Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest


I love animals but I hate cleaning up after animals. It’s a quandary that has vexed me an forced me to lead a fuzzy-buddy-less life. After last night’s Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest, organized by the mad geniuses at The Secret Science Club, I think I may just have a solution to my pet-desiring woes! Watching the owners of various specimens speak with affection about their still-life critters stirred made me think that maybe–just maybe–I could know some of the joy of animal companionship without any of the messy realities that accompany carbon-based life forms.

Truth be told, I got QUITE snap-happy during the program because there was just so much amazing artwork on display. Just check out Pope Pinenut II up there, created by artist Maria Carreon and part of the collection of Sofia Gonzalez–it’s a squirrel dressed in lovingly crafted papal regalia. His owner recited a moving psalm about the transient nature of life.
Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest
This beautiful piece is a Nineteenth Century automaton composed of two taxidermied songbirds. When the key is turned, the bird sing and flap their wings.
Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest
Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest

Equally as beautiful but on a grander scale is this chandelier composed of crystals and goats’ skulls. An absolutely stunning work when viewed in person–I totally want it in my apartment. NOW.
Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest
Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest

As one familiar with the history of preserved specimens might expect, the Victorians were highly over-represented. These ladies had a gorgeous collection, including the Beast of Some-Colorful-English-Place-Whose-Name-Escapes-Me, which resided in its original fairground display case. It looked to be two conjoined rats, but then again my grasp of biology is rather notoriously poor.
Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest
Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest
Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest

Artist Takeshi Yamada shared his recent creations, a series of monster babies that the artist claims are carefully crafted from samples of his own skin and hair, with a gleeful sense of showmanship. Dude is totally a hero, take my word for it.
Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest
A rare specimen of Waltopithecus, a large rodent species with oversized extremities and only four digits per hand, was displayed by its discoverer.
Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest
Felis Fightus Dansicus, a piece composed of two cats locked in a mortal struggle for kitty supremacy, won Best In Show. The cats appear to be dancing if held upright, which is all different kinds of awesome, as was the way the cats’ owner stroked them lovingly while displaying them to the judges.
For more photos from the Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Show, check out my Flickr photostream. There are many more amazing pieces to view, and I’m already eager to see the wonders of next year’s competition!
For more weird and wonderful mounted creatures, be sure to check out the Tumbl-blog Crappy Taxidermy. It does what it says on the tin, people.
[Please let me know if you are the proud owner of any of these beauties, as I’d love to give you credit.]

15 thoughts on “Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest”

  1. God bless the Secret Science Club.

    Shame they needed more space than Union Hall’s basement though. Bocce and science and alcohol was a winning combo.

  2. hello 🙂 my name is sofia- i’m the owner of pope pinenuts II- i was wondering if i could use your photo of him on the pope’s myspace page?
    it’s a great shot!
    sofiaogonzales[at]gmail.com

    ps: the lovely girl who gave the blessing that night was one of the people who made the pope squirrel for me after a dream i had (her name is maria carreon)

  3. Igloo Keeper, apparently there was a human hand at the last show! Oh what I wouldn’t give for a Hand Of Glory of my veryvery own. *sigh*

    CRwM–the Bell House space is GORGEOUS, though! Well worth the trek. Last night was packed, and I was very fortunate to get a good view. It was a truly magically bizarre event! But yes, there IS something to be said for bocce being added to the mix–you make a compelling point.

    Sofia, you are VERY welcome to use any of my Pope Pinenuts II pictures! I’m so excited that you’ve commented here–he’s just a wonderful piece of art and I’m glad to’ve gotten some good snaps of him. I’ll update the blog entry accordingly with this new info!

  4. Hi, I run the Crappy Taxidermy blog, and I’m stoked that you linked it on your blog! I found your website through your flickr profile. Do you mind if I post a few of your pictures on CT?

  5. Hi Kat! I love your blog and was delighted to learn of its existence during your presentation on Sunday night–glad to send some traffic your way, miss. Please feel free to use any of my photos from my Flickr stream. I got VERY lucky in getting a seat so I just let my shutter finger snap away 🙂

  6. DUDE. I’ve been doing taxidermy/puppetry/robotics for a while (the goal of Puppetkultus was to do something like SRL only really pretty) — it’s really good to see a bunch of people doing this and being really open about it, as there is an element of “putting a finger in the wound” to it which can make people uncomfortable. I’m thinking a lot lately about Litmus Horror, or the type of horror (closely tied to comedy) which basically functions as a kind of funhouse mirror for the audience (I’d put the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Blue Velvet in that category — that’s my dichotomy between coercion and seduction) and experimental taxidermy, all the way back to Frederick Ruysch (and beyond), is definitely a big part of that canon. Excellent photos, by the way!

    (word verification: replate, or serving the same piece of food twice)

  7. Thank you, Dexter! Glad you are enjoying the blog 🙂

    DB, you would have LOVED this event. The artists and collectors were extremely passionate about the topic, and my moderate-level curiosity was very much sparked by their presentations. There was a gent there who had made a dancing muskrat taxidermy, but alas it was impossible for me to get a good photograph. It looked really creepy and road-killey in person.

  8. I, too, share your opinion, although I love furry creatures alive or dead, and happen to have a multitude of fur children (five cats). But I also once studied to be taxidermist and have tons of taxidermy (as well as lots of sideshow gaffs) here in my horror palace, so your post was most intriguing.

    Long live the art of taxidermy!!

  9. Jenn, you would’ve loved this event! You should seriously consider bringing up a piece (or more!) for next year’s event–apparently, this is an annual shindig. I’m sure your work would be very much appreciated! And I’m envious of your having cats that get along with your taxidermy art. I went through a very brief phase during art sk00l in which I wore thrift shop furs, and pets would go BONKERS over them. Between that and the fact that I shed like a mad bastard all over my friends’ couches, it was a short-lived fad of mine…

  10. The taxidermy contest was truly awesome. The home-made sideshow freak babies of Dr. Takeshi Yamada were breathaking. I also loved his showmanship! Also, the 19th century robot singing bird in the cage was also awesome.

  11. The taxidermy contest was awesome! I loved the freak sideshow babies of Dr. Takeshi Yamada. I also loved the antique singing bird robot of the 19th century.

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