Custom vs. Classic

Lion #56 – Custom

There are two types of taxidermy produced today. The vast majority is commercial.  That is to say the taxidermist orders a commercial mannequin from a catalog.  Some of these mannequins are well shaped with good anatomy – others not so much.  In either case, once that mannequin is in the hands of the taxidermist, it becomes the foundation of the mount.  The eyes are set, the horns attach, and the skin is applied and sutured.  This is done with varying amounts of craftmanship.  It is pretty straightforward.

Lion #57 – Classic

The other option is custom mounts.  Here the mannequin is altered substantially if not completely independently sculptured for both the size of the skin and the unique gesture of the animal.  This requires a great deal more time, knowledge, and ability.  Less than 10% of animals are custom mounted.  They are more expensive because of the time required but the difference is significant.

Mule Deer #20 – Classic

What Animal Artistry has chosen to do is utilize the best of both.  Starting with the best commercial mannequin, we find ways to improve it – making a minor change to achieve a subtle gesture and a unique look.  We are able to do this because of the experience of our staff and it does not reflect an additional cost.  We call these the classics.

Mule Deer #40 – Custom

On the other hand, we also create complete custom mounts – animals that are in motion, sometimes reacting to one another, bounding, even airborne.  These extreme custom gestures require an understanding of anatomy as well as engineering since we have to weld support rods to sustain the mount.  We realize that for most people, the full custom option is not practical being too costly (between 20%-50% more) and in many cases creating a display that is too big. Therefore, we spend the majority of our time on the classics – giving them unique gestures and subtle looks at a standard price.

Brown Bear #25 – Classic

Here you get both – we’re on top of the game!

Brown Bear #23 – Custom

The Hunter Artist

The first humans were hunter-gatherers and their first expression 40,000 years ago was art.  This cave art celebrates both the animal and the hunt. Other primitive cultures expressed the same in petroglyphs and totems.  In fact, the ancient hunter so respected the beauty of the animal that he took his namesake and decorated his dwellings as well as himself with hides, feathers, and claws.  It was a sincere desire to take the beauty and strength of the animal kingdom to himself.  The art of taxidermy seeks the same, and together  we are a part of this ancient longing.

Mike Boyce has been a hunter since childhood.  Having traveled from the Arctic to Africa he has gained immeasurable stories and knowledge.  Throughout those experiences, he was captivated by the beauty of big game animals and sought a way to express what he felt.  Thirty years ago, he founded Animal Artistry, a company that is built on “the art of the animal.”  We all regard animals as so much more than trophies, they are art.

We humans were the first hunters and the first artists and at Animal Artistry we continue this ancient history.

This is but the first post of many to come for our site; Mike will use this space to speak to you personally on the topics of hunting, artistry, taxidermy, and more.  Thanks for reading, be sure to like us on Facebook!