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An Open Letter to Carl Akeley

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

  1. TIMBUCK

    TIMBUCK Active Member

    There is just no way possible for anyone to logically argue this statement... Spot on George.
    The pioneers are the trail blazers...
    Who was the first taxidermist to use dental acrylic for mouth casting, in color??? I cannot remember. Pure genius.!!!!!!
     
  2. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member

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    Tell us Tim. You baited us twice now.

    I don't think I'm the only one who would like to know more about the man.

    All I really know about him is that he's a Class A taxidermist and a deadly archer.

    It wouldn't surprise me if he's a veteran too as you're hinting with a purple heart and more.

    Tell us.... please.
     

  3. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member

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    Begging your pardon Timbuck, Looks like I did it again! (Dag nab it!!!)

    I meant the above post to be to Kbcountry, not to you.

    My apologies.
     
  4. Carolin Brak-Dolny

    Carolin Brak-Dolny Active Member

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    Who ever the guy is with no legs, STOP taking his picture and help him. Looks like he is about to commit suicide!
     
  5. wa

    wa Thanks John...this depicts me better

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    Lieutenant Dan
     
  6. Carolin Brak-Dolny

    Carolin Brak-Dolny Active Member

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    ;) ;D
     
  7. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

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    Dramatic:
    [​IMG]

    Melodramatic:
    Neither are particularly my style but one is, to me, significantly more successful; congratulations James.

    Best, Scott
     
  8. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    An Open Letter to Joe Kish

    Dear Mr. Kish,

    I apologize for taking so long to write you. I must admit I spend less time on the computer these days, which forces me to be a little more selective when it comes to reading threads on here. When I read the title of your thread, I had no immediate interest in the correspondence between an old man and a dead man, so I skipped past. Last night after a long day in the shop I was skimming this site and noticed 8 pages of responses to your thread, and clicked to see what all the fuss was about. After reading your posts, and others, I was appalled as a taxidermist, and offended as an artist by the things you had to say. Who exactly do you think you are? Obviously a coward of sorts, because you were at the TTAI show and weren't compelled to walk up to Mr. Newport man to man and tell him his piece looked like it was done by an amateur in a vain attempt to impress, or that it had no artistic merit whatever, or that you thought it was a joke, or that watching him continuously walk to the podium turned your stomach so. No sir, you waited until you were in the comfort of your home to begin firing shots via a passive aggressive letter written to a dead man. I find your actions deplorable, gutless, malicious, and frankly unacceptable.

    I would ask who are you to determine what awards do or don't deserve to carry the name Akeley, the man dubbed the father of modern taxidermy? This was done undoubtedly out of nothing but respect, recognition, and admiration of this man and his accomplishments. Just as Chuck Berry is recognized as the father of Rock and Roll, and Cleisthenes the father of democracy, these men would find today's version of both far different than they envisioned. However, that does not mean they wouldn't approve, or even appreciate the progression of each. They, just as any reasonable man would understand that with everything there is an evolution, a maturation that is formed by us the people into what we find pleasing today.

    Furthermore, who are you to define the word art? To suggest that one must have a degree in art to be an artist is absurd. The greatest artists in history didn't have a degree in fine arts, so why would you assume in order for a taxidermist to be a true artist they would? If you think there are not artists using taxidermy as a medium you are blind. Competitions without a doubt have fueled the creative fire and taken the art places it's never been. Sometimes perhaps too far for some tastes, but that is the great thing about art, it doesn't have to conform. Not only is art imagination and creativity, it is also a display of technical skill. James' "super pig" is an excellent example of not only his creative vision, but also an amazing display of great technical ability. So much so that his peers found it to be the best in a room full of fantastic displays.

    I know I am nobody, a tiny tiny fish in a big pond. I know my thoughts and opinions will do nothing to change you, or the way you conduct yourself in life. I know my opinions as a self proclaimed artist with no degree in fine arts means nothing to someone with your ego. I know all this, but still felt compelled to write you because I wanted you to know that there are plenty of small fish just like me that were not entertained by your repugnant musings. While I knew very little about you and your contributions to this industry before this thread, I feel like I know everything I need to know about you as a man today. Carry on, and good luck with getting your desk lamp category up and running at future TTAI shows.

    Sincerely,

    Cole Cruickshank
    Timberland Taxidermy, Cameron MO
     
  9. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    Where's that darned "Like" button folks talk of. You said it better than I could Cole, but then I am just one of those under educated, no artistic ability possessing taxidermists.
     
