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Looking ahead

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by catman, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. Skywalker

    Skywalker Well-Known Member

    It's so cool that you joined in Joe! One of my favourite strategies that I have seen in play more than once is "it has to win"! Or winning by TKO. Sometimes a piece stands out so much that not picking it would put a judges very reputation on the line. I love those works of art. Phil did one of those very pieces at the Spokane nationals back in the day. But these days presentation has become so superior that it is very difficult to make a piece stand out like that, but Lowell managed it at the last WTC! I guess he proved that some shoot crap a little more consistently than others. Either way, It's definitely win win for folks who like to look at a lot of beautiful work.
     
  2. Carolin Brak-Dolny

    Carolin Brak-Dolny Active Member

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    We are all getting pretty darn good at taxidermy. Just fractions of points separate us.

    What I think Joe is saying is, it is time to get past that and to ask yourself does my mount really depict true animal behaviour or represent how a particular animal moves? We get caught up in trying to impress the judge and fellow competitors, maybe we should stop and think a bit.


    Does that particular animal really fight like that?
    Does it jump in that particular manner?
    When it climbs how do the legs/feet hold on or brace the body against the tree?
    When it is in pursuit of prey, how does that particular species take down an animal?
    Does the look on the face match its body actions?
    When an animal tries to evade an attacker does it rear up or dodge sideways?
    Can this really happen in nature?
    Does the anatomy of this mount match its actions?
    Why is this animal doing this?

    We are lucky we can watch many you tube videos and look at endless pictures on the net, so we have no excuses for lack of reference.

    Perhaps we should be studying not just anatomy but also the behaviour
     

  3. catman

    catman Active Member

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    The questions for me,go something like this. When you walk into the room, does it catch your eye? Does it beckon you closer,( this can be as subtle as a whisper or as loud as a yell). When you turn away, does it call you back, begging you to "look at me"? Does it make you wonder, how did they do that? Do you want to take it home and put in where your 60" flatscreen sits? When you go to bed you can't sleep because it invades your thoughts, you struggle with feelings of envy.
    To me there are two kinds of taxidermy, the aforementioned and all the rest.
     
  4. cwag

    cwag Member

    I have a hard time getting my competitive fires burning, but over the last few months I've been getting a few embers burning. This post has really starting to fan the flames! I love looking at extraordinary taxidermy work, hoping one day too put together a piece in that class! Hell I just want to beat Phil Soucy!!!
     
  5. catman

    catman Active Member

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    You can't make a name for yourself beating someone that peaked in 1995. You need to go after Jerry Wonderboy Huffdaddy or James "aint got no legs" Newport. Then you'd git famous.
     
  6. cwag

    cwag Member

    You started this post, you haven't peaked yet. Those two knuckle heads please, although James paraplegic pig & Jerry's goat where pretty sweet!
     
  7. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    catman, the answers to the questions you ask yourself, for me, is Danial Meng's leopard.
     
  8. catman

    catman Active Member

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    There you go. Overthinking it takes the fun out.
     
  9. Doylestudio

    Doylestudio Active Member

    This has been a great post thus far catman. Thank you... It is great to read comments from many friends and fellow competitors. I have been competing for a few years now, but only a few of the larger shows. I guess you could say I'm at that "burning flame" stage and it is all to consuming at times. Reading this thread so far has reminded me though, that winning or losing isn't everything. Although I do have a list of goals, some of which I've achieved and others I will keep trying, I've learned that learning, teaching, and friendship is the most important. Thanks for the extra push though! Can't wait to see everyone in Illinois.

    Mike
     
  10. catman

    catman Active Member

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    This is why it is so important to have a time and space to allow the creativity to flow from inside of us. My shop seems like beehive at times, so I built a little studio at my house. Not much over a hundred yards from the "hive", it is just a better place to be creative. Like giving a boy a bucket of legos and letting him alone, soon he is creating spaceships and fortresses. Or setting my mother loose in the kitchen on snowy December morning. The creative part of them naturally comes out. This is when we are fully alive using our gifts with passion and not easily distracted from that joy.
     
  11. oldboar

    oldboar Taxidermy...do the impossible:)

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    God bless Phil, well written...and timely.

    I've avoided competing due to self inflicted "never good enuf" syndrome. Stopped enjoying the process and end result all together.

    I think I'll have some fun, and let the work speak for itself...and do it for "me":)

    Thanks much!

