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Rogue Taxidermy?

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by UnzippedZebra, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. So for my Art and Society class I have to do presentation and a paper on some variety of art. I chose to do rogue taxidermy since I find it rather interesting, and I figured it would be something a little different to what everyone else is doing.

    :D What I'm hoping to do here is stimulate a bit of discussion; I want to know what you, as varying level of taxidermists, think of 'rogue' taxidermy. Feel free to disagree, rant and rave, argue with one another or whatever you please. All I ask for is an of opinion of some form.

    According to wikipedia rogue taxidermy "is the creation of stuffed animals which do not have real, live counterparts... The term "Rogue Taxidermy" was introduced by the Minneapolis, MN based group, The Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists (or M.A.R.T.)[1] in October 2004. It was first coined by M.A.R.T. founders Sarina Brewer, Scott Bibus, and Robert Marbury. The term first appeared in print in a New York Times article about the group's debut exhibition on January 3, 2005. [2] Since that time its definition has become more general, referring to many types of taxidermy that do not fall under the trade of it."

    I'm going with the latter definition. But I'm curious as to how you define it as well.

    Now for some of the actual rogue taxidermy.

    http://www.troyabbott.com/EnriqueGomezDeMolina.html Enrique Gomez DeMolina. He works with the more 'traditional' sense of rogue taxidermy, making fantastical and in some cases whimsical creatures.

    http://www.angelasinger.com/ Angela Singer. She takes old mounts and well... I'll just copy a small bit from a writing about her (these can be viewed on her site via 'writings') "Some artists, like Angela Singer, deliberately use taxidermy to open up wounds and exhibit the damage done to animals in effecting their apparent rescue from time."

    http://www.idiots.nl/ "The artistic partnership of Afke Golsteijn and Floris Bakker, who collectively are better known as Idiots, present us with a unique body of work, characterized by the use of animal material exquisitely sculpted into natural positions and combined seamlessly with rich materials such as embroidery and pearls. "

    http://pollymorgan.co.uk/ Polly Morgan, whose website I unfortunately cannot view due to the computers in my dorm lobby being absolutely terrble.

    http://zhon.deviantart.com/ Ashlee, who does regular taxidermy work and the occasional costume.

    http://crappytaxidermy.com/ is a good place to see a bunch of the stuff. As the name suggests.. Some of it is really terrible taxidermy. Some is rouge. It's really a big mishmash of taxidermy stuff that's pretty neat.

    These are just a few. There are many more, creating what they do for a plethora of reasons. So, I ask you:

    How do you define these body of works?
    How do they make you feel as a taxidermist?
    Do you think they impact taxidermy negatively ?
    Do they disrespect yourself (as a taxidermist) or the animal?
    Are these all that different from the raccoons in novelty shops doing various silly things?

    Have you ever done any 'rogue' taxidermy yourself?
    Do you consider taxidermy to be an art or a craft?

    Annd that's all I can think of at the moment. Feel free to say anything that's on your mind about it. It'll help a lot with my paper/presentation.

  2. D.Price

    D.Price Well-Known Member

    I think it is all in poor taste myself. Not very respectful to the animals in my opinion.

  3. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    I thought the first and third peices were done well. The others seemed to me, amateurish. Just my take on it. IMO these types of conglomerate works are about like a fish rug. Thanks for sharing though, they were certainly worth peeking at.
  4. *

    * Liberalism IS A MENTAL ILLNESS !

  5. A- Fish

    A- Fish Stehling's Taxidermy

    I'm not a big fan of the genre, but I do like the first pic.

    A good share of taxidermy that's supposed to be " normal" could be classified as rogue.
  6. My feelings on the subject go both ways. I think to tastefully do a rogue taxidermy piece the artist has to be very skilled. They have to be very good at the actual taxidermy work and understand the anatomy of the different animals, but also have a great understanding of design and how shape and color play into design and perception.

    It is hard to explain, but I think I draw my line by trying to determine if there was skill, thought and effort put into the piece. If these aspects appear to be there in a rogue piece then I would put that right in with good traditional taxidermy work, novelties and quality fur clothing and things like pillows. If the effort isn't there though then I would group it with the others that do not appear to have any effort put into them.

    Like Bill I also think your first and third pictures are of pieces that were well done. I'm not quite sure if I like the third one though. It seems to be well done, but gives me the idea of the lion's guts spread out behind it.
  7. I never seen a few of those pieces, except the last one. :) The fox creeps me out a bit with the face though but understandable since its an old mount.

    I've done around two rogue taxidermy mounts, a hellhound and a zombie weasel... thing that I made of of scrap fur and such. I'm actually going to be making a dragon shoulder mount within the next few months out of scraps and feather and such. I had a left over fox shoulder form and decided to make use of it instead of tossing it. I've also have other mounts planned, but due to cost and such, a lot of them will have to wait a few years to do.

