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competing with fish(replicas)

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by Joey Arender, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. dougp

    dougp Active Member

    I'm on board with Jim Tucker on this one......the original is always more valuable than a copy. ;)

    Cole, with all due respect, reworking a replica blank to correct improper anatomy is not a taxidermy skill. Sculptors do the same thing working from a crude armature. Would you consider that taxidermy?

    I think not.... ;D Could it be wildlife art as Rich suggests....of course!! ;D It's just NOT taxidermy.

    Even the great Leon Pray reffered to the fish replicas he made for the Field Museum in Chicago as "models".

  2. dougp

    dougp Active Member

    JE...good point!

    But I believe words have meaning and definition.


  3. Harum

    Harum Active Member

    It is well known that you like to stir the pot but attempting to separate two of the top wildlife artist, on this site, for your enjoyment or to push your preference of skin mounts over replicas is a bit over the line. Well, at least as far as I'm concerned. It is not hard to find faults in both processes. Here's a question, if a person is so bent on being a purist why then do they let somebody else make their eyes?

    To each their own I suppose but I have found more personal satisfaction from an award then I ever did selling my fish for $70 an inch. Just sayin ;)

    In response to the original topic:
    I don't give much thought into what my competition is doing. If the rules give them the opportunity to use a replica made by somebody else, so be it. If you find it troubling then it would be best to take it up with the individuals responsible for enforcing the rules of the show in question. You have a valid point that should be addressed.
    In regards to competition, I do believe that if you are not willing to blend what ever methods available to you in order to create the most realistic mount as possible then you will be left behind.

  4. Perca

    Perca Well-Known Member

    Harum; Stirring the pot and stimulating conversation are different views of the same thing...eh? I enjoy learning from hearing what others have to say. To suggest than any two of who you think are great wildlife artists on this forum would pay any attention at all to what a nobody like me posts is flattering. Thanks! I see different skills required to do a skin mount than a replica. To refer to me as as purist is also flattering. Thank you! Actually the fish I do are ebay quality. Nuff said? I've never made a replica but if I could , I would consider being called a model maker a good natured ribbing. If you've got a line you think I've crossed when it comes to my preference for skin mounts, so be it. Your line can be crossed in either direction...or straddled. I move around a lot. ;D
  5. Harum

    Harum Active Member

    Your response is pretty crafty Perca but what I felt was crossing the line (a figure of speech) is setting up the scenario to have people pick sides between two individuals that I respect. As far as the purist comment, I figured you had read the whole post and saw where the all skin mount with the exception of the eyes scenario came up. I simply wanted to point out that if a person was so bent on only creating a skin mount with no artificial parts, why stop at the eyes. You see, that is some what of a conundrum to me...

  6. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    Perhaps you would like to enlighten me on just what a "taxidermy skill" is then. When I think fish taxidermy I think of all of the skill sets I named earlier. How about Dave
    Campbell's world champion reproduction tarpon? Did that require any "taxidermy skills"? If I remember right, he molded a skin mount. He's not the only one to do this either, a certain someone in this thread has been somewhat successful doing the same thing with coldwater fish. ;)
  7. dougp

    dougp Active Member

    Cole, I mentioned earlier that I believe fish taxidermy skills consist of being able to skin, flesh, mount, sculpt and finally paint a fish using the original skin.

    I think a definition of "fish taxidermist" would necessarily include a person having those skills. A fish taxidermist can certainly have many other skills along with those mentioned.

    IMHO however, a person who does NOT HAVE those basic skills is not a taxidermist. He can certainly be called a "wildlife artist".

    A fish taxidermist can also produce "wildlife art" that is NOT taxidermy, such as; flat art,clay/bronze sculpture, or wood carving. This only ADDS greatly to his credentials, since many taxidermists never reach the level of "wildlife artist" IMHO.

    If you may recall, a great artist by the name of Bill Munns created many "models" or "recreations" or "replicas" of many different animals from reptiles and dinosaurs to Japanese snow monkeys. His work was featured in BREAKTHROUGH many times in years past.

    He did these using all artificial materials and molding and casting things such as tree bark to get press molds for texturing fleshy areas. He used nothing from the original animal in any way. His work is incredible. I don't believe that his work in that medium can or should be called taxidermy.

