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Artistry!

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by Rick Carter, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I was born with artist ability. I have always had it. I had to learn to be a craftsman through wood shop, metal shop and arts and crafts classes. I have chosen vocations that skills in tool use and tactile sensitivity were important. Through education, I have honed my artistic abilities and my craftsman skills. In taxidermy, you can't have one with out the other in at least some degree.
     
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  2. TIMBUCK

    TIMBUCK Active Member

    Pretty much spot on George, especially number 1.
    The school mates that I had, growing up, that were winning TOP awards for their artwork in the 12th grade, at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo were the same ones winning all of the awards at our local county fair when they were in the 3rd grade, for that age group. You are born with it, period. And IF art can be taught, which I don't believe it can, it is a very, very slow process..
     
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  3. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I don't know, I have taken art classes that I was able to use to become a better artist. I already had a natural gift for artistic ability, however, the classes I took helped me to further develop it. But, the ability was already there, which I know could not have been a learned ability, just the development of it was gained from those classes.
     
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  4. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    I was cut out to be an Artist, just sowed up wrong.
     
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  5. Jason L

    Jason L New Member

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    When I was in the 5th grade,I drew a picture of Spider-Man and colored it. That picture looked so good. It is in a frame at home now and I'm 35. Where did I learn to draw that? I didn't learn it. It was in me to be able to do it. It is called artistic ability.Growing up it was something that just came natural for me and that was drawing.I Don't get me wrong, anyone can draw a stick person but not just anyone can paint a painting like Michelangelo. That's the difference in these people who are throwing skin on a form and seewing it up and the guys who make the mount look like its about to blink it's eyes.Trust me , the hacks that's out there doesn't have it in them to get a mount put on the cover of breakthrough magazine. It takes an artistic ability to do that.....Rick, you exactly right.
     
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  6. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I do know what you mean. When I was in the 7th grade I drew a dragon and gave it to a friend. I was surprised to see it in the state art competition with a first place ribbon and my friends name on it as the artist. I had never had an art class.

    The first actual art class I took was a drawing class as a young adult and for a homework assignment at the end of the first week, we were to draw a fantasy scene. In colored pencil I drew a dragon holding a giant egg with a scantily clad woman chained to it as the dragon's tongue wrapped around her waist and each tip of his forked tongue was, well, on her chest entitled "Dragon Lust". In class he said very nice. After class he asked to see me. He then asked I would allow him the honor of copying it for a gift to his wife. It still hangs in a framed in his house 32 years later.

    I can tell you though, that after the class I could have done it better.
     
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  7. Kerby Ross

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

    I started drawing and doing wood carvings just recently (in my 50's). I just saw videos on Facebook and said ....... cool, I think I will try THAT!

    No training, just decided to try it.

    I think over all there is more artistry in taxidermy today than ever before, more so with competitions, but there are some taxidermists that are providing it for their customers and getting paid for it.

    :)

    Kerby...
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  8. Artist and artistry can be confusing. A local is an ok artist, not great just ok. Mostly impressionistic (IMHO) so the person decides they want to do replica fish. Now this artist is a well know fisherman, but the person does not understand form follows function. Even within the flat art there are anatomical mistakes but does that matter? So the same person offers art lessons. Tell the students that a certain breed of fish has such and such. Well no that species does not have that color is that area. Is it artistic impression or just wrong?

    Samething is taxidermy you see some people have skills and others dont, some people brag on a persons work and these are taxidermist, but you see a lot of anatomical mistakes.

    So where do you draw the line, what is artistry or artistic merit?
     
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  9. Cory

    Cory Keep an eye on quality!

    Artistic talent? Nope
    Formal art training? Nope
    Taxidermy? Trying
    It is one of the main reasons I compete; maybe someday I can attain taxidermartist. Those mounts are cool.
    Even in the "art" world, some of the the worst crap garners the most attention, its just how things are.
    Still trying? Yep
     
  10. Carolin Brak-Dolny

    Carolin Brak-Dolny Active Member

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    Nice work Kerby! The snake stick is cool! I bet from when you started drawing, even if it was in your fifties, your last piece of work is better than your first.

