that the top brands now have. Everything is accented. Yet not one scrap of what I've said has been taught in any single school. Competitions are now a "oneupmanship" affair with individuals guarding their entries until the last moment so their "idea" won't be stolen.
The next logical step in taxidermy is recreations. Ken Walker has been laying that groundwork for several years now and in the next few years, you're going to see the deer guys crossing over. Ken never had a single living soul show him how to mount a sabretoothe tiger, yet he "mounted" one. Same with the panda because if you've ever seen the panda that WAS mounted in the Smithsonian, you'll say that Ken's recreation looks more like a panda than the panda does.
So schools tend to be for the "gasoline ass afflicted" who want to skip all the learning processes and talent to make "a lot of money" doing commercial work. Most are "taught" by people who've gained fame off of their own talent and are marketing it. Not one thing in this world wrong with that. Capitalism at it's best and I'd pay Jim Kimball just to sit and watch him doe his magic on a pheasant. I know others who would as well. But Jim's not going to teach me. What he'd end up doing was SHOWING me and it would still depend on me taking his information and DOING IT MYSELF. If I couldn't pull it off, I'd been "taught" nothing. That's why seminars are such an important part of our shows.
Just MY OPINION.
I can't beleive that I am in agreement with both George and Cacil, but strange things do happen. Nobody can teach talent and artistic ability. The one thing they didn't mention is that NOBODY FLUNKS TAXIDERMY SCHOOL. Pay your tuition and you IS a taxidermist. This is another problem this industry faces. Add that to the fact that most customers wouldn't know good taxidermy if it bit them in the butt. You can put a set of horns on backwards and they'd be happy as long as they saved a dollar. Not to mention the fact that you can become a taxidermist in most states just by buying a license. I could go on and on, but won't. What do the rest of you old fogeys think?
that you left me off this list. Afterall I am known by one name only. LOL.
I learned this trade by working in a full time taxidermy studio and having the luck to be taught directly by a certified taxidermist who knew what he was doing and was active in the state association. I started competing less then 6 month into my humble taxidermy beginnings and was certified within one year. I never even heard of taxidermy school until I was already competing in shows. Ah go figures. No one tells me anything. LOL
I'm just curious.
I guess what got me curious is I am seeing that many wanna be taxidermists posting on here think they absolutely have to attend a "taxidermy school" to learn the trade. I don't believe you do. It may take longer, but like I said, most of the people I look up to in taxidermy never put foot into a "taxidermy school." And as you and I know, once your graduate even from the best of schools you still need to perfect your skills. You can only absorb so much so fast in a school.
...is that being a good taxidermist does not necessarily make a good teacher. Yes, a student needs to have some talent. But a good teacher has the ability to extrapulate and hone that talent. A good or great teacher knows how to push a student to the edge w/o going overboard. A good teacher has structured lesson plans and builds upon each task. I could go on and on.
People rank on teachers a lot. Manytimes that they're getting paid too much. Or they're striking again, blah, blah, blah. Really good teachers are not a dime a dozen. And in my opinion they should be paid MUCH MORE than the "average" teacher. To find a teacher that is both great at teaching and also great in their field is a rare animal. I'm sure the taxidermy field is no different. School or not, the teacher(s) are the most important thing. I'd rather have a great teacher with less talent than a talented artist that can't teach. For those of you that think teaching is easy, I challenge you to try it sometime...
My name was on the list, so Ill consider it an invite! I would first say that the list could be a heck of alot bigger, I realize Cecil said it was just off the top of his head, though. Thanks Cecil. But, like Marty mentioned, theres plenty more, but thats not what we are debating right now. Still, a valid point.
I didnt attend a school, which, I assume, includes one or ones or similar, like me and others offer? I am, however, a product of the state and higher associations, and twice, I might say. First, by being involved in the associations program, seminars and competition, both attending as well as performing in them. Second, the competitive angle is suitable to me anyway, so it was my fuel to excell.
I have since been helped in many ways by so many people. I think thats an on-going instruction. In fact, Im sure it is.
I offer classes, almost was kinda forced into it once, I suppose. I still always suggest the videos and associations first, along with just plain old hands-on experience ahead of it.
By the way, I remember when Jim Kimball was just...crateboy! Hes sure the heck more than that now!
One last thing...you guys would be very surprised to see just how many of us deerhead guys would be willing to put Joe Meder's name on our extended resume. I might not have attended one of his classes like a whole bunch of others have, but I know many guys, like myself, sat through enough of his seminars and were judged and critiqued by him to consider him a part of who we are now, and what we create...
I never attended a "school" to learn taxidermy. I started with a kit from WASCO and a Leon Pray book. Like Yox, I feel the biggest contribution to my taxidermy education comes from state & national associations. I have set through numerous seminars and workshops put on by these associations. I have sit through Stefan's, Rick Carters, Bill Yox's, Joe Meder's, Ben Mear's, Gary Brusch's, Frank Kotula's, Bill Newman's, Mike Orthober', Jeff Mourning's, Dennis Arp's and the list goes on. I still maintain, competing was my best learning tool. The constructive critisism from the judge's critiques is pricelss. Seeing where you stand in the crowd my be more priceless as well as eye opening. Thanks to all the judges & seminar speakers that have shared their knowledge with me.
I forgot, I have to call George every once in a while and get a tip or two. Thanks George.
LMAO at Ken's post. The day he needs advice from me will be one of those very cold days in a very hot place. He only calls me so he can laugh at the way I do things. LOL
When I started in...1951...I never heard of a school...heck there wasn't even a taxidermist within a day's driving distance from us.I found a complete series of lesson books from N.W.School of Taxidermy that were being tossed out during a paper drive. Yes, back then we had paper drives on the last Saturday of the month for Boy Scout money.I read every word at least ten times and threw out many lesson mounts until one day a friend told me he would pay me $5 to mount his pheasant and if it didnt turn out to just throw it away.I must have done a passable job since he paid me.I was hooked from that time on...of course the price has gone a lot higher even if the work isn't much better....lol. Of course, my name isn't on Cecils list either...lol.
He really does know how to build a heck of a crate LOL Good to see you here Jim, I figured you done got snowed in up there in extreme yankeeville.