    I consider it an art because of the sculpture aspect of it, depending on what the mount. It does take a lot of planning to tackle a rogue taxidermy mount I do have to say, I know when I did the hellhound (which original was going to be a sculpture) that I had it planned well over a year before I tackled such a project. Usually I try to make my stuff out of craft grade pelts, feather and scraps seeing as then its not going to go to waste somewhere. also its very cool to see what people can come up with. I know a lot of it is mythical creature that they do and man, some of them you can believe that the animal might have exist.

    But I will say that some rogue mounts are done badly, like a two headed calves or Siamese ducklings for example.

    This mount I really like a lot since it using many different animals in it.

    And here's a bad example of rogue taxidermy

    That's my two cents on it.
  8. I'm not a real fan of this genre but as with any type of art...it has it's place and if done tastefully it's OK.

    Some of the pieces I have seen are definitely interesting and get you to thinking. So I guess if it is presented well, not in bad taste and stimulates the mind I'm OK with it.

    It isn't something I am interested in doing but remember...there are those out there that consider the very best that we create as artists... grotesque or inappropriate. So before we cast stones at these folks let us be mindful of that.
  9. trappersteph

    trappersteph now you can have it...

    I've gotten tired of wasting some of the spare bits. Such as the late season raccoon with a rub in the middle of the back, making it completely worthless for the fur market. I was only trapping late season since we had a warm up and the coons came back out from a long spell of denning. I wanted to thin them out as much as possible for my host landowners who had some problems with raccoons last spring and summer.

    So I am looking at this fur market worthless raccoon and I start thinking of the hoax creatures and cryptyzoology stuff. At first I want to do a Montauk Monster, but I got going shearing the fur and leaving the soft undercoat and a strip of full fur on the back of the neck and a tuft at the end of the tail. Now I am leaning towards a chupacabra. I haven't completed it yet, but I guess it's better than tossing it, and I can probably sell the mount for more than an actual convenetional raccoon mount. I will of course put my years of study and skill into it, I can mount a proper raccoon LOL.

    I think "rogue" is fine if the taxidermy is quality work. That is, the artist is not only a "wacky silly" artist, but a good taxidermist.

    My other project to do is a were-coyote using eastern coyote parts/pelts. It will look nasty and "authentic", not like some hokey fursuit type thing with bambi eyes and a black colored clown nose LOL.

    I am an artist first, a taxidermist 2nd. But they can meld together much better now than 16 years ago when I was a beginner.
  10. If your up in my old stomping grounds "The Boro", you best be a zipped zebra considering the crazy weather LOL

    How do you define these body of works?
    Not sure, but but they do not fit the definition of "rogue", eccentric yes, but rogue no.

    How do they make you feel as a taxidermist?Though I have been a fan of artisitic surrealism (Salvadore Dali for example) the works I see here really do not catch me the way other surreal art might. I agree with Dennis that there is artistic value there, but it is lacking something that I cannot put my finger on.

    Do you think they impact taxidermy negatively ?

    Not directly, but unfortunately there are too many people in the world who wear blinders and cannot segregate the recreation of God's beautiful creatures and the expressed ideas of an artist utilizing a different medium for expression.

    Do they disrespect yourself (as a taxidermist) or the animal?
    Yes and No because people do not take the time to understand the difference. This form of work can cast a poor light on the trade but if a customer asked me about it I would gladly explain the difference between the two. As for respect of the animal, it is all in your personal beliefs, I care alot about the birds and animals I work on and have the utmost respect for God's handiwork but for some it runs even deeper. D Price has demonstrated that to you already. He, and many others are even more passionate about their work and it reflects in his comments.

    Are these all that different from the raccoons in novelty shops doing various silly things?
    I would have to say yes. If I recall the animals you are talking about, they are not unlike the squirrels playing sports. The raccoons and squirrels go along with Victorian style taxidermy with a modern flair. The pieces you have shown do not fit that in my opinion as they do not maintain the animal in its actual form.

    Have you ever done any 'rogue' taxidermy yourself?

    Do you consider taxidermy to be an art or a craft?The answer to that is Yes. It is both. (it has been debated here many times) The individual who works in the taxidermy trade must possess the ability to - envision the project they are working on, use basic construction skills to build a base or at least understand basic contruction concepts when they put the animal on a base. Use the same construction principles along with a basic anatomical understanding for modifying forms for proper body shape and proportion, use the same understanding of anatomy to mount the piece ensuring that the skin is aligned as it should be on the form and have the artistic ability to properly finish paint the piece. It is a combination of all those traits.

    Art in and of itself is typically an individuals expression of what they percieve or feel. Taxidermy is the preserving of God's creatures for people to enjoy after their intended life. You use artistic talent to give a mounted animal its second life. I believe that the pieces you show have artistic merit but also demonstrate that even though a piece is well done, (first pic for ref) but it goes against basic artistic attributes used in taxidermy, being proportion and balance. Basically speaking - If it looks wrong it usually is.

