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An Open Letter to Carl Akeley

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by Joe Kish, Jul 1, 2016.

  1. Why is there even an argument here? Isn't a an animal judged on the quality? And dragging Carl Akeley into a conversation to bash someone in front of his peers? To me it seems disrepectful. Who the hell knows what he may have thought about the pig. So why would a shoulder mount be acceptable? It's an animal cut in half with no legs or body? I'm still a new guy so I know my opinion doesn't go far at all I just can't see talking so badly about a piece that someone really took his time on and apparently nailed it according to the judges. I'm with Tim on this one. A guys thinks a little outside the box and not that far outside I'm and gets ridiculed for it.
  2. Jerry Huffaker

    Jerry Huffaker Well-Known Member

    Always interesting to here the different opinions and how emotional people get about a taxidermy contest.

  3. RTF

    RTF Active Member

    I love reading Joe's articles in Breakthrough and have just re-read for the third his article written on the Jonas Brothers. But I like that little piggy and think he did a hell of job. I guess I'm just the odd ball here as usual.
  4. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    Box? What box? Lol

    They even found a box for your woman ape person to fit in. The box builders will never be happy until they find a box to put everything in.

    I'm tellin ya. It's that stinkin box that causes all the problems.
  5. steamvalley

    steamvalley some cleaned and dipped skulls

    But what fun would it be if the box didn't exist?
  6. ryan rhodes

    ryan rhodes Active Member

    I have to laugh at the people who claim to know the perspective of a dead man... Based off of a book or 2 they read... Yeah, ok...
  7. NMJagdHunter

    NMJagdHunter Ted Wenner

    Its now been talked about for four pages, I'd call it a home run whether you hate it or love it! Personally I loved it. I don't see any other piece getting talked about . . .
  8. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    LOL Ryan. You might like to read Joe's book sometime. Neither Joe nor John Janelli ever spoke to him personally, but they certainly did know the guys who worked for him and the other famous guys that he surrounded himself with. Joe's been credited with inventing the concept of "competitions" and his "Taxidermy Review" was a staple of the Baby Boomer generations. I suppose he's about as good as it will get and his perceptions are no worse than Sandburg writing about Abraham Lincoln of Bill O'Reilly writing about John Kennedy, or perhaps Joel Osteen talking about Jesus.
  9. ryan rhodes

    ryan rhodes Active Member

    I don't care who's writing about who... No one could tell me what Carl Akeley would think if he walked through a present day world show besides him... He may hate it, he may love it. If some people are not happy with the way taxidermy is being portrayed through different mediums, designs or ideas, then stay home and keep your arrogant, narcissistic, semi-senile opinions to yourself. Problem solved.
  10. Is it not Mr. Kish that approached the TTAI about a new category? I think it is. Joe has a piece displayed in the supply room. I may have his paper somewhere.

    Ryan is correct no one can say what some old man named Ackley would think. On the other hand ( I know this will flame up someone) I still don't find the need to worship a deadman.There is a time of mourning if you know someone, or maybe even have a somewhat connection. But time to move on.

    Would Ackley like the acrylic dentures and mouth piece folks are making? No one knows, he might say, you could have sculpted that with mache and the real teeth. What would Ackley say about the glow in the dark eyes? Who again would have any idea?? No one that is certain.

    For several years there has been folk doing things a bit different, has someone done bird bills in denture materials? How about the legs? Well other than Lowell Shipley.

    So looking back over the years since 1977 or so I have seen things change, I see folks doing higher quality taxidermy day in and day out than most museums have in their displays.

    Thinking back is in not the Denver Museum that had or has the painting around the top that the Spanish Conquistadors have the wrong helmet for the time period. Was it not a six year old boy that noticed the mistake?

    Paintings like taxidermy can take you back to a place and time. Maybe show life. Maybe not!!

    Like Dale Robertson's Mt. lion rubbing a tree, to me that is still the most impressive piece of wildlife art I have ever seen, I dont care who judged it. But on the same token that what did they call that piece of crap with a hog head and metal body years back? I called that hog thing crap but other liked it.

    So one person dont like James pig with no legs. Its awesome well done tells me he knows his subject.
  11. Skywalker

    Skywalker Well-Known Member

    Thanks Tim, you almost made me spit soup! I think that both Carl Akeley and Robert Rockwell made it quite clear that their foray into Bronze sculpture was to be vindicated as true artists because recognition as taxidermists never considered them as such. It would sure be cool to have them both back for the World Show!
  12. Sonnyknight

    Sonnyknight Member

    Ok I am going to give this a try this is for all you liberal taxidermist. Yes maybe carl would like the new stuff but I think he would not. He was one of the coolest guys ever he was trampled by a elephant and rode on the tusks and he was attacked by a leopard and shoved his fist down its throat and suffocated it. So my point is he liked to mount animals in all their glory not a rat with a top hat or a half a pig do you guys even know what he is famous for making museum exhibits and doing real TAXIDERMY. some taxidermist did mount some stuff like alligators riding bikes and stuff like that and I have never heard of him doing any thing like that. any way we finally started to give taxidermy a good name and then people started to do weird stuff. I am not saying there is no art in that stuff all I am saying is can't we restore the name TAXIDERMY as putting a animal in all it's glory and lets give novelty '' taxidermy '' a different name.

  13. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member

    I know I said Saturday that I would let this post play out further before I responded. I wish to make this exception. I read a couple of posts that seem to go together at the right time with all the stars aligned just right.
    this message is to Katie, with the fine arts background.

