Creature Features

Written by Cody Fitzpatrick Category: Lifestyle Issue: May 2018
Group Free

Taxidermy is enjoying a resurgence, thanks to quirky design trends and millennial irony.

photography by Angelina Aragon; Wall CharmersAs beards, flannel and farming went before it, taxidermy has jumped the shark into Hipsterville. Once the purview of your deer-hunting uncle’s man cave or great-grandmother’s musty Victorian manse, stuffed animals – real and faux – are now being deployed by cool kids in twee bookshelf assemblages and artfully random gallery walls.  

Curious Nature
Curious Nature stocks traditional taxidermy – deer, birds, raccoons, rams – among its more macabre oddities, like “wet specimens,” aka snakes, frogs, centipedes, chicks and even a fetal pig preserved in liquid in clear jars. Curious Nature also offers classes. On May 26, for $200 per person, students can learn the art of taxidermy with rats, which they’ll get to take home. Attendees are encouraged to bring “any props or accessories they would like to use in their finished piece.”
5032 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
602-314-4346, curiousnatureshop.com
 
Wall Charmers ->
Vegan? Vegetarian? Simply creeped out by keeping a dead animal in your home? Wall Charmers of Chandler produces “faux taxidermy,” a contemporary and cruelty-free twist on the old art form. Using polyresin, Wall Charmers makes lightweight models of all the taxidermy classics, such as deer, antelope and bear heads, which are then customized. The absence of skin and fur allows the artists to take some creative liberties, such as giving deer pink heads and glittery gold antlers. You can even order a bespoke unicorn.
wallcharmers.com

Southwest Wildlife
For the aspiring taxidermy professional, Southwest Wildlife carries everything necessary to set up realistic nature scenes à la Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shops: birds, fish, mammals as big as bears and an impressive array of taxidermy equipment and accessories, such as FLEXROCK and E-Z Dirt (for building displays) and Southwest Wildlife hide paste (adhesive specially formulated for animal hides). SW’s artisans will even do repairs on taxidermy heirlooms that have seen better days.
16443 N. 91st St., Scottsdale
480-661-0372, swwildlife.com