    Jim
     
  12. catman

    catman Active Member

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    I am glad to here that Jim. I remember your bear so well and how one judge told you "they can't do that." I hurt for you because I remember the photo I saw of the live bear you were recreating. All I could think of was "Nailed it".
     
  13. oldboar

    oldboar Taxidermy...do the impossible:)

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    Thanks Phil,

    There were issues with the mount...I knew about all of them. LOL

    But, the bear was capable of the tongue extension yes.

    More to come...its not over, until I say it is:) LOL
    See you there:)

    Jim
     
  14. catman

    catman Active Member

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    So, I am still here, but Joe's thread is too frightening for me. One camp seems to be saying "keep it real" while the other says, we have outgrown reality. One thing to consider is the fact that perception is our reality. On top of that, there are many different levels of reality. Here's is a simple way to look at it. You decide to sculpt the human form for a competition. Will you use Brad Pitt or John Goodman for your model? Rosanne Barr or Jessica Alba. Really there should be no difference they are all real, right. I feel like adding the most attractive features to the finest specimen, in the most appealing pose with the most artistic presentation will give you the best chance to create the kind of mount that you wish you had done. Why do you think superheroes are drawn like they are. Not a lot of balding muffin topped super heroes out there.(don't tell me grandkids) There is still the whole subjectivity part of what is attractive. For models, symmetry is a big factor. Studies show that babies are drawn more to the faces of beautiful women, than plain looking women. Who decides that though. There is a formula, but it is still subjective. More on this later.
     
  15. Jerry Huffaker

    Jerry Huffaker Well-Known Member

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    I think I'll have some fun, and let the work speak for itself...and do it for "me":)

    I love this Jim great way to look at it, Keep it up and you'll always enjoy the journey and not end up angry and bitter about the whole process.
     
  16. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member

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    Yo Phil,
    Let me drift a bit on the subject matter. I think I'm still in the same church if not exactly your same pew.

    Artists are also carriers of our cultural heritage. It matters not be they sculptors, painters, authors, taxidermists, etc.
    Here's a few quotes from notables who left a lasting mark in art history. They are generalized quotes that will not tell one how to win an Akeley award, but are nonetheless applicable to understanding art theory and practice. A necessary background for producing great works of art. That includes taxidermy art.

    Only when a mount is depicted in great veracity does it have lasting beauty and value. As a fairly rigid discipline a taxidermist isn’t free to misrepresent facts or truths of natural history and expect to have his work appreciated, valued and preserved. To stir and maintain interest, a specimen of taxidermy must be nicely crafted and convince the viewer that he is looking at something right out of Creation itself. It must enable the viewer to suspend his disbelief that it’s really not the living animal.

    Dante Alighieri the great Italian poet, back in the early 1300s said, “Art, as far as it is able, follows nature, as a pupil imitates his master; thus your art must be, as it were, God’s grandchild.”

    Frank Lloyd Wright said, “…anything that is truly practical, functional and useful is beautiful - whether it be a sunset or some man-made object. When we perceive a thing to be beautiful, it is because we instinctively recognize its rightness.”

    John Keats the poet said, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty. That is all ye need to know.”
     
  17. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    Catman, you brought up "Subjectivity". We all have our own ideas of what is attractive to us. Those folks that mount the baby critters or ducks may not find large cats or other large mammals attractive. What gives anyone the right to tell them they are wrong or it doesn't fit someones perception of good taxidermy. I have voiced my dislike of the trend for so called "Rogue" taxidermy, such as giving animals human characteristics or actions. Is not our ultimate goal as taxidermist, to recreate any subject in it's lifelike form to the best of our abilities at the time. I have seen photos of your work and find them inspirational, but others may not feel the same.
     
  18. catman

    catman Active Member

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    Joe, I would be lying if I said i was tracking with you. I do bealieve that only beauty and affliction can pierce the human heart.
    3 bears, you are overthinking it. The only people you have to impress if you want to succeed in competitive taxidermy are the judges. It's just that simple.
    One peot that comes to mind that pretty much sums up the world show for me. "The hiway's jammed with broken heros on a last chance power drive".
    Springsteen
     
  19. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    OK catman, now I get it. I do have a tendency to overthink some things and under think others but, please forgive me I'm only human. ;)
     
  20. catman

    catman Active Member

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    Look, all I'm saying is you can have fun or try to play the pleasing the judge game. Once in a great while, you will have fun and impress a judge. Unless your name is Frank or Rodney, just enjoy the process. Who cares who you impress. If you nail it, you will know after the banquet.