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Posts Tagged ‘Takeshi Yamada’

Jersey Devil

Takeshi Yamada and his Jersey Devils at the Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest in 2011. Photo © Takeshi Yamada

The last time Takeshi Yamada competed in the Secret Science Club’s Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest was in 2011, when he won the “Shock and Awe Award” for his Jersey Devils. He also brought along a freak snake human baby and his constant companion the Sea Rabbit Seara. The Coney Island artist and rogue taxidermist will unveil his newest wonders and curiosities when the event returns to Brooklyn’s Bell House on Sunday evening. The contest was not held in 2012 and 2013 due to Superstorm Sandy, Yamada says.

Fiji Mermaid

Rogue Taxidermy by Takeshi Yamada via takeshiyamada.weebly.com

At the 2009 contest, Yamada was awarded “The Most Twisted Prize” for his family of freak show babies made from his own skin. There’s a Two-headed Baby, Mermaid Baby, Octopus Baby, Lobster Baby, Snake Baby, Penguin Baby, and Three-headed Baby. Yamada also won the Grand Championship of Taxidermy in 2006 for his 6-foot-long mummified Fiji Mermaid. She’s the one he tried to bring for a ride on the Cyclone roller coaster during the Mr. Cyclone Contest!

Yamada, who has an MFA in fine art from the University of Michigan School of Art, considers his artwork “specimens” rather than examples of self expression. His new website shows examples of his rogue taxidermy artwork for sideshows and amusement parks, as well as TV shows and museum collections. There are also links to fan videos like this one from 2009 in which Yamada is the outside talker for his Freak Baby Museum in Coney Island. Special today, $1.00!

The Secret Science Club’s Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest, Sunday, April 6 at the Bell House, 149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd Aves) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Doors 7:00 pm, show at 7:30 pm. This event is 21 and over. $12 advance, $15 at door. Subway: F to 4th Ave; R to 9th St; F or G to Smith/9th

UPDATE April 19, 2014:

Congratulations to Takeshi Yamada for winning the grandmaster’s prize in the Secret Science Club’s contest. He was awarded first prize for his “Five-headed Monster from Hell” and “Giant Space Alien Skull.”

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April 1, 2013: Sea Rabbits Swim Ashore in Coney Island, Up For Adoption

November 29, 2012: Coney Island Taxidermist Takeshi Yamada in AMC Reality Show

September 18, 2010: Photo of the Day: Takeshi Yamada’s Freak Baby Museum at San Gennaro

September 24, 2009: Photo Album: Coney Islanders and Carnies at San Gennaro

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Takeshi Yamada with Baby Mermaid in his Coney Island Studio. Photo via AMC Immortalized

Before Sandy: Takeshi Yamada with Baby Mermaid in his Coney Island Studio. Photo via AMC Immortalized

Tonight at 11 PM, Coney Island artist and rogue taxidermist Takeshi Yamada competes against a challenger in a “Heaven and Hell”-themed taxidermy contest on the 8th and final episode of AMC’s reality series “Immortalized.”

“I really don’t care about the others, Takeshi is the only one I want to watch,” says one of his fans on the series’ Facebook page. We agree, but he is one of our Coney Island friends. Yamada and his sea rabbit Seara are often seen strolling on the Boardwalk and we missed their usual promenade on New Year’s Day and Opening Day. The pair have been on an odyssey since Sandy. Says Yamada:

One of the themes of the show was “Odyssey.” It was exactly what happened. I faced Hurricane Sandy. Hurricane Sandy tried to kill me. It actually destroyed my house with over five feet of water lashing into my sculpture room, bedroom, and living room. And I saw it before — that is why I shipped my first art work [for Immortalized] a week before. If I hadn’t sent it, it would have been completely destroyed.

In Episode 3, “Odyssey,” which aired in February, Yamada displayed a bat-winged, dragon-tailed five-headed goat/fox monster with dragons circling above it and a hand-painted backdrop depicting hell. The “Heaven and Hell”-themed taxidermy art will be revealed in tonight’s episode.

