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Can You Name This Gorilla

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by Joe Kish, May 4, 2023.

  1. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member

    Ho John,
    First off – Let it be known to all that notwithstanding all the s**t that has been thrown at you on this website because of your apparent stance on politics, you and I have been friends for a lot of years. I’m as much a conservative as you are a liberal, but our friendship has endured in spite of past and present political winds and because of mutual respect for each other’s opinions and much more importantly, a genuine shared interest in taxidermy, sculpting and artistic endeavors that rise above all political BS. That aside,

    Your current contribution to this subject tells me that you too are one of the select few in our field who has shown what I refer to as “a proprietary interest” in the art of taxidermy. This is easily evidenced by your contribution, at your expense in time, etc., by creating fantastic videos with Travis DeVill. on molding a coyote mouth and then a klipspringer skull – FOR THE BENEFIT AND ENLIGHTENMENT of other aspiring taxidermists – Those with the same passions for the art as a teenage John Bellucci or a young Joe Kish.

    Let all take notice that once more you have contributed your time and effort with this recent post of additional important phases in the re-creation of Bushman that has kept the subject and discussion alive and should stimulate others to see possibilities that could advance their own efforts and careers. I truly appreciate that you and those before you who have posted intelligent and useful opinions, pictures, etc., have saved me a lot of time and effort. I thank all who have drawn me back into the discussion when I was about to go elsewhere.

    (P.S. – where’s my copy of the Taxi Today article I thought you were going to Xerox for me?)

    Ho John,
    Last edited: May 11, 2023
    LordRusty likes this.
  2. tahrman7mm

    tahrman7mm New Member

    great insights into the work.

  3. LordRusty

    LordRusty If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

    Thanks for your kind words! It really means a lot!

    Now ... I still need your mailing address to send you the article ... e-mail me your address. [email protected]
    As soon as I hear from you with your address, I can mail the article right out for you! ;)
  4. creepers

    creepers natural history preparator

    Kerby Ross and tahrman7mm like this.
  5. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Hell, this is a great thread on the art of taxidermy but I didn't see it because I don't often look through other sections because of all the political nonsense. Working on a gorilla would be a very unique opportunity indeed and those mounts were done by masters with the old tech and not premade forms.
  6. Clovis Point

    Clovis Point Active Member

    With all due respect, I aint got time to think about no damn gorillas.... and couldnt give 2 shits.... you know why? cuz I got bills to pay and my phone has never once rang and someone asked me if I could mount their gorilla. I am not stupid, I understand that there are a very small number of true artist in this realm, people with a God given talent for such things, and that I aint one of them. A craftsman, yes.... an artist, nah. For those that are, I wish you the joy of it.

    About half of my waking hours already go to taxidermy related things that actually do help me cover the ever increasing price to be alive. It takes that much for me to handle the workload I already have plus time learning techniques that stand a chance of me actually seeing some return on that time invested. I DO NOT APOLOGISE for divesting my limited minority remaining free time that doesnt go to servicing all my familys vehicles because I cant afford to pay someone else to, maintaining my yard because I cant afford to pay someone else to, and helping clean and upkeep the home that the bank owns and allows me to live in because I cant afford to pay someone else to ------ to spending time with my 4 and 7 year old kiddos who are growing up too fast (and their momma too), studying the Word and trying to grow in my walk with God, watching a baseball game, rock hunting, or putting a boat on the river ...... aka the few things that actually bring me a little joy during my time on this rock.

    Simply put, If it dont make dollars [or bring you a little happiness] it don't make sense, atleast for me at this point in my life .
  7. tahrman7mm

    tahrman7mm New Member

    CP, if ignorance is bliss then you must be a very happy man. But clearly, you are not. I can only summarize from your rant that you have not been in this business long enough or are a student of modern taxidermy history to know how to value your work. I find it interesting that you unapologetically have the arrogance to disrespect the founders of the very industry which you rely upon to make your living. "You Can't Really Know Where You Are Going Until You Know Where You Have Been" - Maya Angelou.
    Where do you think the mannikins upon which you mount your deer evolved from? Where do you think the public aspiration for taxidermy in their own home started? Upon whose shoulders is the entire industry as we know it today built? Who was the first to share the "trade secret" techniques which make you more efficient at the trade?
    Have you considered if you did aspire to a more creative or artistic you might be better off?
    Why be mediocre? When there is ample inspiration in this very post. No one ever achieved anything by lowballing their skill set or at the very least looking to greats that become before them for inspiration. While inspiration is not the same as effort, effort is an essential condition for inspiration. You can do better. You owe that to your clients, your family, and yourself.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2023
  8. Clovis Point

