In 2013, I went on a three month road-trip through the eastern and southern parts of the US. Apart from the constantly changing, but always pretty nature, the interesting culture, and the super friendly people I fell in love with the art of taxidermy.
In the southern parts of the US, taxidermy is something that is in their culture.
I was super amazed by how common it was to see dead animals in restaurants, bars, hotels, and homes. But what also surprised me was how real all these animals looked. How was that possible?!
Back home I couldn’t let go of the idea of learning how to mount animals. The reactions when I told people I wanted to learn taxidermy were really varied. Some friends immediately saw it as an art and well suited for me, while others thought it was cruel. For me it was not cruel, but something beautiful. Every time I had the chance to check out a mounted bobcat or a squirrel from up close, I took it, and it made me respect the animal even more. Killing an animal without purpose or with the purpose just to mount it, is something different. That is not the way I approach taxidermy. I don’t shoot animals and I don’t have the intention to do so in the future. I think it is a very special thing that we can preserve animals that already passed away, and give them a longer life through mounting them. It’s a profession that deserves to be seen for what it can be. An art.
In 2014, I went back to the US for a taxidermy course in Show Low, Arizona. There, I skinned my first fox, which was a very unique experience. I never had more respect for a fox than at that very moment. It was built so perfectly, not to compare with anything men-made. This is when I knew, I wanted to become a taxidermist. I want to try to pass the feeling of respect and beauty I felt for animals at that very moment through my work as a taxidermist.
I learned a lot about myself during that trip. The fact that I have no patience, that I can’t live on fastfood 2 times a day, and that people with different ideas can still become your friend.
Back home I attended two more mounting courses and passed the Government Exam for taxidermy to become an officially acknowledged taxidermist.
I practice taxidermy with animals that died a natural death or died because of reasons I know of and are not cruel in any way. During the years, of performing taxidermy, my work slowly became more artistic. Today, I try to perform taxidermy in a way that shows how perfect nature can be. And I surely hope you can see that too.