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Fish taxidermy/painting is NOT art

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by Kevin Neidigh, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. Kevin Neidigh

    Kevin Neidigh New Member

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    So I'm a little ticked off right now. My 16 year old daughter has been painting her first fish ( a bluegill replica) to take to a high school art show with her class here in Montana. Her art teacher said she may not be able to take it because it would be seen as a hobby not art. I'm just really disappointed that anyone, let alone an art teacher would say that. Parent teacher conferences are this week so I may go talk to her.
     
    JUST FISH likes this.
  2. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    Yep, I'd have to have a talk with that "Art" teacher. It would likely be hard to keep your cool, but you must. Enlighten her as to why she may be wrong. If all else fails use the Quote" It ain't art until someone doesn't like it" or something close to that anyway. I think I got that from */Dennis Harris, I can't recall exactly.
     
    Chippers likes this.

  3. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    First off I'll apologize if I get a little snarky with this post. Pissed off, usually uninformed parents are why many of us good teachers get out of teaching. As a certified, secondary Art Teacher and 20+ year Fish (only) Taxidermist I can see her point. You may wish to visit the numerous threads on whether or not taxidermy in general is considered "Fine Art" or not. Most agree that it takes artistic talent, but there are too many restrictions in the medium to be considered Fine Art. Now, if your daughter "pushed the envelope" with a statement using her bluegill replica and did something unique, (custom habitat/scene or some Picasso-like statement, etc.) then she gets the Fine Art label and free pass to the show. Did she cast/mold the fish herself or was it a store bought blank? The former may hold SOME weight, but would probably not matter much. Your daughter is simply copying. if it was a store-bought blank then all she's really learning is "paint by numbers". The teacher is there to teach students at this age the next level of artistic expression and not just the techniques to get there. Again there is plenty of artistic talent involved in painting a fish replica, but very little artistic expression. Talk to the teacher and keep an open mind. (Re-read the previous sentence.) She/He obviously has a major in Fine Art to be teaching a Fine Art class so listen and learn. Much like your daughter will learn if you let her teacher do their job. Hopefully, I explained things well and don't tick you off too much - lol!
     
  4. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    Marty, are you chitting me? Take a canvas and some acrylics and paint a landscape picture, that isn't "Art", that is paint by numbers as well. Granted many cannot do it, just like painting a replica. One looks at reference and recreates what they see. Hell, by your definition, I should give up my day job and start drawing again, if I want to be an "Artist" when I grow up.
    I have 0 school teaching background but a "Good" teacher, teacher being the operative word here, learns how to engage everyone, including ones with ideas that they themselves don't completely agree with.
    Very few students are creating "Fine art" in high school, but encouraging them to utilize any kind of art supplies and tools and become comfortable with them will help them on their way to someday actually produce what many accept as "Fine art"
     
  5. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    I disagree 3Bears. If we're just talking impressionism/realism here then the canvas forces one to interpret paint shadows and light reflections, perspective, etc. along with recreating 3D objects in 2D. Plus the composition of the painting has to be chosen and that is really what separates the teaching of the techniques to the next level.

    By comparison the blank/replica on the other hand provides a 3D canvas to add paint to. It is indeed sorta like painting by numbers. A very controlled "box" to stay in-between the lines so to speak.

    I painted plaster figurines when I was like 8-12 years old 3Bears, not 16! There is no composition with just a painted blank. No perspective. No shadows or light reflections. Nothing interpreted or learned on the Fine Art side. Art is typically an elective class these days and if the 16 YO is taking something to an Art Show, I suspect it is not a beginners class? Besides, at 16 they should be exploring the more creative side anyway (regardless of their artistic skills) vs. simply replicating what they see. The teachers job is to teach all aspects of Fine Art, not a specialized "hobby". And in fact if the students do get to college they will be encouraged to do many things outside the box to spark even more creativity.

    The fact that this teacher is trying to make an effort to explore into the Fine Art side says a lot about his or her knowledge of the subject and I believe he/she cares about advancing his/her students.

    You can quit doing taxidermy 3Bears and become a starving artist - lol! We both know that this profession is one of the few that has a tangible tie to our customers and therefore allows us to pursue this artistic hobby and get paid. Some enough to make a living at it. But, I cannot call it "Fine Art", sorry!
     
  6. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    I can somewhat agree with painting a replica, with out utilizing some of the things you mentioned may not be art but once you add some of them, it then becomes art. The art is in making that blank look alive. Maybe composition is part of that piece, maybe it isn't just a plastic fish, we don't know.
    I'm on the other side if the coin. I get sick of the "Uneducated", liberal minded idiots, that have a college degree of some kind, being so closed minded, that if it doesn't fit what their professors' ideas of something, then it can't be. They are teaching our children, the same crap.
    I question the teacher's motivation here because of my life's experiences. I may be wrong in doing so. I hope the OP returns to tell us the rest of the story.
     
    Drycreek hunter and JUST FISH like this.
  7. Jimmy Lawrence

    Jimmy Lawrence Well-Known Member

    Oh Marty..... what a dumb thing to say. Paint by numbers? Come on..... spare us. You wrote an entire paragraph of nonsense.
     
    Cole and JUST FISH like this.
  8. Nancy C

    Nancy C Well-Known Member

    Have her embed the back half of it in some fake mud and do the transition from dirt to fish as it comes out. I know it's an old idea, but it would be enough to push it into the fine art category. She could title it On The 5th Day or something. Anyway, that way all of her work so far wouldn't be wasted.
     
