New York artist Takeshi Yamada creates spectacular taxidermy gaffs–frauds and fakes that are right at home in a Victorian cabinet of curiosity or PT Barnum's American Museum of the 19th century. (Seen here, Yamada's Human-faced fly with penny.) Culture chronicler Silke Tudor wrote a wonderful profile of Yamada in last week's Village Voice after meeting him at a recent bizarre taxidermy confab orchestrated by BB pal Robert Marbury of the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermy.
From the Village Voice profile:
Born out of the mythos of Coney Island, Yamada's present-day cosmos includes several six-foot-long Mongolian death worms; a pair of Fiji mermaids; a two-headed baby; a hairy trout; a seven-fingered hand; fossilized fairies; jackalope stew; a five-foot-long bloodsucking chupacabra; a 16th-century homunculus; a legion of samurai warriors trapped in the bodies of horseshoe crabs; a tiny marsh dragon; a coven of freakishly large, nuclear-radiated stag beetles from Bikini Atoll; and a furry mer-bunny, all of which are brought to life using old bones, shells, resin, origami, and bits and pieces of refuse, both inorganic and fleshy.
"In the East, abnormalities are not seen as shocking," explains Yamada as he slogs through a deep, soggy thicket behind a baseball field. "The freakish is not a bad thing. It can represent the mystery of the universe. An expression of divinity. A blessing."
He felt a bit differently when a tiny, horn-like tumor began to grow out of his finger after he moved to Coney Island.
"Shazam!" exclaims Yamada, as he often does. "I was like jackalope!"