    Good luck with your paper. Post your paper here when it is complete, I and I am sure others, would like to see how you interpreted and presented the information you got from us. ;)
    Send me a Wildwoods pizza or calzone would ya?? :D LOL I miss that joint!
  11. Of course, depending on who you talk to, taxidermy in and of itself is disrespectful to animals.

    Oh definitely. Some artists really work on getting that animal to look as lifelike as possible, just as most taxidermists, I think. ...Then there are the artists that just work with the idea that the idea is 'more important than the execution' which is just... Ugh. But I guess the end result isn't always so bad.

    Haha, I definitely agree! The first time I saw your pieces, I immediately thought: Now that is art. The gesture. The movement. The beauty. I see animals captured in a moment, not just pelts on some foam.

    I like that term, "Imaginative Lifeforms." It makes me wonder if perhaps we'll see the terms branch out more and become more defined. Let's see, "rogue" was only coined in what, 2006? I'm rather interested to see how the art forms and terms progress.

    I'm glad someone who has done some rouge stuff commented! :D And I hope that dragon goes well for you (I just sold you the snake skins).

    That's the one thing I wonder about. How do some of these artists get the money for some of these pelts? Or, if they're doing particularly controversial art, who sells it to them?

    ...And oh man, that tanuki.

    For sure. Some don't always stimulate my mind, but man, some of them just make my jaw drop from the awesomeness.

    It's rather interesting; I'm not sure what I've seen more of. Taxidermist turning their noses to rogue taxidermy or little wolfaboos throwing a list of questions: "Was it road kill!?" "Did you kill it just for the fur!?" etc, etc. Heh.

    Annd I'll respond to the others tomorrow.

    Thanks for the answers! :D
  12. I feel that if a customer wants to pay me for a furry fish mount, then he will get a furry fish. End of story.
  13. Same here! It's weird, but cool at the same time. Just as in any art form, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some I've seen are stunning...others, well, not so much. They look like a mount gone bad the artist decided to try to salvage. Enrique's work is absolutely gorgeous to me. Didn't care for Singer's, though.
  14. Kyle Lakey

    Kyle Lakey Active Member

    I agree with dennis and bill. You can tell the first and 3rd were done by a skilled professional not just by the mount but by the time photography as well. The lion deff looks like it could have a take on a competition piece if it were design a lil different. Things done in a clean life like looking result always looks great even if it isnt a real life creature. Kind of like how artists for movies can make a human look like some ungodly creature but make it so lifelike and interesting with graphics and makeup. The best one that come to my mind is schmeegle from lord of the rings (i think that lil dude is awesome!! haha) and things like avatar. Anything done in good taste and professionally deserves kudos. Oh another one that comes to my mind but can't think of what they are called was those human/piglike creatures that a group of artists were making. They were creepy but fasinating and pretty cool I thought because they looked so real and lifelike.
  15. Kyle Lakey

    Kyle Lakey Active Member

    These things. Incredibly weird and creepy but really neat at the same time and is hard to not stare at them and annalize eahc and every part of them and its realness. I could stare at this first pic for a long time and still be blown away by every detail, wrinkle and hair. There is more of these ubt i cant find them,


  16. maxart

    maxart Member

    That thing is a trip!!!! I'd like to see it in person.
  17. SteveP

    SteveP New Member

    Is it art?
    Yes, it's art I don't like. I like art that represents a reality. I think that someone in the past has produced "art" by smearing their feces on canvas. I don't like that art either.
    Is it taxidermy?
    No, while you are moving skins, you are not making a direct representation of the animal it came from. This is a generally, internationally accepted description of taxidermy. I would make a closer comparison to fly tying, where as you are taking parts of animals and making something completely different, but as an artistic expression.

    I liked jack-alopes when I was eight. I guess the novelty wore off, or I grew out of it. In 1978 our cat chewed the head off a sharptail I had just mounted for my uncle. I didn't have another, and some of it was missing (probably ended up in the litter box), so I attached a rooster pheasant head to it, complete with the white ring. Unfortunately, 33 years later, he still has it. :-[ I think he gets a kick out of rubbing my nose in it (figuratively, of course).

    I would suggest that before you write on "rogue taxidermy", you study the history of taxidermy. This may give you some insight as to the difference.

    This is just one more reason that I don't consider the twin cities part of Minnesota. ::)
  18. backcountrychad

    backcountrychad Active Member

    Not for me, but to each his own.
  19. Lupen

    Lupen New Member

    As other people have said; I like it if it's done nicely, and looks like it could possibly be real. But mounts like this , this , or this... I.. I just can't bring myself to respect or even tolerate them. They disrespect the animal by dressing them up in clothes, or making them stand in some weird pose. Not only is it disrespectful but they're just so poorly done it's ridiculous.
  20. This is the strangest, yet most creative thing I've ever seen! I'm in awe. I wish I had half the imagination as the creator of this piece does.