    Megan :) likes this.
  9. msestak

    msestak Well-Known Member

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    is there a difference if a person paints a replica fish and it looks alive or if someone paints the same kind of fish on a canvas and it looks alive ?

    from what some have said here, neither one should be considered "Art"

    if painting a replica is a hobby and not art, a lot of you guys need to lower your prices.
     
  10. I would go have a talk with the teacher because it is art. I joined a tour/ guild some years back, they had to come to the shop and see what I was doing in order for them to understand it. Then to a board of 15 people. with my video. They all agreed it was art.
     
    JUST FISH likes this.
  11. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

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  12. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Actually 3Bears, what I was attempting to explain (in my usual apparently lengthy matter - lol) was how the teacher is actually attempting to OPEN the students minds and letting their creativity take over w/o restraints. (The restraint here being the blank.)

    Obviously, Art is subjective. And obviously it takes artistic talent to do this craft well. Sorry if I offended by calling it a "hobby" too. Call it Art if you wish. Semantics. [But, I guess not to the Art teacher(s) though - lol]

    Jimmy, "paint by numbers" was an exaggerated comment to make a point. Some call it "satire" I guess. And if you think what I stated was all nonsense then I am sorry that you, especially with your artistic talent failed to grasp what I was saying. It seems odd to me that for one that preaches learning at competitions and yearning for knowledge that you sure closed your mind to what I was trying to say. The fact of the matter is this thread is not really about a fish replica and whether it's Art or not. It's about the teacher's perspective of Fine Art. And I happen to agree with the teacher's perspective.

    Whatever happens to the OP's daughter and her bluegill replica is moot. The teacher is spot on with his/her analyses. But I wouldn't doubt he/she can be convinced otherwise as there might be a lawsuit - lol!
     
  13. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    Marty, I'm just a dumb old taxidermist, but I understand that taxidermy doesn't fit the classical teaching of what constitutes fine art. I for one don't find many things that are considered by many to be, "Fine art" appealing at all. I would not side with this teacher and I have enough art in my background, not as much as you but, enough to disagree with both of you on this subject, for reason or reasons I've already stated.
     
  14. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    3Bears, we're all just a bunch of dumb taxidermists. If we were smart we would be in another profession! ;)

    Let me explain what I'm trying to say another way. I believe most people in general consider "Art" by how well one can replicate something. How real it looks. Which, by all accounts is by far the best qualification to begin a career in the taxidermy field. What I'm talking about, and what any good Secondary (and beyond) Fine Art teacher will also (hopefully) be exploring with their students is taking things beyond just the realism. Learning how to create good composition and letting the student(s) discover their individual niche' via pushing the creativity aspect. That's their job!

    Taxidermy in general has too many confines to explore much. For me, creating custom habitats to compliment my mounts is as close as I can get to pushing the creative side of things. And it's a fine line there so as to not overwhelm the mount(s) with the habitat (more limitations).

    Somebody said "One man's Art is another man's junk". Hang a blank canvas with a scan code on the bottom corner and "voila", it's "Art". It's making a statement, right??? Yes, some of it I too don't get. Or should I say I get, but I wouldn't pay for it! Some of it is gimmicky to gain attention.

    Another example. Picasso for instance, I have trouble appreciating his sculptures. But, some of his paintings - the way he plays with your mind and the different perspectives, and his use of colors, spacial relationships and composition - there is a lot more going on than most people grasp. The Art teacher's job is to teach all phases of Fine Art, not just impressionism. (Or in the taxidermy sense it's simply realism). If a student wants to enter a piece that is impressionistic, then enter an original piece that also forces the student to create good composition and balance within the piece. At least some other aspect of Fine Art other than realism. JMO!
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
    msestak likes this.
  15. Does anyone else see what could be called an oxymoron
    Marty preaching fish isn't art. Yet his user name says
    "FISH ART" LMAO !
    No offence meant Marty just find it amusing.

    Don’t worry you can change it to
    “ Fish copying”
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
    Chippers, JUST FISH, Gary R and 3 others like this.
  16. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Lol - good "catch" Glenn! I also call myself a "Fish Artist" on my website. It's all marketing fluff. In an attempt to differentiate myself from the hacks. No different than calling one's self a "Master Taxidermist" when one has reached a certain level.
     
  17. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    Marty, Ill attempt to make my point clear one last time. A "Good" teacher should not stifle any student's attempt at expressing themselves artistically, as long as it doesn't harm that student or anyone else or isn't construed as morally offensive. If the piece has no artistic merit whatsoever then it will be reflected in the response it gets from the judges or audience but, to outright refuse it is just plain dumb. Have a good day all, I have a batch of "Paint by numbers" fish to get painted and out the door.
     
    JUST FISH, msestak and Gary R like this.
  18. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    And I'll reiterate my point one last time 3Bears! By allowing the student to enter her fish replica in the show the teacher would indeed be stifling her growth! You've got the right point, but ass backwards dude!

    I'll end this nonsense with a link that also reinforces another point I brought up earlier in this thread. The reason teachers cannot teach anymore due to parent know-it-alls and enabling of their kids!

    https://www.yahoo.com/gma/frustrate...g-children-142906934--abc-news-parenting.html
     
  19. Kevin Neidigh

    Kevin Neidigh New Member

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    Well I definitely disagree with Fish ART on this but everyone is entitled to there opinion even if it is wrong lol!
    I don't know if high school art shows are considered fine art. I know what many consider " fine art" I do not.
    To quote Brad Paisley " you see a priceless French painting, I see a drunk naked girl ". I'm still going to try to talk to the teacher just to get an understanding on her position.
     
    JUST FISH and FishArt like this.