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Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by DL, Feb 13, 2018.
Not good at all according to many of the taxidermists out there. Every time I have ever made the comment that you need to be an artist to be a good taxidermist I get slammed with negative responses from taxidermists who disagree. I honestly think either their brains fell out or their work sucks and they know it's because they never had a creatively artistic thought in their life. If the guy that sculpted that bust ever decides to do taxidermy he will blow everybody out of the water within months. Artistic ability is the #1 attribute required. Grab some popcorn and enjoy the show! Lol
What would most present day taxidermists be if they didn't have all the products and manikins with everything done for them.
Snap together, think Yox invented that term.
There would be a lot less taxidermist for sure. Many of those left would fall into the category of hackidermist making the industry look really bad!
You are 100% correct Rick! (Although "good" is a relative term depending on who you talk to!) Luckily for many taxidermists, the vast majority of the customers aren't as critical and many simply can't see the differences! Could you imagine the shock the price shoppers would get when they asked this guy for a quote??? LOL. Like he would even bothered with taxidermy - lol! I do believe that you can teach taxidermy to those with no artistic experience whatsoever to a certain degree, with good results (with the right teacher). But, I also think that those that truly excel actually have the creative side in their blood, they just don't know it and haven't learned how to tap into it! I did get a little creeped-out by this guys stuff b/c it looks so real. Especially when he inserted that needle into the toe I cringed - lol!
Trying to figure out the purpose for his works?
that guy is a true genius, an artist, and could excel in anything involving taxidermy. he has a gift
Art serves no purpose other than for our viewing pleasure!
O.K. I'm going to play devil's advocate here. I know two guys that do really nice flat art but not only don't do taxidermy anymore, but their taxidermy work wasn't anything to write home about -- especially the fish. I kicked their asses in our state competition time after time and don't consider myself an exceptional artist. One was a little miffed I kept winning the Lifetone award.
I also trained a friend that is an outstanding artist, and after his first mount his comment was, "I would never want to do this for a living it's too much work!" So you have to have the desire regardless of your talent. The world is full of talented and smart people that are too lazy to use the talent they have. How many people try taxidermy and realize it's a lot of work to pull of good quality commercial work over and over again? And can't handle the stress of all this calls, "Is it done yet, is it done yet?"
Sure talent is a big plus and you need a certain amount of it to do good quality work, but I'm of the belief that much of what we do can be learned if you stay open minded and soak in whatever you can. And keep at it and try to get better at it. And you don't have to be Michelangelo of Leonardo DaVinci to do good quality commercial work, and even blue ribbons and trophies at the state and national level. Once I got the hang of competition I could do it on a regular basis. And like I said I'm no prodigy.
I attribute much of my success with fish with being an avid angler and fish geek and paying attention to what they look like alive. When I see a fish with poor anatomy or lousy painting it really sticks out for me. I must be doing something right as all my business is word of mouth, I'm full time, and I specialize in fish.
O.K. that's my two cents so let me have it.
Anybody ever been to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum? I was at the one in London in late August of 2001. Was amazed at how incredibly life like most of the figures were but even then there were a few that were like, "That doesn't look like so and so! Seriously?"
Hey Marty for once I agree with you 100% because I fall into that group.
I have gone to be trained by some great taxidermists but I’m one of those artless people. I have felt sorry for some of the Masters where I went for training. They probably thought that they were trying to train a chimpanzee to do Taxidermy.
Some of the best ever fish taxidermists were artists before they did fish taxidermy.
DL, once I trained a teen that had a bit of a learning disability. I did not know that when I took on the job (emails and phone calls only). I realized things when his dad dropped him off. He had taken the initiative to mount a walleye himself and then came to me to teach him how to finish it. It was your typical first fish, pretty bad like most of ours. I had him mirror me as I did the finish work and painted one of my customer's walleyes and he followed along. (A great way to double dip and get paid TWICE for a days work btw! lol) Helping him as needed. I was quite surprised at the end results. Never took a pic of him or his fish, but the kid painted his first walleye better than a lot of seasoned taxidermists could! Kinda like those paint by number deals some of us tinkered as a kid growing up but with a fish. After that experience, I was convinced that anybody can learn to do this to a certain degree. Given some of the junk out there, it ain't too hard really!
Thanks for the post DL
I loved it.
Cecil, everybody has challenges in different phases of taxidermy. I think learning to mount a crisp original skin mount is quite challenging actually. The painting is the easy part! Many would probably state things the other way around. Those artistic guys you knew probably gave up when they realized getting their fish to the painting stage is challenging and hard work! Or they had a crappy taxidermy teacher - lol! Of course there's a lot of artistic talent and time that goes into learning and getting a mount to an acceptable level with this phase. And it all matters.
The painting part takes practice too, even for flat artists. But, it shouldn't take long for somebody that can paint well (Impressionism/Realism) on a flat surface. Maybe those guys were into Surrealism or something other than replicating what you see - lol! Everybody that I have trained in painting fish that has had a proven artistic background caught on so quickly that I walked away after the first few steps and told them you're doing great, now paint what you see". My son's first replicas are on my website (for not much longer, he's done with fish!) and I must say he did a pretty darn good job. And guess what? He is an Art major but in Graphic Arts! He painted only ONCE in high school and had never even picked up my air brush. I guess he had a great teacher Those with the artistic genes or the creative blood are light years ahead of students w/o the artistic background. Again, I believe anybody can do this to a certain degree. And I suspect yourself you had the artistic side, you may have simply never explored it until you got into fish taxidermy.
All I know is when I'm looking for new talent to help out. I'm looking for resume's from Art Majors or those with a heavy h.s. Art portfolio. Sure, I'm missing some talent. But, it's not worth my time to try to get others up to the level I can already get with an Artist and/or Art Major on the first day! JMO!
Okay heres mine:
I will agree that an artistic personality (read "slightly off) can be the driving force for perfection in taxidermy, but I do not believe basic taxidermy is true art! "Art" by its very definition is "creative", imaginative, subjective, and expressive. In taxidermy the only part that we are free to "create" and can also be considered expressive, and imaginative is composing a mount! That is what stirs emotion and tells a story in taxidermy: "A coyote pouncing on a mouse in the snow"! The animal in the scene is either mounted anatomically accurate...or its not! But the story we choose to tell is the art. And to be honest I am more impressed by that than I am the mount nowadays! Almost everybody now does good animals but there are some guys out there that their habit work just blows me away! And that is all their "creation"!
Art also involves taking something that is "not" and making it into something that "is"! Sorta like the difference between taking a John Deere tractor apart and then putting it back together exactly like it looked before is not necessarily art. But taking a piece of clay and shaping it into a John Deere tractor would definitely fit the description of 'art"!
And the final nail in the coffin of the "taxidermy artist" theory is; an artist can get payed a BUTT LOAD of money for doing the dumbest, ugliest, crap and a taxidermist........not so much!
Have you ever done any African mounts?? Cause to turn a piece of crap into a life like creature is creativity. Anyone can mount any animal.
Here’s an example of that. A 1700s Mount of a lion.
Now that...........is open to interpretation!!
I think the artist was trying to say : "Lions....like to smoke crack too"!