1. Welcome to Taxidermy.net, Guest!
    We have put together a brief tutorial to help you with the site, click here to access it.

Academy of Realistic Taxidermy

Discussion in 'Training' started by DDCalls, Sep 5, 2009.

  1. DDCalls

    DDCalls New Member

    154
    0
    Looking for feedback from recent attendees! I understand he is doing all of the training himself now so would love to hear if it is still an excellent experience. Someone left feedback from back in 2007 stating they were charged for a bunch of extra stuff. Anyone else have this experience? My VA benefits (disability) finally said yes so I want to ensure I pick the right school. I want to learn more of the artistic side instead of the commercial side.

    Thanks in advance

    David
     
  2. burtron05

    burtron05 There are no stupid questions, only stupid people.

    47
    0
    Texas
    I attended the July/Sept class in 2008, and I believe it was the 2nd class that he actually taught himself. Steve is a great guy and great instructor. There were only 2 of us in class so we had all day 1 on 1 instruction. He stayed in the classroom with us sometimes 12-14 hrs a day. (Theres not a whole lot else to do in that area youll find) The classroom building was open 24 hrs which was helpful, especially if you cant sleep. Steve is what I would call an "expert" at fish taxidermy(he has won both national and world show awards), and as for birds, shoulder mounts and life size, habitat, etc, his teaching and technique was spot on. I felt like I got my money's worth and I had a great time. Theres lots of bird hunting and fishing there, its just a 40 min drive away. I compare my exp. with ones you read on this site from other students from other schools and I would have to say that A.R.T is one of the best out there. I highly recommend Steve and his school for anyone looking for a more personal learning experience, compared to other schools where they throw 20 -30 ppl in a class and show them how to do it and then say "ok, go to your desk and get started" and then they never give you individual help. If you have any specific questions Im more than happy to answer them.

    Burton Speckman
    Speckman Hunting, Outdoor and Taxidermy Services (SHOTS)
    Caldwell, Tx
    210-313-2893
     

  3. triplettmike

    triplettmike New Member

    1
    0
    I just returned from the school last week. I attended the 8 week class from July 6 - Aug 28th. 2009. There are no hidden cost and I think it has to be the best school in the U.S. Steve is great and its all hands on. No watching a DVD and trying to go from there and figure it out. Steve does it all. We had a diff. instructor for gameheads and he was great. Steve and his whole family treat you like their family. The school is open 24 hrs a day and you can work on your projects anytime day or night. Your housing is included in the cost and that could be costly at another school. Hope this helps. Mike
     
  4. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    You need to look around before you enroll in any "school". Bill Dishman runs what seems to be a top-notch operation and he's a member here. John Griffith (Big John) is another. I'm just a grouch anyway, but I find it amusing that people endorsing some venture only have 1 or 2 posts on here (you know, almost like they opened a ghost account to endorse a product).
     
  5. Ask if they will be there for help after you leave!!!

    One recent grad from a school that post her has called me a hundred times and learned pretty much he got screwed. two gameheads, two small lifesize two birds just is not enough to teach you much.

    Recent grads have not been in the business long enough to know if what they learn is good or not. I advise you to find a real school and learn a skill you can depend on and pickup taxidermy as a hobby by joining your state assoc.
     
  6. Your right, now that I look back the school that I went to i wouldn't go to now, i wasted lots of cash.
     
  7. burtron05

    burtron05 There are no stupid questions, only stupid people.

    47
    0
    Texas
    I might only have a few posts under my belt, but I would still recommend Steve's school to anyone interested. Im only a year out but I would go back in a heart beat. Between the school, Steve, his family, the fishing and the mischief, it was the time of my life.
     
  8. OK, George, as someone with more than a couple of posts under their belt, I will put in my "plug" here. I have been to Steve's home/facility twice although not for training purposes. (The antelope hunting there is AWESOME!) The school is very impressive: there is a classroom/workroom with large stations for each student and a large conference-type table in the center for any type of reading, study of anatomy, reference, etc; there is a supply room that lacks for NOTHING - it has everything you need - kind of looks like a supply house/hardware store combined; there is a reference room that looks like our public library; there are 2 (maybe 3 - I'm not sure cause I have a mental block against painting and my brain shuts down when I have to think about it!) paint booths; there is a storage room, another work room that is also set up to take quality pictures of mounts; and of course, a showroom with many varieties of quality mounts. There are two "dorms" which are actually houses with 3 bedrooms, living area, 2 bathrooms, kitchen and laundry in each. And you are part of the family when you are there. Kim is a sweet gal, not to mention a good cook and I cannot say enough about their 2 daughters, who are 2 of the most well-mannered, mature teenagers I've ever been around.

    Myself, I have done some teaching, mostly for taxidermists who just want to hone their skills on turkeys or mammals. I have had a few that were total beginners, and I can say from experience that it just doesn't work for a beginner unless you have the total package like Steve's facility, and are willing to spend 8 -10 weeks, 5 or 6 days a week, 10-12 hours a day, to learn your new trade. The beginners I have had in my shop were more in a "lesson" mode, thinking that they could take a few lessons and go out and conquer the world. I learned pretty quickly that I don't want any of those folks saying "Jan George taught me". The one long-term student I had/still have learned by doing nothing but fleshing deer hides over and over, then gradually doing bits and pieces of mounts and then on into doing his own, but all of this took place over a couple of years. He basically works for me for free in exchange for learning and experience. He is an invaluable help for me and his deer heads are dead on.

    My point is that anyone wanting to learn taxidermy needs to go to a quality school such as Steve's, and not try to take a few lessons. Another great thing about his school is that the doors are open 24 hours a day. Everything is available that a student would need and I would highly recommend the Academy of Realistic Taxidermy to anyone.
     
  9. burtron05

    burtron05 There are no stupid questions, only stupid people.

    47
    0
    Texas
    George, the person that originated this post simply asked for opinions about the school, from former students. And thats what we gave him. Noone asked for an old humbug's opinion. If anyone sounds like theyre "plugging" schools, its you. I know you have lots of advice and wisdom to share here, and a lot of the time you ARE right and you ARE very helpful. Ive read your posts and you have a lot of light to shed on the topics. ( I dont want to take away from what you do, who you are and what you have done for taxidernists) But from a "newbie's" opinion you come off as an A$$. Just my opinion. I know you mean well, but, come on...be nice. be happy on a post for once.( I know Im gonna catch hell for this post, but Im just being honest)
     
  10. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    You'd never catch hell for being honest, but honesty doesn't stop when it comes to opinions either. In today's world of gasoline asses and instant gratification, someone see's Dennis Harris' WTC piece and decides "I'm gonna go to school and do one of those without paying guys like him to do it for me." In 50 years, I've seen hundreds with just that attitude. I don't know of a single school that's going to do that for anyone. In fact, I don't know a single school out there who'll come even CLOSE to teaching the methods Dennis uses (unless Dennis teaches it). Schools teach the methods of individual instructors. Artistic people use that as a foundation to build their own methods while people with less talent use it as rote and never get to or exceed that standard. That's why I discourage "beginners" to ask for endorsements about "schools". Who the hell is going to give them an HONEST endorsement of the long term advantages of a school? Seeing that about 95% of practicing taxidermists don't have such "formal education", there must HONESTLY be effective alternatives. I know the J.W. Ellwood course didn't make me a taxidermist (though at the time I crowed about it). If you have disposable cash and you think schools are going to make you a taxidermist, then who am I to spoil a dream. HOWEVER, I'd still encourage you to think long and hard about your talent, your desire, and your ability before investing large sums of money based on the hearsay of fresh graduates.