Friday, July 30

THE ART OF THE TROPHY: Notes from Wall, New Jersey

Part One.

I recently traveled to New Jersey. Specifically, to Wildlife Taxidermy on State Route 71 in Wall, New Jersey.

This trip was led by my friend who had scheduled a meeting with her taxidermist, Richard, to discuss the posture and mounting details of her recently-ordered white peacock (a rare peacock breed that merits a 1 1/2 year long wait list).

Considering Richard's clients are typically either red-blooded, tobacco-chewing sportsmen or wealthy New Jersey eccentrics, I think he was tickled to have three young, wide-eyed Manhattans in sundresses in his studio asking for all the hairy details of taxidermy. He was a great host.

His career began when he shot a buck in 1975 and sent it off to a taxidermist. Appalled at the botched trophy that was returned to him, Richard decided to take matters into his own two hands. He's been stuffing animals ever since.

Richard is a professional--he doesn't mess around with Rogue or Anthropomorphic Taxidermy. You won't find creepy squirrels in bow-ties playing chess in his studio. Rather, Richard has studied the animals he works with down to every nostril shape and has perfected capturing the animal's natural look. In the end, Richard is an artist--transforming triumph and bravery into wall-hangings for his fellow adventuresome Americans!

Over the course of the afternoon, we toured his studio, talked tools, fantasized about a full-size mounted elephant, and peeked into his freezers full of zip-locked carcasses. Needless to say, it was a blast!

American man I am.

Observe: the items in the liquid are possum fetuses. A couple from California drove their car over a possum, then decided they would like their dear roadkill stuffed and mounted and cherished forever. They called upon Taxidermist Richard to get the job done. It turns out the ill-fated possum was pregnant and her fetuses now rest quietly on Richard's desk.

Wall, New Jersey.

1 comment:

rgswildlife said...

Thank you for the nice write up, I just found it. It was nice talking to you guys and gals, I know the girl who is getting married this May loves her White Peacock. Again Thanks.
Richard G. Santomauro Wildlife Taxidermy 1732 State Highway # 71 Wall NJ 07719