    I guess I can sum up my thought on this by saying that a fish replica or reproduction CAN be produced by a taxidermist. That replica however is NOT fish taxidermy, IMO.

    A wildlife artist CAN produce that same replica but without the skills I mentioned earlier, I don't think he can be called a "taxidermist." ;D ;)

  8. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    So you are saying that sculpting and painting are in fact "taxidermy skills", but only if it is done over some skin? I suppose that's where we differ. in 2009 Wendy Senk won the World Taxidermy Championships with a recreation. She didn't move any skin, yet still won a taxidermy competition.
  9. JE

    JE Well-Known Member

    What was the original question again ? LOL.
    Well, I am not very good at putting the thoughts in my head into words on "paper" , but here goes ,
    Dougp everything you said makes sense, and I think I agree , but to try and disassociate "wild life model makers" from under the wing of taxidermy is wrong IMO. I think a lot, if not all, people that do replicas would have had a go at doing skin mounts, or indeed do skin mounts along side their replicas. I would like to know if anyone on taxi net that does only replica fish ( or reptiles ) , has never tried a skin mount ?
    Modern taxidermy has attracted many different artists, and incorporated many art forms and media , from skinning, to model making to painting. We should be, and are at the moment under one roof, and I for one hope it stays that way[/b].
    One can buy a form, eyes, ear liners, nose, antlers , the skin and even the display to "mount" a deer , is this taxidermy ?? or do you have to skin the deer etc etc ? This line of discussion is pretty much endless with so many variables I doubt it would ever be concluded.
    As for competing, I have never done so , but I would like to in the future. If I was to compete at the highest level ( not even sure what that is !) It would not bother me if someone was using a bought blank , having bought blanks myself, I have never had one that was ready to paint. There is so much more to a finished piece of work than just the original blank.
    And although I personally think replicas and skin mounts should be judged on their own merits in separate classes, It would not concern me at all if the were judged together , after all , are we not all striving for the same goal, a finished piece to be proud of that actually looks like the "real" thing.
  10. M.T.

    M.T. Active Member

    All I was saying was that buying a fish replica and finishing it was not taxidermy. Anyone with a little bit of artistic ability and a good eye can do it. Some much better than others. Yes, a fish taxidermist has an advantage over most anyone else but not neccesarily over everyone. A great flat artist that does fish illistrations no doubt could finish a replica very nicely. A bird taxidermist could do three recreation eagles sitting on a recreated rock ledge, but that isn't taxidermy. All you need is an artificial head and beak, artificial feet, some chicken feathers, DOMESTIC goose feathers, turkey feathers, and some eyes. Anyone with some knowledge of birds could do it, but a taxidermist may be better qualified for the job. But that doesn't make it taxidermy. Sorry Patrick!
  11. dougp

    dougp Active Member

    Cole...we are not connecting here.

    Of course sculpting and painting are taxidermy skills, I said that a couple of times already. BUT, IF it is done on an artificial recreation or replica or reproduction or whatever.....it is not taxidermy.

    That doesn't mean that the person performing the work is not a taxidermist. It means simply, THAT particular piece is not taxidermy.

    Did Wendy compete in the lifesize mammal category with lifesize skin mounts? ??? ;D

    Actually no she didn't. Wendy won Best in World RE-CREATION....."re-creation"....

    Best in the World Large Mammal was won by Ashley Barrett.............they did not compete against each other 'cause Ashley was doing TAXIDERMY. ;D

    Wendy was doing a RE-CREATION.....which is NOT taxidermy......even though Wendy is a very gifted taxidermist.

  12. dougp

    dougp Active Member

    JE....I'm glad you think what I said makes sense..... ;D....I'm also glad you think you agree. LOL!

    Let me try this.....a person can certainly be a "wildlife artist" without being a taxidermist.

    He can also be a taxidermist without being an "artist".

    However.....he cannot be doing taxidermy by painting on canvas, nor can he be doing taxidermy by sculpting in clay alone or molding & casting the sculpture and painting that.

    What we have above is, in order; flat art painting [an art but not taxidermy], sculpture [also an art but not taxidermy], molding & casting [also an art but NOT in itself the performance of taxidermy]

    So even though these all may be used in the "art of taxidermy" by a taxidermist, they are NOT by themselves the performance of taxidermy.

    What's missing to make any of the above the actual practice of taxidermy??

