With the sudden and shocking death of Brian Harness of Harrison, Arkansas this week, I looked through my files to find an appropriate photo for the Taxidermy.Net Forum. Brian was such a talented artist that I could not begin to settle on one single image that would represent his legacy to our industry. His body of work was so extensive that he was one of the few multiple cover artists for Breakthrough Magazine as well as a five-time recipent of the WASCO Award. I though it would be best to present a representative gallery of Brian’s competition work through the years.
Brian Harness’s first WASCO Award was won at the Kansas Association of Taxidermists convention in 1998 with this entry featuring a gray fox stalking a ringneck pheasant in a snow scene. The interaction between species in an artistic habitat presentation was to become a recurring theme in much of Brian’s later work.
The dynamic composition of this ringneck pheasant group from the 2002 National Taxidermists Association convention so impressed Larry Blomquist, that he used it for the cover of Breakthrough Issue 71. It also won the WASCO Award at the 2002 Arkansas show and the Southern Regionals.
This simple but compelling bobcat pedestal mount won First Place at the 2002 National Taxidermists Association convention.
This lifesize gray fox also won First Place at the 2002 National Taxidermists Association convention. If Brian had entered a fish mount that year, he could have won the Best All-Around title.
A raccoon contemplating a butterfly demonstrated Brian’s ability to tell stories with his work and draw his viewers in. This piece also won a First Place ribbon at the 2002 National Taxidermists Association convention.
Showing his versatility, Brian also entered this painting in the original art division of the 2002 National Taxidermists Association convention.
This red fox flushing a pheasant in the snow from the 2003 National Taxidermists Association convention was one of many First Place ribbons won by Brian.
Brian was honored in 2004 to win the Henry Wichers Inchumuk Award at the NTA convention with this egg-stealing skunk.
Brian’s Gray Fox entry from the 2005 National Taxidermists Association convention was accompanied by an original background painting.
The cover of Breakthrough Issue 82 featured this red fox and mouse entry from the 2005 National Taxidermists Association convention.
In 2008, Brian competed with this pair of coyote heads at the National Taxidermists Association convention.
The unique pose of Brian’s bobcat entry at the 2008 National Taxidermists Association convention foreshadowed his World Champion mount the following year.
This stunning cross fox from the 2008 National Taxidermists Association convention won the Van Dyke’s Award, the North American Champion Small Mammal award, and the WASCO Award for the most artistic entry.
Brian became a World Champion taxidermist with this bobcat mount, the highest scoring small mammal in the Master Division at the 2009 World Taxidermy Championships. (Photo by Glen Browning, courtesy Breakthrough Magazine.)
Brian Harness (right) was the mammal judge at the 2009 National Taxidermists Association convention. He was assisted by his good friend, John Creager (left).
Even a simple whitetail deer head showed a level of artistry that was apparent from everything the Brian Harness created. This mount was entered in the 2010 NTA competition.
In 2010, the Missouri Taxidermy Association awarded this red fox with the Best of Category, Missouri State Champion Game Head and the WASCO Award for the most artistic entry.
At the 2010 National Taxidermists Association, Brian was again awarded Van Dyke’s creativity award for this outstanding silver fox mount.
Chad Davis presented Brian with the 2010 Van Dyke’s Award during the awards banquet at the National Taxidermists Association convention. Brian had an enormous impact on the taxidermy industry and will be remembered for years to come as an innovator, artist, and visionary.