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Pioneers In Our Industry

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by Clew, Jan 18, 2022.

  1. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    York, SC
    I was doing a search tonight on a old friend Jim hall
    Some of you may have heard of him

    I was searching for some ole Jim hall posts
    When I was stationed at mountain home AFB ID
    I spent some time with Jim from 77-80
    This otter piece with trout was one of his
    And back in that day it was a amazing piece
    He did teach me allot on fish and will always admire him for that
    He was a hard guy to get to know but when you did he would do anything for you
    The progression of this industry has grown leaps and bounds
    It still bothers me today to hear the critical comments to day about Archie Phillips, he was a good friend of mine and showed me how to properly skin a fish, he and bubba could do a 10 lb bass in three and a half minutes
    Bubba could do it blindfolded in four and a half minutes
    And was a self made millionaire just doing fish, how many of you have accomplished this?
    several years ago I won many awards on a chum salmon in Georgia, Archie was the judge, and the best compliment I ever received was from him, he asked me how did you pull off that color transformation that moves?
    These guys are true pioneers in this industry
    And I hope y’all do respect what they have contributed to this industry

    carl L
  2. whitetails and fish only

    whitetails and fish only Well-Known Member

    It has always bothered me the criticism that Archie Phillips gets a lot of. He knew how to make money in Taxidermy and he had a lot to offer if you just paid attention. I have one of his videos in which he said he wanted to satisfie his customers and did not care what some judge had to say! That is probably some pretty good advice.
    Wally Gator and Mudbat like this.

  3. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

    Totally different between comp work and customer work. Customers have unique fish and it should be your job to match that fish up best as you can. Best advice I ever got with comp stuff was” don’t do anything unique, do a very good representation of that species”.
  4. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    I have been critical of AP. Not as a person or a pioneer. But as a taxidermist. And not because he couldn't skin, mount, paint, mold, cast; but because those outsourced to China Signature series blanks were awful, and deserved criticism. Especially from his customers. The US blank line was much better. It was a pioneering move in some respects to produce the SS and may have put money in some pockets, but those blanks were a step backwards in taxidermy and a business move in the wrong direction, imo.

    But, anytime there is mentoring and direction given, especially when it's free, that's worth a tip of the cap. I don't doubt he has earned that, as have so many others who made much or naught in "the industry."
  5. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    York, SC
    Archie was one of the most successful business men I’ve known personally
    And what drives most people to not like him
    Was his ability to make millions from a chicken coop
    He did say at one time a mistake he made was buying the China stuff
    But a man that makes no mistakes will never grow
  6. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    I don't rate people on business success, so when that's thrown around it does nothing for me.

    I'm glad to hear he felt the SS was a mistake. I felt the same way.

    I don't "not like" Archie. Maybe there are people who actually don't or didn't care for him. I never knew Archie and I don't follow the gossip.
  7. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    York, SC
    Nether do I follow gossip
    I knew him personally
    And his professionalism was far superior than most of the want-a-bees on here
    I’ve meet several outstanding guys on here personally
    Terry W, Paul B, rich K , rich B ,
    And like Archie these guys have a humble side to teach
    And they are the new pioneers
  8. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    I always liked Archie. As for those cheap Chinese blanks, I've made thousands of dollars painting those "silver fish" and selling them. I continue to see them in catfish and seafood restaurants. Actually, time is a lot better on them than many skin mounts I see in the same establishments. I've sold marlins and sharks that I got them to completely finish. The 42" redfish (Chinese) was also a popular item.
  9. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    Yeah, those guys have shared some great stuff on the forum(s). I don't know them personally though.

    There's many unmentioned who have shared a great deal as well, a few whom I've really learned a lot from, and who were/are really cutting edge so far as fish work.

    Mostly it's just us want-a-bees round here anymore, lol.
  10. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Another name that doesn't surface often is Mr Sam Touchstone. He brought taxidermy in my world out of the dark ages of the NWST leaflets. I never met him, but always admired him. Occasionally, ! take in an old fish to repaint that came from Touchstone Taxidermy.
  11. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    There's some neat videos about his life and work. Most comprehensively, "Taxidermy in Action"
    joeym likes this.
  12. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    As for recent pioneering work in fish taxidermy,

    I felt Tyler Erickson was into some pretty progressive stuff before his partnership with McKenzie.

