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Do you have to be artistic to mount deer heads?

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by zach1030, Dec 13, 2017.

  1. zach1030

    zach1030 New Member

    Some people say you have to have artistic ability to mount a good deer head .. but a local taxidermist here is a world champion and he says he has absolutely no artistic abilitys. Says he just loves deer. What's your opinion
  2. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    It doesn't hurt but it is not required.

  3. Well I'm not really when I started but you learn a lot as you go
  4. KatieC

    KatieC Active Member

    If someone is really good at taxidermy, I'd say they have at least some artistic ability, even if they didn't know it before. You may not be great a drawing or something, but you are learning to sculpt, paint, interpret reference, and also create artistic compositions if you're adding bases and habitat. I had an art background so that part of taxidermy was easy for me. Learning the anatomy and techniques and getting a bunch of skin to do what I want hasn't been so easy!
  5. Paul B

    Paul B Active Member

    With some of the work I've seen out there, there is no artistic ability or worse, no ability to be doing taxidermy period. But I say yes, it helps.
  6. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    If someone wins state competitions, he has artistic ability. He may not think so, but getting the right eye shape, colors, etc. requires a trained eye. Just because someone can't draw more than stick figures doesn't mean they have no artistic ability. I do think learning to sculpt, paint, blend colors, etc. is an artistic ability that can be learned. I don't think people are born with ability, they learn it. It's just that some people learn quicker than others.
  7. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Absolutely NOT. TAXIDERMY can be done quite well by a craftsman. With today's detailed mankind, there's really little true artistry being used in commercial work. Special poses and dioramas take some artistic ability, but you can still survive with craftsmanship. What IS an absolute necessity is knowledge in animal anatomy and the subtle characteristics of the animal you intend to mount and pose. But right up front, you'll always be at a disadvantage to the artisans who carve, mold, and cast their forms, put special expressions on the mount and making those intrinsic nuances that give that life-long realism that separates the artist from the craftsman.
  8. This is an interesting question I have thought a lot about over the years.. Like George said, you can mount a good deerhead with just craftsman skills. I feel i am just a craftsman. I worked with someone that had incredible artist ability, though she never thought she had any more artist ability than my self, I could clearly see the difference. She had "magic in her hands" as George say's. For example, one time she asked me to pile a snow mound and she would carve out a collie dog. Within a short time she had carved out a perfect collie dog with flowing mane and tail, it was incredible. I could probably carve one too with lots of reference and trial and error, and the end result would look like crap compared to what her's looked like. And she used no reference.
    The difference in taxidermy working with her was, she could do everything so much faster . the end result would look the same she just did it so much faster. The good thing in taxidermy for us craftsman is, we are throwing skin over top of our forms or sculptures.
  9. I think you are spot on KatieC.
  10. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I found that my artistic ability didn't mean crap until I got anatomy down and just as importantly interpretation of reference.
  11. ANDY

    ANDY Well-Known Member

    Ive had this talk with a guy here that's been mounting animals for 25 years. He says does them the same as everybody else , the
    only thing he propably does different is uses a lot of reference pics. He doesn't care if its a deer or a squirrel he uses pictures.
  12. carver

    carver Member

    I'm a newbie, but from what I've experience so far I'd say it's not so much artistic ability as it is more generalized traits like.....Are you good with your hands? Are you patient? Do you tend to pay attention to detail when you do things? Do you tend to give up after first failure or do you stick with it? I would imagine, as George said, that if you positively answer those questions you'll probably do fine, and artistic ability is just icing on the cake. In my particular case, I consider myself to be a good artist, but to be honest I'd be embarrassed to show my first squirrel mounts ;D. But then again, I really enjoy it and I know each one will get better with time, experience and more knowledge.
  13. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I had a fella come in and after he looked at my work, he asked me if I was an artist and he would drop his deer off or not, depending on my answer. I said I'm a craftsman with an artistic flair. He went out and brought his deer in. I don't know what answer would have made him walk away, however, I figured that if I told him, accurately, that I was both, I couldn't loose.

    You can't get away from the craftsman side of taxidermy anymore than you can get away from the artistic elements of it. Both are interwoven into the finished cloth. It helps to have experience and abilities in both.
  14. Duckslayr

    Duckslayr Active Member

    You may DISCOVER you are an artist through the medium of taxidermy. I took an art class in high school that only dealt with flat art. I can’t draw or paint to save me life. But I discovered some artistic ability I never knew I had through taxidermy. Sculpting, posing, composition, habitat...I never really challenged myself in these arenas until taxidermy.