  10. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member

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    Cole, Greetings,

    While lots of others have expressed most of your sentiments already it doesn’t disparage the fact that you wanted yours to be heard too. It’s obvious that you put a lot of time in writing this and are passionate in your point of view. But you also have an agenda behind it. I understand that.

    You seem to want a battle of wits between us. Let us spare the readers. But if you persist, you won't like my response.

    Just as sincerely yours,
    Little Joe
     
  11. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    The only agenda I have is as an artist. I do not know the people you've attempted to belittle. I've never met Mr. Newport, Ms. Carter, or Mr. Huffaker. I am familiar with each of their work through Internet photographs, but beyond that know little about them. As for a battle of wits, I'm just an unedjumacated skin pusher from Missoura, no match for someone with all that fancy book learnin'.
     
  12. michael p.

    michael p. Getting better with age :)

    Let's hear your response Joe...... What's wrong, leg less piggy got your tongue?
     
  13. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

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    Another damn Republican/Democrat debate. Geez, we can't escape it.
     
  14. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Damn, here we go. Which came first: the chicken or the egg; the taxidermist or the artist; whose is longer.

    What had grown as a pretty candid debate has now grown into a "Let's beat up Joe" thread. Enough of this nonsense. Though the thread initially involved the piece itself, it's not become the friends of the piece or the idea behind it versus those who despise it. I know one thing for sure, my emails have lit up with the number of people in that latter group who wanted to avoid the asswhoopin Joe was going to get. Perhaps they were conspiracy theorists, or poor losers, are simply taxidermist who shared Joe's purist ideas. I assume he believes, like many of us, we are taxidermists who use artistic presentation and not artists who use taxidermy as a medium.

    Before I get someone saying something else stupid, it's pretty common knowledge that Joe and I have butted heads before on issues and once on a national stage and this audience. That's because I'm an equal opportunity SOB and I'm not bashful about saying it. Still, I respect the man, not only for what he's brought to the industry but his right to voice that opinion without it involving choosing up sides. Whether I agree with him is irrelevant, but I'm damned sure about his right to voice it. I'm also delighted that some of you are involved in the discussion but it still gives you no right to judge his right to voice it.

    Cole, you and I disagree, often because we get under each others skin. I think what you wrote is a justification for your opinion on the piece and it's based on emotion rather than fact. Akeley was a SOB as well, and from what I've read and what I know about him, he WOULD be pissed that his name was used as "artistic impressionism". Remember, he is considered the father of TAXIDERMY and not the father of ART. So from the purists standpoint, I'm not sure how valid your response is.

    I understand the SHOW MENTALITY is changing - sometimes at an alarming rate. There are still a few of us who won't mount deer with arrows stuck in them or coyotes with a foot in a trap but we will mount dead ducks and stringers of fish. There's only rationalization for that practice but it's still there. Let's take the mount itself. Let's SUPPOSE you had a client who was cutting alfalfa and he ran over a litter of feral pigs. The mower was indiscriminate and sliced off the legs of the bacon bit. He got off the tractor and saw this beautiful little specimen, albeit half of him missing, and he brought it to your shop. He's a good customer and he asked you, "Can you do something with this little guy? He's so pretty I hate to see him wasted." Guarantee you, you take it and mount it DOING SOMETHING.

    The blood letting here is no different than what Marcel Duchamp met when he created the dada movement during WWI in Zurich. For you literate folks out there (I know there has to be one or two of you), you should read how the Museum of Modern Art explains dada. "For the disillusioned artists of the movement, the war merely confirmed the degradation of social sturctures that let to such violence, corrupt and nationalist politics, repressive social values and UNQUESTIONING CONFORMITY OF CULTURE AND THOUGHT." Pretty heady thoughts and far be it from me to imply any correlation, but I find it very interesting comparing it to the way this post is going. BTW, I think dada is pure trash and don't have any of that in my home. But those are just my thoughts. I don't think Duchamp was a TAXIDERMIST.
     
  15. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    George, I can be as "Dumb as a stump and a glutton for punishment", so I'll type this anyway. It is not Joe's opinion that many of us take issue with, it is rather his tactless delivery of it. I for one couldn't give a rats behind what Joe thinks of the mount. What gives him more right than anyone to express his disdain for the piece? Joe has used a phrase like this. If you put it out there for others to see, you have to be able to take the criticism. Why does that not seem to work both ways? He put his opinion out there, now he has to take what others opinion of his opinion. I am normally about as soft as a coarse wire brush, and I appreciate others being straight forward in return but, to do it at another's expense is unacceptable.
     