  13. Kerby Ross

    Kerby Ross KSU - Class of '83; U.S. Army - Infantry (83-92)


    So if a guy wants a reproduction fish done, who does he look for in the phone book/internet?

    Does he look up a wildlife artist?

    Does he look up a model maker?

    Does he look up a finger painter?

    Does he look up a sculpter?

    Does he look up a taxidermist?


  14. psycho

    psycho 2011 WORLD CHAMPIONS!

    Kerby, I vote non of the above after all EVERYONE or ANYONE can just throw a dumb model together. ;D
  15. dougp

    dougp Active Member

    My apologies to Joey Arender for helping to take his thread in a different direction than the original question.

    I'm sorry for helping to hijack your thread Joey.

    I would be happy to discuss this in a new thread, however. ;D

    I didn't realize this was such a difficult concept to grasp. ???

    Seems pretty basic to me :(

  16. dougp

    dougp Active Member

    Joey...just one more point if you don't mind.

    So Kerby, I have a talented friend who is a taxidermist. He also does fish sculpture.

    If he completes a sculpture for a customer is that also known as a piece of "taxidermy" since he is a taxidermist?

    On the flipside, I have another friend who does flat art. Most of his art is landscapes. He's never done taxidermy. If he paints a picture of a fish does THAT make him a taxidermist?

    Why don't skin mounts and relicas compete in the same category in competitions?

  17. JE

    JE Well-Known Member

    Those of you that think that replicas are not taxidermy, do you think that they should not even come under the wing of taxidermy, and therefore not be associated with taxidermy at shows etc ? So no replicas, no sculptures at any taxidermy shows.
    Dougp, I do agree that replicas are not "traditional" taxidermy, but my point is that taxidermy has now changed so much that it is difficult to know what is and what is not taxidermy. And I think that the meaning of the word "taxidermy" and "taxidermist" as we now know it has changed since the word was first used.
    Can someone answer my question?
    "One can buy a form, eyes, ear liners, nose, antlers , the skin and even the display to "mount" a deer , is this taxidermy ?? or do you have to skin the deer etc etc "
    Maybe it should be a separate thread ? it is proving very popular LOL
  18. dougp

    dougp Active Member

    Wellll JE, since you asked... ;D, I'll take a shot at your question.

    I think that replicas or sculpture or painting should not come under the "wing" of taxidermy, as you say.

    They all should be under the umbrella of "Wildlife Art" as Rich Benedict so wisely suggested.

    They are all different even though interconnected.

    You say that "taxidermy has changed so much that it is difficult to know what is and what is not taxidermy".

    Good point!! This is exactly why the meaning of taxidermy needs a clear definition. The meaning hasn't changed. It is the broadening of the original definition into areas which don't fit the definition that cause the problems.

    I'm sorry for my inability to convey this concept more effectively. Seems pretty simple to me.

  19. There are a lot of things we do that is not traditional taxidermy. reproducing gins and heads for skin mounts is not traditional. Using a fleshing machine on a cape is not, using a tannery is not traditional. Using an airbrush and lacquer or water based paints, even base based acrylics. So simply where do you draw the line??

    If you went back using a store bought artist oil paint is not traditional. Maybe we should grind our own pigments and cook our own shellac?
  20. Kerby Ross

    Kerby Ross KSU - Class of '83; U.S. Army - Infantry (83-92)

    In Arizona.........

    In Arizona you need a taxidermy license ($150) from AZ G&F if you do taxidermy (receive and work on a specimen). If you take in a fish, you need the license, it is irrelevant if you do a skin mount or a reproduction of that fish.

    If the replica was molded from a real fish then it is taxidermy, if a deer nose was molded from a real deer, then it is taxidermy, if a duck head was molded from a real duck head, then it is taxidermy.

    So I guess all the saltwater fish hanging on the walls aren't taxidermy.............................

    Scluptors and model makers don't use real specimens for their final product, taxidermist do. Someone, more than likely a taxidermist as compared to an artist, scluptor or model maker, molded a fish to produce that replica. So it is still taxidermy.

    **Why don't skin mounts and relicas compete in the same category in competitions?**

    They do in quite a few state shows.

    99.99% of the public if polled would say it is taxidermy. Most taxidermists would say it is taxidermy. AND I BET if you asked Sarah Palin, she would say it is taxidermy. ;D

    So there!