    Take Amy under your wing and tutor her on what constitutes great works of art. She’s so full of creative energy that girl is about to burst all her seams. Open the door of fine art to her and give her a serious guided tour. Once you show her a few master works of wildlife art and you show her they’re the result of training, study and not simply imagination, she won’t have to stumble around unable to figure out precisely what it takes to win an Akeley award. She’s already well grounded in the methods and mechanics of taxidermy. With some professional guidance from you she’ll be able to stop staying up in bed at night trying to dream up an imaginative idea that will win an Akeley category. Once you show her the path through fine art you won’t have to repeat many lessons. That young woman is primed and ready. And you’ll have the wonderful pride of knowing you’re the woman behind the champion. Believe me it’s a good, good feeling!

    (With apoliogies to Amy.)
  14. Amy

    Amy Mammal artist

    I'm not going to take offense to what you've written, Mr. Kish, as I am always open to any and all advice - from anyone - on how I can improve my taxidermy further. And despite what you wrote it sounds like you think of me as a decent taxidermist. So Im going to keep my response respectful. Your first post was addressed to Carl yet meant for us all, and subsequently your last is addressed to Katie yet meant for me. I guess that's just your writing style, so I'll respond, as I'm a glutton for punishment. I guess I find myself a bit confused as to how Katie's response is much different than mine and why you singled me out. What I wrote was not any different than many of the responses here. I went back and re read Katie's response and it stated she appreciated all types of art, she liked the pig, and that taxidermy outside the box is acceptable to her as long as it is within the limits of behavioral accuracy. I dont see how that was much different from what I said. I dont have the "fine arts training" though. ??? Is it not ok to enjoy the pursuit of creating your next piece? I didn't say my "dreaming" was tiresome - it's part of the fun! With all due respect, I've had some excellent training and it has gotten me close, technically speaking, and a fine number of people's choice awards (not bragging on that, just humbled to have seen that my peers appreciate what I've done. Do we place higher value on the opinion of one, or the opinion of MANY?) But when it came down to the nitty gritty, it is more like CarolinBD suggested...its the luck of the draw with that judge and their opinion! You might be judging my piece, or James Newport might be judging it and would that not, possibly, change things up a bit? He might love how I incorporate minimalistic habitat and black polished bases, while I'm pretty sure you would hate it. They have three judges at the world show to help average out the opinions, but when one scoresheet is ten points lower than the other two, that average shifts a little! If there is some simple equation- something that we are all just missing the grasp on, that will be the ticket to winning those Akeley medals - I hope Katie or anyone else with the knowledge will share. I think we would all line up to hear.
    All in good fun, Mr Kish.. There's no need for us all to get riled up over a simple debate of opinions. It is easy for me to get my hackles out .. I'm not the only one.. But I think that was the intention of this discussion!
  15. R.J. Meyer II

    R.J. Meyer II Member

    Question for Joe. You are an incredible man and taxidermist from what I've seen. One day you will die as we all will. I think it is conceivable that someone would name an award after you. With you being dead and all, would it not be odd for others to decide what you would and would not like as the industry moves on and evolves many years after your death ?
  16. Allie

    Allie Member

    Write on, Joe! These are the kinds of threads that make this a great forum. Thank you.
  17. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member

    I think you and all of your many friends are anxious to know what I think of your current post, therefore I am posting this Exception #2.

    Actually Amy, my post was in fact to Katie – the first and only American associated with taxidermy I ever heard of who has a FINE ARTS background/degree – sorely lacking amongst taxidermists - and secondarily to you and others like you who have the makings of becoming masters in the art of taxidermy. I felt you needed someone with a qualified knowledge and solid background in fine art to mentor you a bit or at the least point the way to your next level of learning. Judging from her post Katie not only fits the bill but from your reputation she would likely catch some fire from you.
    I also singled you out because of your obvious love and passion for the art which I rarely see in a young person since I trained alongside the Forest Hart. I understand that the high quality of your work is widely known and your attitude toward it is a credit to your modesty. And judging from your posts you’re also educated, articulate and have a well above average intellect. Forget about winning competitions for now. They're all on your horizon patiently waiting for you to pluck them off when you want.
    I know I haven’t answered all your questions, but rather than belabor this post, let me just say that we all have a stake in your success as well. Young women (and men) like you give taxidermy a good name and that reflects on all of us.
    I look forward to watching you develop as you learn and progress. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day you become the heir to the reputation of the incomparable Jean Roll.

    My best wishes for your continued success.
    Sincerely yours,
  18. Amy

    Amy Mammal artist

    Thank you for that dignified response, Mr Kish. Sometimes I'm too quick to be defensive, and I took your post to Katie as sarcasm rather than friendly guidance. I realize I was wrong. I was raised to respect my elders regardless of differing opinions, and I hope I had not stepped over that boundary with my replies. If so, no disrespect was intended. Thank you for setting that straight and I appreciate your optimism for my future.

    That is all I have to say on this thread. Carry on ...
  19. Doug Motgomery

    Doug Motgomery Active Member

    Well Amy Mr Kish must have been following your career in taxidermy to know who you are to make that assumption. And he thinks you are a up and coming Star and I think he my be right. But if he has been following you all this time y did he not scolded you because you're fox that you have won with several times with, like lieutenant Dan it had no legs....but he is willing to criticize a flying pig with no legs. it looks like there's more to the story or somebody being a hypocrite.
  20. Brian Reinertson

    Brian Reinertson Well-Known Member

    A lot of words ending in Y on this thread. Modesty and hypocrisy stand out most for me. I love this industry, never a dull moment!