The last forty years have taught me many lessons, and I’d be hard-pressed to decide which is the most valuable. But an enduring theme in life — particularly now, during this global pandemic — is the value of work for work’s sake. Here’s what I’ve learned: if we do things primarily for money, it’s never enough, and we’re never satisfied. If we do things because we love it, the process itself is very gratifying, and eventually, the money shows up.
When I decided to become a taxidermist, there was absolutely no model out there of any financially successful taxidermist. They lived hand to mouth and their lifestyle was average at best, yet there was something about the process of creating animals in an artistic manner that was irresistible to me. If you’ve followed this blog, you know that I started in my garage and gave myself two years to see if I could make a living. Those two years went by in a blur and we were still standing, and I realized just how much I loved what I was doing. Against all advice and common sense, I continued to pursue my bliss.
Now, some 40 years later, I look back and realize that yes, indeed, the money did come. But more importantly, there’s been incredible joy over those forty years that comes from being able to create new and amazing pieces of art — work I’ve truly enjoyed, which has brought joy to other folks — and it’s a feeling that transcends money. I consider it a privilege to make my living in a field I love. I also realize that I also did not step into this with any real motivation about money. When I look at other endeavors, I think this principle is true. Some people are wired differently and making money is something they’re very good at — it really doesn’t matter what endeavor they take on, it produces financial rewards. For other folks, who aren’t wired that way, finding what we love to do is the most important thing.
You’ll have to decide what makes you tick, but I can promise you this — the work we do here at Animal Artistry has earned its reputation because all of us here really love what we do. We’re a team of artists, and we’ve combined our passion for creating art with a deep respect for our customers. They want the same thing we do — innovative, realistic, incredible animal trophies. How lucky are we who get to create them!