How did you get into taxidermy?

When I was young, I would collect rocks, seashells, and flowers after playing outside of my childhood home in Miami, Florida. Though they weren’t anything rare or special, these tiny pieces of nature were treasures in my small, mostly concrete world. One evening, I saw a lizard crawl into our mosquito zapper and face the inevitable. I felt awful about his death, but thought he would enjoy a post mortem home nestled in my collection of natural curiosities. Needless to say, he stunk after a few days, and I learned my first lesson in decomposition. This was my first experience with death, and from then on, I have always been curious about (and fascinated by) that liminal space between life and death, science and art. I’d marvel at how wildlife adapted to survive in bustling cities, and saw the preserved specimens at natural history museums as works of art.

I always thought anatomy and inner workings were beautiful, fascinated at how the inside and outside of something works harmoniously. I pursued taxidermy first as a hobby by reading manuals, watching instructional videos, and eventually seeking out professional training. Although I have been practicing in some form since 2007, I made a career change in 2014, and am constantly reading, experimenting, and learning. We are lucky to live in a time of endless possibilities and ever changing technology, so I try to use this to my advantage in never passing up an opportunity to learn or share. The bulk of my education has come from state taxidermy shows and competitions, where experienced masters in the field provide critiques.

divya anantharaman