In 1987, Marc Butler was 15 years old and attending his first Safari Club International show. There, he saw the work of Mike Boyce and Animal Artistry, and even at a young age, he understood that they shared a similar understanding of the purpose of taxidermy. “What taxidermy represents to me is an adventure,” Marc says. “I’m a real hunter, a purist, and I only want to mount something that has a great story. Mike understands that, and his work captures the essence of the adventure, the risk, and everything that went into the hunt.”
Two years ago, Marc harvested a leopard in Zimbabwe. “Mike’s the best in the world at cats,” he says, and he couldn’t wait to see the story his mount would tell. “Mike is an artist. I tell him the story of the hunt — because he’s also a hunter — and then I tell him to surprise me. I just let him go. And I’ve got some pieces that are just incredible.” The leopard mount features the cat leaping in the air, poised to grab a bounding impala, and for Marc, it’s a stunning depiction of a memorable adventure.
Animal Artistry has had the pleasure of working on a number of projects for Marc. “I have a big boar I shot with a good friend. It was a special hunt,” he shares. “The boar is leaping through the air and there’s a rattlesnake reaching up and striking the boar. The only place it touches the ground is the snake. It’s in our office and people just marvel at it, they’ll stand there for hours.”
Marc’s experience with other taxidermists gives him a unique perspective on the different approach taken here at Animal Artistry. “Those folks are more small business people,” he says. “They’re not really in it for the art or the love of capturing the adventure.” It shows, he says, in the bug-eyed, straightforward mounts they create. And it’s in stark contrast to the artwork created at Animal Artistry. “People should know that for the difference in quality and creativity, Animal Artistry really doesn’t cost any more money,” Marc says. “It’s great value, and Mike’s work is truly superior to anybody else. He’s just a wonderful, wonderful artist."