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What do you think?

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by Carolin Brak-Dolny, Jul 13, 2016.


    TIMBUCK Active Member

    Tricky isn't it? So what is the true definition of "collective artist"?
    Do I see more gray area?
  2. ryan rhodes

    ryan rhodes Well-Known Member

    Cole, Caroline is an accomplished taxidermist, pretty sure she has two, three, maybe 4 Akeley medallions to her credit!!!
    Tim, again, not trying to argue, but after seeing all this feedback, why even consider a vote on something like this? I cannot imagine a majority of taxidermists voting to ban blue ribbon mounts from previous shows. The Maine show is in August, one of the last in the year... Many people have already been to numerous shows by then. It will destroy the show, no question. I was on the board of directors in New England for 6 years, and I'm on it now again since our convention in June. I've only missed 2 shows there in the past 12 years. This has never once come up at a board meeting or even at the show among small talk... At least not that im aware of! My good friend fred barilla has won around 10-12 breakthrough awards around the New England and NY, NJ circuit... In my eyes, his success drove others, myself included to push ourselves to the highest level we could! Pete Lajoie is a long time supporter and competitor at New England and is a tough act to beat as well! But my point is, people don't bail on the show when they know they're competing. It's just the opposite, if you wanna be the best, you've gotta beat the best! People flock to the world show by the hundreds to compete against the likes of ken walker, lowell shapely, Jerry froelich, frank kotula.... Insert any other world class artist here... Competition is learning in its very essence! I have boxes filled with yellow and red amateur and pro ribbons. Seminars are great, and mostly geared towards beginners, basics, and fundamentals. In my opinion, the real learning goes on in the competition room following around judges giving critiques, or just meeting and talking with other taxidermists in passing... I had the pleasure of meeting mike nakielski at the nationals this year. Mike is an awesome guy and a phenomenal talent in the waterfowl world with a couple Akeley medallions if I'm not mistaken. We talked throughout the show and it was like he knew me for years! I asked him about his pieces and how he did this or that... He said, "I don't have any secrets! Here's what I did..." he didn't have to tell me, and I thanked him. He followed up with "I'll tell anybody anything! If we have 20 taxidermists at the next show doing things to the highest level and trying things that have worked for me, it's just gonna make things that much better and will make competitions that much tougher." None of this is verbatim, but you get the gist. Mike had a trio of black ducks at the nationals, they had been to 6 other shows prior to that. He won several major awards at several of these shows! I'm certain he'll have it at the worlds. And if he doesn't, I know what caliber of mount to expect at the world show. I plan on going to worlds next May with waterfowl. I know what's out there! I know my birds weren't even on the same planet, but damn it, I'm gonna try!!! I ain't skeered!!!! I saw several birds at nationals that melted my brain, and all it did was light a huge fire under my a$$...! You'll always have bickering and butt hurt competitors, it comes with the territory. Don't let it force bad decisions on a great show going in a great direction!!!!


    TIMBUCK Active Member

    I do not want to argue either but I have to ask what is your definition of "collective artist"?
  4. ryan rhodes

    ryan rhodes Well-Known Member

    I don't know! That's a tough one! Everyone makes valid points on it though.
  5. Brian Reinertson

    Brian Reinertson Well-Known Member

    I'm all for the concept of you need to beat the best to win. But... A judge has a big choice to make if it's between a new, never seen piece and a prior best in world piece. Do they go with the grain and continue to award a best in world or risk their status by crowning a different mount? I've had conversations with elite in the industry and it has been eye opening to say the least. If mounts that are years old still win it must mean taxidermy quality has peaked and is getting worse. Or has it?
  6. furtanshop

    furtanshop New Member

    when do you reach the assumed standard (mother nature) .

    IMO , there are to many categories , to many divisions

    There should be a youth category but that youth has been tutored by one or more

    Put the judge for each category in a room. Take the mounts to the judge as they are brought
    in after they are judged then to the display room where after judging the ribbons would be in
    place. Judges do not see the piece until it comes into the judging room.

    reduce the number of categories to mammals, birds , fish, reptiles . The contestants enter anything they want, shoulder , half, 2/3, full body or One leg missing or all there.

    I would think you folks that are shooting for the top would only enter full body with all the time and money that goes into it with a lot of blood , sweat , and tears

    This is just my for fun opinion
  7. catman

    catman Active Member

    First off, many people compete for the purpose of putting together a piece finer than they have ever done. It sounds ridiculous to say, " no tweaking to make it better then show it again". Isn't the goal to make a better piece? Is it wrong to make a good piece better? To make this even more ridiculous, is the astronomical odds that two or three judges would ding you for the same stuff. To think judges are that in tune with nature as a group, is a stretch. Now for the bucket of worms. I have heard from a couple people that the Big Rock show, has paid to transport mounts for some competitors. Also they have comped rooms for some people that have won big in order to get their numbers up. My sources are what I would consider standup folks. Any input on this?