    Here are some of my random thoughts this morning;

    As far as the skin stretchers, well some people are just happy with that and that's ok . There is a need for that. I do both. I stretch skin for some customers and do "art" for others , doing "art" is much more rewarding and makes me happier.

    People get better with practice. Even the master painters studied with someone. Know one just fell out of bed in the morning knowing how to paint or do taxidermy, We all had to learn from someone or as in many cases from a lot of people. You should never forget who you learned from. I learned about eyebrows from Brenda Duvall, I learned about deer pedicles from Fred Vanderburg. Casting from Jan Van Hoesen. Anatomy from Jean Roll. Eye set from Mike Adams. Saliva from Ken Walker. Lacrimal crease from Brian Harness. Composition from Joe Kish. Etc.... I could go on and on.

    Having an artistic talent needs to groomed and perfected, it is an on going process until you are dead or blind or just so old you don't care anymore. My personal goal is to have people really like what I produce, to catch their eye, and that they really do not know why they like it but that they just do.

    Taxidermy is different from other art. We require that the animal be as close to nature as possible. (we are nowhere near that, but that is what we strive for). Art can be called art with just a red dot on a white canvass. So calling taxidermy art just to "elevate " its status may be going backwards.

    We need better term than artist because some art just sucks.
     
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  11. dplais7124

    dplais7124 Active Member

    Art can be taught to anyone...but very few can actually learn it. I can remember being 3 years old sitting at the kitchen table with my grandfather drawing ducks. He carved decoys and taught me about all of the different species of waterfowl and their color patterns. And I'd be willing to bet that I've drawn every day of my life since. But he didn't teach me to draw...I just could. I get asked constantly "where did you learn to draw?" and very few people can't understand that it isn't a learned ability. During a critique with Rick Krane this year at the Louisiana show he said to me "You're already an artist, you just need to refine your taxidermy skills. You have the advantage over the guy that knows taxidermy but isn't an artist." That's been my motivation lately to become a better taxidermist.
     
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  12. dplais7124

    dplais7124 Active Member

    Technique can be taught...the ability to execute those techniques usually cant.
     
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  13. Kerby Ross

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

    Thanks Carolin

    Thanks and yes, my drawings get better and my walking sticks get better - with each new one I do.

    For me the learning process is to NOT do the same mistakes ..... and to try to do new things/techniques.

    :)

    Kerby...
     
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  14. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php/topic,410884.0.html

    The problem Rick is the same old problem that has probably been around for centuries in this business. Some people just don't see much difference. As a certified secondary Art Teacher and experienced with K-6 I will say that every student I have taught has improved upon what they were doing. But, to reach a level that you're talking about the student has to have some skills to begin with that they were probably brought out by folks like me in Grammar school. Then, it takes years and years of studying anatomy and learning about great composition. And, the latter IMO is where most taxidermists need to improve upon - even the World Class Taxidermists. I just did a commission job for a guy out in California for a released possible World Record Spotted Bay Bass. I must have hot-glued 300 barnacles on the piece amongst other things. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE BARNACLES was placed in a position and oftentimes moved - placed with a purpose if you will. If you want great composition this is the kind've stuff you have to do. Without detracting from the main focal point - the fish (or animal). Shapes, colors, textures, sizes, negative space and the locations of all these things ALL have to be considered. I'm with you Rick on the "Artists First" concept that is actually plastered all over my website and is a prerequisite for any new hires here. Being an avid fisher-person or hunter should be very far down on one's resume' when it comes to what's important to make a great taxidermist. But, we will always have the problem of trying to educate the rest of the public in the differences that many simply do not see. Things will continue to improve, but there will always be a place for mediocre taxidermy...

    P.S. One other thing. With many schools dropping Art programs I think it will probably be even more challenging to find good, artistic help!
     
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  15. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    Artistic talent is no different than any other gift you are born with.
    You can get a random person and train them all their lives things to increase their running speed. Give them all the physical and mental training that's available but they will never even come close to being a world class runner. You have to be born with it. Yes you can improve.
     