    Clovis Point Active Member

    Value, by its very definition is what someone is willing to pay for something, and is largely determined by market demand. I value my work at exactly that... what folks are willing to give me for it in the market in which I exist. Why be mediocre? because the losses necessary to become excellent will not return the necessary profits to justify the investment. Maybe if I had some of that God given talent (thus requiring less capital to achieve such gains) I would consider it.... but I'm just smart enough to know how stupid I am....... thus, I am the Dollar General of taxidermist. Thats all right with me, I dont forsee the local DG going out of business any time soon. I cannot say that for the boujie little boutique that just opened up the road. Sure, their quality is x2 as good but their prices are 3x.... and when everybody within your market is struggling to pay their bills and keep up with the times, folks whose wage is the same as it was 3 years ago ....... well they dont give a rats ass about whether or not they can see veins in the septums of their deer mount any more than they care that the clothes for sale at the boutique are better than what's for sale at the DG. They just want their trophy mounted and for it to not look like shit to the average eyeball and themselves not to be fleeced in the process (like they are everywhere else in their lives) UA.jpg . Therefore they get this level of quality, for $500.

    As to paying homage to those who came before me and put in the work necessary for the creation of the commercial forms that I buy in order to churn out my commercial level work? well they get whatever their cut of the $100+ I paid for the damn things is..... and I wish them the joy of it. If they arent getting enough for their efforts, they should have been better negotiators
  9. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Those are early 90s prices around here.
    Kerby Ross likes this.
  10. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member


    My Wage

    “I bargained with Life for a penny,
    And Life would pay no more,
    However I begged at evening
    When I counted my scanty store.

    For Life is a just employer,
    He gives you what you ask,
    But once you have set the wages,
    Why, you must bear the task.

    I worked for a menial’s hire,
    Only to learn, dismayed,
    That any wage I had asked of Life,
    Life would have willingly paid.”

    -Jessie B. Rittenhouse

    Read more https://www.happypublishing.com/blog/i-bargained-with-life/
    LordRusty likes this.
  11. Clovis Point

    Clovis Point Active Member

    Whats the average home/rent price around there? My brother in law pays $500/month for a 3br 1.5bath brick ranch with full basement and barn. I bought the home I am in now, which is a 3br 2 bath with detatched 2 car garage (my shop) for $58k in 2019.... I bet where you live $500 a month wont get a person a 1 bedroom apartment and there are no single family units for sale less than $150k

    The purpose of this tangent is to convey the point that each market is different and proportionate to cost of living... For example, I have a sister who lives in an upscale Nashville neighborhood (neighbors are an MLB player and a member of the band Cage the Elephant) and she just had an in ground pool put in that cost her $150k... I showed pics of it to a friend of mine who is a contractor who specialises in concrete and asked him what it would have cost me to have the same work done here, and he said $45k-$55k

    Yalls world is very different from mine
  12. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member

    As the gorilla thread seems to have played out, I don't mind drifting to other matters. I have often wondered about your Clovis Point, I think it's called an avatar. You likely explained this before, but I didn't catch it. I have read a lot of archeology and the origins of homo sapiens including indigenous native Americans. Since you're not in New Mexico, how came you to use "Clovis Point" as your handle here? Particularly since it doesn't look like a clovis point. Any light you care to share would be appreciated.
  13. Kerby Ross

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

    Funny how people try to justify their low ball pricing with ignorance.

    The majority of figuring out pricing is the cost of materials/supplies and man hours it takes to do the mount. Yes, there are other variables, but those two are the main factors. And unless you are ordering from the General Dollar Taxidermy supply company .... Every taxidermist has to order their supplies from the same group of available taxidermy supply companies that everyone else uses.

    Keith likes this.
  14. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Those supply costs are the same in Tanglewood's world as they are in Clovis Point's world.