    TIMBUCK Active Member

    With all of that being said, what is your definition of "collective artist"?
  9. Jerry Huffaker

    Jerry Huffaker Well-Known Member

    Larry's Criteria is all i need:

    This division is for competition pieces where more than one taxidermist worked on the entry.

    TIMBUCK Active Member

    My definition as far as a competition piece is concerned:

    IMO opinion if a judge is PHYSICALLY putting his hands on a piece(which they do), feeling of ears, thumping for drumming(easily fixed), pointing out paint on eyes, bad stitching, bad attachment points, eye shape(which can be fixed), nose and eye color off(which can be changed) and the list goes, only to have the piece taken back to the shop and said findings corrected, IMO opinion it has now become a collective accomplishment. Any flaw that a judge points out was obviously missed by the first individual artist.

    Like you said earlier, we will have to just agree to disagree on this subject.. :)
  11. catman

    catman Active Member

    I think anything you do in the privacy of your own shop, by yourself, would not qualify as collective artist.. No matter what anyone spoke to you about prior. It was truly designed for two artists with two different skill sets to fill gaps in a piece that would otherwise never happen.
    As far as toting pieces all over and having judges know the piece, I suppose if you were a real gracious person and had lots of friends, maybe don't gossip like say Andy Griffith, it may be an advantage. Another great reason to be nice to people.
  12. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    No disrespect meant, just trying to get some context. We will just have to agree to disagree. It's my opinion if a rule were made that said no previously competed with mounts allowed, nothing would come out of the woodwork. It would damage the show. This is my opinion, maybe Maine can try it out and prove me wrong. :)
  13. Tims

    Tims B&C Moose Daughter shot at age 10

    Well i guess i have heard enough comments to give me opinion now. I see these events as shows not competitions, a competition means no one would have a advantage I can appreciate people wanting to improve on their work. If your are suppose to read a book in school and all you read are the cliff notes that's cheating. If you get the answers to a test that is cheating (These shows test ones ability). All team sports play with the same equipment, if altered it is cheating ( low air pressure in a ball). In sports if taking enhancing drugs this is cheating. A food competition they all get the same items to prepare and the same amount of time. Most competitions are done in front of a audience, I am sure there are some like these that are not. I can keep giving examples until my fingers hurt so i will stop with these. A competition does not give any side or anyone a advantage or it's cheating. There are two types of people that go to these shows, People wanting to learn, and people trying to prove something. I have read some of you want trophies to show your clients how good you are, for that one piece. Does the clients mount have the same amount of work put into it? If the answer is no you are lying to your clients (Do you tell them this trophy piece took 100 plus hours and theirs took 10 hours) I think not. A true competitor would bring any clients mount it to be judged. So a piece that goes to a show and gets judged and then goes to the next show after some tweaking is a unfair advantage unless all pieces at the show have also been judged and tweaked or its cheating by normal standards. I know all shows have different rules. So why doesn't the industry let a outside entity write the rules and regulations for the entire industry to follow, then there would be a level playing field. I read earlier if a piece has been judged and goes to another show if should fall in a prejudged catagory that is a brilliant idea! If you are moving up in a division or to national or word level with a piece after some tweaking I think that would be fine. Getting answers and fixes from a judge and fixing the piece is a cheat if you compete at the same level at the next competition or just do a new piece. So I guess it boils down to ones morals if they need to cheat to win. That the piece you had judged do your tweaking and proudly display it in your shop. Oh boy I think I started some trouble here.
  14. Carolin Brak-Dolny

    Carolin Brak-Dolny Active Member

    Catman, I had not heard that about the Big Rock show, all I can say is wow.
  15. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Carolin I'm not going to enter the fray as everyone seems to be fighting nice, but I'm humbled to know someone else has thought about how silly that "anonymity" crap is. I guess this ends up being "we've always done it that way" things. Can you imagine going to an artist convention and seeing a painting that wasn't signed. I hear "so the judges won't be affected". REALLY? Did anyone ever think that might be a good thing? Did they ever think that the judge was a taxidermist, likely knew anyway, or had the character to be honestly objective?

    I hadn't see Fred Barilla in years. I ran into him at the NTA last month. We were in the competition room while judging was going on (another new great concept) and I said, " Fred, what did you bring?". He told me, but I'd already said to someone that the mount looked like Fred's. I'd bet Danny Owens knew they were Fred's as well.