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  16. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Exactly! But, I do think some people are indeed born with some talents that they also just haven't tapped into either. I know a few elderly people that have taken up Oil/Watercolor Painting and paint very well. And they really didn't explore Art earlier on in their lives.

    I also think that persistence and hard work can be a major factor and having these assets can help one overcome many hurdles in life. And in fact is more important than any natural gift. Of course those that excel to the top also have that natural gift. But, I have seen what a couple of my (not-so-talented) students have put out after only one or two lessons and the differences in quality is night and day! Youtube can only show so much and with a good teacher I believe most anybody can be taught to a degree that is at least above average ("average" being the relative term here - lol!)

    Dan Gable is considered to be one of the, if not THE best folk style wrestlers of all time. Yet, even he admitted that he was not and is not a natural born athlete. ALL of his success came from working harder than everybody else and raw determination. (Sounds like the movie "Trading Places" might be in the works - eh??? LOL) Which is more important - nature or nurture will always be a subject for debate!
     
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  17. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Derek, I'm sorry, but you're in denial. I KNOW you're in denial because I had it explained to me exactly how I'm going to explain it to you. You can't possibly be objective to that question because you have absolutely no idea how it feels to NOT be talented. I've seen your work and your drawings and I KNOW you're talented. You can't relate to someone who does not have that talent because you've always had it and you think everyone else is just like you. NOT TRUE. Each of us may or may not have some innate talent that allows us to handle with ease what others could only dream of, yet most of those traits are acquired skill gained through repetition. You can surely teach skill and techniques along with methods, but those are simply rote skills and have nothing to do with talent. Today in American (at least up in this section of the country) they host "paint parties where a talented artists comes in, supplies a small canvas, a palette or 4 to 6 select colors to each party attendant. Then he shows a specific technique with a specific brush and using a master painting, instructs the class to paint some sort of landscape or still action depicted in the master picture. Each person goes home with his or her own Rembrandt. Most of them will never pick up another brush, know anything about a paint wheel or blending colors or shading for shadows and reflections. They will never be able to extemporaneously paint a masterpiece UNLESS they have that talent to "see" what most of us don't. Remember the aphorism about a sculptor saying that the sculpture was always there, he only had to take away the stone surrounding it in order to expose it? Talented individuals at the top of their game can never fathom why others don't see what they do. Me, I've learned my limitations long ago. I'm not slow, but not nearly as fast as people like you. Guess I"m more halfassed than anything. But it allows me to see real talent and to see those who only wish they were.
     
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  18. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Good post Marty. I thought of Pete Rose when you said Dan Gable. Pete really seemed to struggle when you watched him play but he always had the desire and seemed to make up for talent with raw determination.
     
  19. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    As far as art goes, you either have talent, or you dont. Now then, if youve got it, a method, a form, and a TECHNIQUE can be developed. If youre in an art class so they can teach you composition and balance, sorry, but Im not so sure youre truly that artistic.

    I believe that someone who is not strong in art can still enjoy it, and create it to some degree...art is subjective anyway.

    Talent is a funny thing though. I know guys that cant write their own name, yet can sculpt a face so accurately that you could recognize the subject. Theres plenty of solid taxidermists whose flat art is almost childish.

    Theres a lot of mediums and forms all encompassed under that one word ...art. Taxidermy is one of them. Ill let you all continue to decide whether one needs to be an artist to be a taxidermist, however.
     
  20. Skywalker

    Skywalker Well-Known Member

    There are degrees to which a person is talented. It's like autism or ADD in some ways. I have been in the taxidermy world for a while now and I think many sell themselves short in the talent department. Every single one of us is answering the call to create compositions whether they recognize their "talent" level or not. But talent is a strange thing. It seems that the higher the level of talent, the more susceptible one becomes to manic types of behaviour. Myself included (or so I've been told). There are some wonderfully eccentric people in this industry. And some annoyingly so! Lol To me that's the magic of associating with the people in our little world. And George, my friend. You are one of the most talented people I know! I really don't know anyone who can put words together and draw emotions from people the way you do. We have all seen your writings infuriate, cause sober second thought, and even draw people together. We all have talent. Even if it's just a propensity for tenacity.
     
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