  16. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    That was the point 3 bears. His opinion is his - shared by others. And those that like the piece voiced their opinion. HOWEVER, having an opinion about Joe's opinion shouldn't be a player. You agree or disagree and that's fine, but his opinion is just as valid as anyone elses. When cards are dealt, it's impossible to deny the suit of the card you have. So Joe shouldn't have called names? Hmmm, now how may other people entered a piece that resembled that one. Not calling the artist out but calling the piece out is simply prolonging the inevitable. But give the devil his due, Joe created more emotion and chest pounding in one post that has been on here in months. His comments, though some of you take great personal offense at them, will be in your minds now forever. It's like not thinking about white bears. Everyone of you will think of this at some time in the future and either try duplicating it or recalling why you didn't like it. Hell, James has now become an icon and they might well name an award after him pretty soon.
     
  17. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    George, you are wrong again, on almost all counts. My reaction had nothing to do with emotion about the piece itself. I have no strong feelings about the little piggy one way or the other. I can see where some might really like the presentation, and I could also see where someone might not care for it at all. I personally fall somewhere in the middle, but what I think of the mount is neither here nor there. Also, to suggest that my reaction is because of who did the piece is also not the case, as I have never met Mr. Newport, talked with him on the phone, etc. My reaction is 100% because of the way Kish belittled a fellow taxidermist/competitor, unprovoked, for no apparent reason other than to elicit the responses he got. You are right about this, you and I disagree all the time. The difference is, I think for the most part we both do so with respect. I know I appreciate your candor, and respect who you are and what you have accomplished in life. I appreciate the sacrifices you have made for me and everyone else living in this country. Often times when we go at it on here, I'll start getting PM's from people telling me how you're a jerk, and I should let you have it. Every time I tell them the truth, that you may have a differing opinion, and may be a little brash, cantankerous, or even hard headed, but that you would do anything to help out an aspiring taxidermist, that you would share any knowledge you have about taxidermy with anyone that asks, and that when you speak you are being 100% honest about how you feel, and what you believe. Basically, you're a good guy. What Kish did is not the same, not at all. He could have said he didn't like the style, or the direction competition work is going. That would be his opinion, and he is entitled to that...no question. Instead, he decided to be vindictive in his comments. Statements like (paraphrasing) "looked like an amateur spent about a day on it", or "It was a joke", or "it had no artistic merit whatsoever", "I couldn't believe what I was seeing, I was stunned to see it wasn't done by a beginner." That isn't constructive criticism, that is an attack on the artist himself. Maybe he has a history with Mr. Newport, I don't know. What I do know is he didn't look at that pig and assume it was in the amateur division...that is horse sh!t. Even Kish's tired eyes should be able to tell world class masters work from the amateur division...either that or he isn't as proficient in this industry as he thinks he is. As for the Akeley name, like I said before, it has always been used with respect to the man as a taxidermist and what he did to advance the industry. As with everything else in life, the industry is still advancing. Guys like Kish may not like the direction it's headed, but dumping on another taxidermist is not the decent way to express his opinion. Go easy with the bloodletting talk, Kish wanted the reaction he got, that's why he acted the way he did.
     
  18. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    BTW, I'm not as familiar with dada as you are, but my understanding it was almost a culture more than a style, kind of like punk or goth. Like I said though, I'm not as familiar with it as you, after all I wasn't around when it was invented. ;)
     
  19. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Obviously I wasn't wrong then. You've just reiterated that you didn't like the way Joe said it and even hinted that you may have felt some unease with it yourself. Competitions are a crap shoot and anythime any judge doesn't rate a mount like the taxidermists perceives it deserving, there are hard feelings. Some are held a lifetime. Still, James is a big boy and I'm sure quite capable of telling Joe he could care a rat's patootie about how he felt. You don't need to stand up for him and trying to quiet a radical opinion because you take exception to it is still no excuse. And Joe is unapologetic as he obviously feels that he only stated the truth. "Those we tend to dislike most are those who possess the same qualities as we, ourselves." Some wise guy

    LMAO OK wise guy, you said YOU were an artist. I just gave you benefit of the doubt. Did you want me to apologize for that? LOL Dada was an ART movement and it was followed by Cubism, Futurism, Constructivism, and Expressionism - which all led to Rap music.
     
  20. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    I understand what you are saying George. Mr. Newport's work can speak for itself, and I'm sure he doesn't need anyone to stand up for him. I would not have even commented, had Joe just made a post about his dislike of the way competitions have gone awry, from his impression of what they should be. I also get the impression that Joe has some perverse love of controversy, because he seems to take that road whenever he can. I may be wrong, but doubtful.