    M. Fahrni's micro detailing system is certainly cutting edge in our field as well.

    But only slightly less recently there's been so many unique approaches to fish replication shared over the years on the forum and in trade magazines. If anything that buzz has faded some.
  13. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    Oh, I also must mention the NatGeo Monster Fish exhibit folks, they did something pretty special imo. Giant fish models that kids can touch and even crawl on. Well executed taxidermy.
  14. fishmaster

    fishmaster Well-Known Member

    Gary Staab, Staab studios did a lot of those fish. Google that shop name sometime if you want to be impressed. He's a good friend and just down the road from me.
    1fish2fish likes this.
  15. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

    I’ve haven’t been doing this very long, but what about guys guys like Dave Campbell, Terry Wieck, Gary Bruchs, and Frank Kotula? They seem to have taken what they learned from other and took it to the next level in the 90s.
  16. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    York, SC
    These guys are super fish guys my intent was the innovations pushed
    Terry W, Paul B , Rick Krane
    I can go on and on
    The guys I mentioned really started a drive into fish
    There are so many out here that contribute some more than others
    And the industry is getting bigger by he day
    Here’s another name allot won’t know
    Except George and a few others
    Charlie Fleming , heck for that matter Leon pray
    These two are also legends to me
  17. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    I understand your intent here Clew, at least I think I do but, I believe there is more to it than just those that have made it "Big" in this trade. I get inspiration from many here that may not ever reach that status or even strive to do so. I'd be surprised if those mentioned prior, actually came up with their innovations exclusively alone. Sure they may have improved something but there is always someone tweaking methods or thinking about it, but they just do it for self improvement.
    Pikeonthefly and Clew like this.
  18. Pescado

    Pescado Biggest in 2011

    A couple good examples are urethane fins instead of hot glue fins, molded in a quality two part molding silicone, degassed in a vacuum chamber instead of tube silicone. Or how about using lens cleaning tissue instead of silkspan for a more transparent natural looking real fin. These are just a few things I improved on that were other peoples methods. Not reinventing the wheel, just making the wheel better.
    Paul B
    John C, Clew, 1fish2fish and 2 others like this.
  19. tony Canova fro Colorado. Dale Coronet from Michigan..
    1fish2fish, Richard C and Clew like this.
  20. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    I think legends and innovators/pioneers are often congruous, but not always. And then there's a subjective aspect to these conversations that doesn't have to do with any potential bias, just exposure.

    For example, you name Terry W as someone who has pushed innovations. I am certainly fond of his expertise in molding and casting (not just fish), and believe he is innovative in so doing. But I couldn't share a single innovative approach or technique of his as I've never come across that information.

    Meanwhile, Jeff Lumsden, whom I've also never met or spoken to, has commercialized plastic eye blanks that many highly tout and to my knowledge were an industry first addressing some of the problems with glass blanks.

    So his name comes to my mind on this topic even though Terry's comes to yours.

    Or for instance, Dale Cornetet and Pete Harum have produced a couple of steelhead mounts that I find extraordinarily impressive, but I know about some of the cutting edge stuff that went into Pete's and nothing more of Dale's other than it looks amazing. That's not to say it or he wasn't highly innovative.

    So, much of the conversation of pioneers and innovators has to do with our own exposure. But, threads like this help us to grow that exposure and recognize, appreciate, and marvel at the skill and creativity of others. And as well, provide a springboard for progress to continue and for each of us to find our best stuff.

    When I started learning on this forum, Josh Knuth was massively explorative in his methods, I'd say more than anyone in fish, at least to my knowledge, because he was very open about much of it. Personally, for me, Josh and Pete and Mike Vernelson inspired me to think differently and try new approaches with their innovation.

    But guys like Dave C. and Rich and Gary B., etc. shared proven techniques and skills to build a foundation for exceptional taxidermy that were/are essential to me (and as well flooded my mind with both questions and answers on how I could achieve my best work). That's not to say they are not innovative. In fact I know Dave in particular has been very explorative and pioneering, but by the time I hopped onboard he'd shared much and it was more like common knowledge here.

    And then folks like Timjo and Paul B and Dan B. did a bit of both, not to mention just inspiring me with their work.

    There were taxidermists who always had the correct answers on even really weird stuff, like fishmaster, so you know he/she'd been there and done that already, even when something seemed quite novel.

    And how can we deny the power of inspirational talent. This is a huge list for me and one I can't comprehensively relate in the moment, but some popular names of folks who've posted here that come to mind are taxidermists like Brett Wingfield, Steve Klee, Steve Silseth, Frank, Jeff Mourning, just to name a few.

    Then there's those with no presence on the forum...like say Luke Filmer.

    And the lesser known folk, like Sdrenth too.

    And staples on the forum at one time, like Cole and Jimmy L, A. Stehlings, Doug P., Kirby Ross.

    And folks from overseas, Olllie, Lapiosse, JE, Sarmite and many more-I remember being so interested in RP's pursuit of Dottie-

    I'm glad many of these artists are still active in this craft. Legends aren't for the living. And so it's somewhat bittersweet that I'm reminded of Dave Smith' tribute to the late Ron Pittard, a legend in fish taxidermy and a pioneer.

    Last edited: Feb 4, 2022