    I lived in Clovis NM for some time. It was nice.
    Kerby Ross likes this.
  15. Clovis Point

    Clovis Point Active Member

    I opted for Clovis Point simply because I have always been an avid artifact hunter and also very interested in my partial native heritage. I named my business Tomahawk Taxidermy because I like alliteration names that have a nice sounding ring to them and my name (Jay Cottrell) nor my location (Upton/Bonnieville/Hart County/Green River) had that quality.... The corner notched Kirk used in my avatar is just one of my more special finds I was fortunate/dilligent enough to find in my flint seeking wanderings.
  16. Clovis Point

    Clovis Point Active Member

    Aye, but if no one will pay your prices then you can die upon the hill of honorable bankruptcy. I however choose to do what I must to survive. I covert the cost of materials on every job I do and what remains typically equates to a "shop rate" or profit rate of $40-$70 an hour. Considering my shop is on property I already own outright, I heat it with wood that I cut for free, other utilities being lumped in with my homeowners expenses, and my families health insurance falling under the gracious umbrella of my wifes employer (the Commonwealth of Kentucky) I am modestly profitable.

    The word MODESTLY is important in this context, DONT discount my words when I say where I come from is not like where most of you come from. It is a very sad and unfortunate fact that pretty much everywhere else in the civilised world except the dwindling number of places like this hunting is a privilege reserved for only the wealthy.
    Simply put: Poor people in New England, around the great lakes, and on the west coast simply do not hunt. Urbanization and the number of people per square mile make it so that a blue collar working man just cant afford it. They would have to pay thousands of dollars for leases or fight over scarce public lands, and have to travel and cover lodging expenses as well as the already high logistical costs of rifle, optics, license, tags, sxs or 4wheeler etc etc .......basically, ol poor boys like me and almost everyone around me who make less than $50k a year dont stand a snowballs chance in hell of being able to kill a good buck in most/many places in this country.

    Look up your own counties median annual income (or guestimate the median income of your customers) and then look up the median annual income for a resident of Hart County KY....... We. are. not. like. you.

    One must exist in their own market. My market consist of down home honest folk who dont give a flying f*** about how thin the ears are or whether the septums are translucent when someone holds a flashlight to them. They don't care if it looks so alive they think they gotta shoot it again, if they gotta pay $900 for a deer mount they are going to cut off the antlers and roll on. I understand that if I lived somewhere else that I would need to operate under a different business model. If I were in Nashville or Lexington or Richmond or Salt Lake City or Ft Meyers I would charge x2 as much as I do now (to correlate with my x2 as high cost of living) but I don't live there, I live here, where poor people live, and where poor people are my customers, and I live. My prices are on par with my competition.... There used to be a taxidermist in this county who tried to charge $850 for a deer head, the quality of his work was great..... after attempting to do taxidermy full time for 2 years he went back to work at the local factory up the road because he was unable to sustain himself. If you dont believe me you can send me a pm and Ill give you links to his old facebook page as well as links to my competitions pages/sites and you can see what they are charging.

    I know the quality of my work could be better, but idgaf about
    ribbons (aka d*** measuring contests). I am a member of my state organization and volunteer my time and efforts for that organization because I believe in advancing our industry and improving my craft as well as the commadory and fellowship at the state show every year (as well as getting good deals on materials from vendors and at the auction) but I aint chasing "glory" at the cost of profit bc i dont give a shit about that, I know I am not a talented artist and I know that being one isnt a necessity within my market.

    I know that my circumstances are very different from most of those in this country.... If I lived where you live, I would adapt and be like you. But my family has been running these hills around here since the 1700s and I am not likely to leave. If around here changes, so will I, until then, Ill operate how I ought to. But dont worry all ye high priced master artistes, my lowballing redneck self aint stealing your customers, I am carving out a customer base from a different demographic.
  17. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    So, what you are saying is that you make enough money to make you happy. That is all one can ask for. If it works for you, then it works for you and that is all that matters.
    Clovis Point and 3bears like this.
  18. Kerby Ross

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

    My county in Arizona has a medium income of $23,200 and deer heads range from $700-$1,100.

  19. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    This because no one else was charging $800. If everyone charged $800 in that area, then they would pay it.
  20. I enjoy reading, history and looking at others work. I appreciate those who take their time to share experience and knowledge with all. I wish more had the ability or down right courage it takes to post something on here without having to get ripped to pieces. Taxidermist seem like they are mostly workmen and women to me but I’m not very good at titles. Every shop I’ve ever been to is full of tools, supplies and someone working. The titles we give ourselves as taxidermists seem quite unusual to me and I’ve never understood that part of trade. The word art might be hidden in the word taxidermy but for anyone that’s ever really practiced it the spelling is w-o-r-k. O and that price won’t work in my area, I can’t believe McKenzie charges for shipping, my coon is not big enough and did you see what Biden/ Trump did.
    Clovis Point and Joe Kish like this.