A rogue taxidermy class, taught by a well-qualified Katie Innamorato, is happening on Saturday November 1st at Paint the Town Mobile, located downtown at 412 Dauphin Street. This is a full six hour (12pm-6pm) workshop where attendees will receive instruction in beginning taxidermy of a non-traditional sort. Participants will choose between either a guinea pig or a rat specimen and will be able to take home the finished project.
Suzy Beique from Paint the Town explained how they came to host the event: “She was looking to do something here in the South and had reached out to a few people. One of those ladies then approached me about hosting it in my shop and I thought it was a great opportunity.”
Innamorato has been featured on the TV show “Oddities” as well as the spinoff “Odd Folks Home.” Her work has won multiple awards, and appeared in several publications as well as has been on display at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in California. She is included in a recent VICE magazine write-up about the female dominated field.
Rogue taxidermy is a term coined about ten years ago by a group in Minnesota called, plainly enough, the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists, of which Innamorato is on the board of directors. According to the group’s website, rogue taxidermy is specifically defined as “a genre of pop-surrealist art characterized by mixed media sculptures containing conventional taxidermy related materials used in an unconventional manner.”
We are not talking about your uncle’s deer mount here, although, many MART members are professionally trained in the traditional field. What sets rogue taxidermists apart is the specific ethical guidelines that define which sources are acceptable to use as well as the liberties taken for the final display. Their specimens come from “roadkill, discarded livestock remnants, casualties of the pet trade, animals that die of natural causes, and destroyed nuisance animals that are donated to them.” The non-traditional posturing, use of mixed specimens, and multimedia approach often attempt to create a dialogue or take on an alternate meaning, aside from simply recreating lifelike poses.
Innamorato says the guinea pigs and rats are repurposed frozen snake-feeders, a source that, although used typically for classes, still feels a little borderline. She explains in a CULTURE interview, “We always discuss this during classes and nothing ever gets wasted; I explain how to clean bones to students and how to make proper wet specimens with the carcasses. For the classes they make sense, everyone gets a similar animal with little variables.”
According to Metro West Daily News, a participant in one of Innamorato’s workshops at Pandora’s Box in Milford, Massachusetts said, “you’re bringing new life to something other people look at as gross. As an art form, it really is nice and respectful.” The owner of the store, Heather Bowser, often hosts the workshops, and says the taboo is starting to wear off. “Five to 10 years ago, people would have just thought we were weird, but now it’s considered cool.”
Learn more about Katie Innamorato on her website- http://www.afterlifeanatomy.com/ –
and purchase your ticket ahead the November 1st class to help her with preparation. However, no advance purchase is necessary. Tickets are $215 and all materials are included!