    Just think of the time and effort that could be saved "dealing cards" at registration if we stopped that silly practice.
  16. catman

    catman Active Member

    I have never entered a piece more than once. I just have never thought enough of a piece after the judge was done with it. I feel anonymity is very important, but difficult to pull off at some shows a much more important factor to me are judges that are qualified. This means, knowledgable, gifted and mature. Not wishing to hold a rival back. There are no perfect judges, but some are for sure better than others. The problem is if a judge give you high marks they are the good ones, if you get paddled, then that is a bad judge. Some always gets paddled and it is really hard not to blame the judge. Bottom line is that your job is to do a piece that the judge can't deny. If you don't do that then you missed the mark. Judges will let you down. That is part of life. Don't bet the farm on a silly taxidermy competition and you won't go broke. Being humble is the best way to thwart humiliation.
  17. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member

    Your post has drawn out most of the leading opinionators who’ve given us all a good feel for the general beliefs and attitudes toward competitions. I’m also seeing that there are a lot of responders in what I might call the “Cumbaya” camp. Jerry Huffaker is a good example. Unless I’m misreading him, he seems to advocate unrestricted numbers of entrants in competitions, which of course lowers the mean standard of quality of every show. It makes it easier to win for guys like him whose unquestionably competent but otherwise uninspired entries are always going to take the top awards.

    But the responses from these three guys below tells me that they at least have an insightful grasp of what it will take to make competitions a more fair and worthy test of taxidermic /artistic knowledge and skill.

    Tims: “So why doesn't the industry let a outside entity write the rules and regulations for the entire industry to follow, then there would be a level playing field.”

    Cole: “ It seems to me all of these rules are brought up for one reason and one reason only....because people don't like tough competition. Anything they can do to dumb down the show and give them a better opportunity to win is their only motivation.”

    Rick Carter: “If you think about it, everything at a show should be in collective artist division unless you sculpted the manikin and made the habitat yourself!”

    I think I know a bit more about taxidermy competitions than the average guy, having pondered longer and written more about the subject than anyone I know. Much of it unpublished. One such piece I titled: MAKING A CASE FOR BETTER COMPETITIONS. At 2,000 words it’s just too long to publish here. I’ll be happy to send a copy to anyone thru personal email. Anyone that is, without a tender ego (like maybe Jerry) or too quick to take issue with my sometimes acerbic phraseology.

    P.S. There’s a reason Bob Berry’s World Fish Carving Championships doesn’t use scorecards or give more than first, second and third place awards. And you don’t hear cry-baby whining from those who don’t place, either.
  18. Taxiserv

    Taxiserv James Newport

    Hey Lil Joe. Don't forget that writing letters to dead people or articles that no one will ever publish doesn't make you any less of an idiot!!!
    All this from the guy that 20 years ago thought a pedestal mount was the next abomination of taxidermy!!
  19. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    I've been reading this thread over the last couple of days and find some interesting points made by several so I wanted to chime in.

    As a member of the NTA board, it is important for us to listen to your ideas and comments, so I want to address a few of these posts.

    The concept of progression in competitions is one of the main reasons that the NTA convention is in July normally, after most but certainly not all, state competitions have been held. (if you've done well at your state competition come on to the nationals and place yourself up against others who have done well at their state convention.) After two years lets throw all those pieces together once again at the World's. It doesn't happen like that all the time, but in concept that is feasible.

    The open judging was introduced two years ago to the NTA and has worked out very nicely. (No formal complaints what so ever.) I'm pretty sure it's here to stay.

    Combined artists. Is the glass half full or half empty? Honesty, integrity, are just a couple of words that come to mind. No changes necessary. As was said, the current definition serves our industry and our competitions well.

    There is a change coming however in the NTA division choices. As Carolyn pointed out, often times there may only be a couple of entries assigned to the Division of Excellence due in fact that to compete in that division one had to earn the right to compete in that division via earning an Award of Excellence at prior NTA events in the Open Division. This will change. In short, you will be able to get in where you fit in, opening the door for all to compete for National Titles. It makes no sense that one may compete at the Master's level anywhere in the country but not be able to compete in the Division of Excellence level at the Nationals. However, once you compete in the Division of Excellence level you will not be allowed to move back down. The NTA will no longer limit one's ability to participate in the Division of Excellence. There are many reasons for this change. (available prize monies, available awards, greater level of competitions, greater and more open participation, etc.) For lack of a better terminology, somewhere, someone had the idea that the NTA needed to be a closed group I guess, or thought that forcing rules was the way to gain membership and participation. Bad MoJo. The NTA wants to become open for all to come and compete at whatever level you feel your skills are suited for. More on this to come in the upcoming months.

    Utah is looking promising for 2017. In fact, Dan and Becky Snyder are there at this moment meeting with possible location sites. Announcement should be forthcoming soon.

    Carry on. This has been an interesting thread.
  20. Carolin Brak-Dolny

    Carolin Brak-Dolny Active Member

    Taking your mount to multiple shows also is a double edged sword. Since the photo of your mount is broadcast world wide, Your potential judges can form a preconceived opinion on your mount, or possibly has an opinion of you. It could be a positive opinion or negative. You take your chances! Sometimes no amount of tweaking is going to fix that!