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November 29, 2012: Coney Island Taxidermist Takeshi Yamada in AMC Reality Show

December 8, 2011: Takeshi Yamada’s Jersey Devil Set for Bell House Taxidermy Contest

December 7, 2010: Art of the Day: Freak Taxidermy Skull by Takeshi Yamada

September 18, 2010: Photo of the Day: Takeshi Yamada’s Freak Baby Museum at San Gennaro

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sea Rabbits

Sea Rabbits. Photo © Dr. Takeshi Yamada at the Coney Island Sea Rabbit Repopulation Center

The sea rabbits that swam ashore on Coney Island beach near West 28th Street on Easter Sunday will be up for adoption today. This unique sea-dwelling rabbit was believed to be extinct in the wild until yesterday, when two fishermen walking west on the beach towards Sea Gate saw several of the web-footed rabbits scurrying ashore. “I couldn’t believe my eyes,” said Mikey, a resident of Avenue U, who had come to Coney to fish from the pier but found it closed for repairs. A local animal rescue group picked up the sea rabbits and plans to put them up for adoption or foster care.

ATZ was unable to reach Dr. Takeshi Yamada, the world-renowned expert on the species, for comment on the discovery. Yamada is currently filming the AMC TV reality series “Immortalized.” According to his research, the sea-rabbit is a close relative of the sea lion, and was officially discovered and investigated by Henry Hudson when he first visited this land to colonize the area for the Dutch government. Coney Island was named Conyne Eylandt –Rabbit Island– by the Dutch.

The above photo shows two sea rabbits which are in Dr. Yamada’s care at the Coney Island Sea Rabbit Repopulation Center in Brooklyn, New York. They are Coney Island Sea Rabbit (Monafluffchus americanus) called “Seara” and Coney Island Tiger-striped Sea Rabbit (Monafluffchus konjinicus) called “Stripes.”

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April 6, 2010: Photo Album: Yes, We’re Open! Easter Sunday in Coney Island

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This clip for AMC’s new reality show “Immortalized” introduces Coney Island artist Takeshi Yamada and his world of rogue taxidermy. It’s exciting to see our friend and his sea rabbit Seara, who are among the Boardwalk’s most recognizable eccentrics, on the cusp of TV stardom.

“People love freak show. People are attracted to freaks,” says Yamada as he shows off the taxidermied oddities in his Museum of World of Wonders. “I am one of the most famous freak show gaff masters. A freak show gaff master’s job is to make fake creations such as Fiji Mermaid, Chupacabra, Hairy Trout, those kind of things…”

In the unscripted series, Yamada is one of four “Immortalizers” who will face off against challengers in a taxidermy competition. “I had a great time creating truly monumental scale and spectacular rogue taxidermy monsters for this TV series,” Yamada told ATZ in an interview (“Coney Island Taxidermist Takeshi Yamada in AMC Reality Show,” Nov 29, 2012). “Immortalized” consists of eight, half-hour episodes and premieres on Thursday, February 14 at 10pm.

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December 8, 2011: Takeshi Yamada’s Jersey Devil Set for Bell House Taxidermy Contest

December 7, 2010: Art of the Day: Freak Taxidermy Skull by Takeshi Yamada

September 18, 2010: Photo of the Day: Takeshi Yamada’s Freak Baby Museum at San Gennaro

September 24, 2009: Photo Album: Coney Islanders and Carnies at San Gennaro

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Coney Island Artist and Taxidermist Takeshi Yamada is one of the Immortalizers in AMC’s new series Immortalized. Photo via AMC

ATZ has learned that Coney Island artist and rogue taxidermist Takeshi Yamada will be one of the stars of the new AMC TV reality series “Immortalized” premiering on February 14th. “My sea rabbit will be a household name,” said Yamada, who is one of Coney Island’s most recognizable eccentrics. He is frequently photographed clad in a black tuxedo strolling the Beach and Boardwalk with his sea bunny Seara, a taxidermied wonder with webbed feet and a mermaid’s tail.

In the TV show, Yamada will be one of the taxidermists known as the Immortalizers. According to the press release for the unscripted new series: “Each episode will feature one of four highly regarded ‘Immortalizers’ facing off against a ‘Challenger’ in a competition. Their task is to create a piece to be judged on three criteria: originality, craftsmanship and interpretation of the designated theme. Whether the artists are known for their classic or rogue creations, each week they will work to perfect this centuries-old art form in an unprecedented battle.”

Rogue taxidermy is the creation of oddities and curiosities using traditional taxidermy materials and techniques. “I hope more people will be interested in the art of taxidermy (traditional taxidermy) and rogue taxidermy (freak show taxidermy or sideshow taxidermy) by watching this television show,” Yamada told ATZ. “I had a great time creating truly monumental scale and spectacular rogue taxidermy monsters for this TV series.”

When we first met Takeshi back in 2004, he was creating these gaffed specimens for traveling sideshows and museums. He uses a variety of natural materials to create his taxidermy art, which includes Fiji mermaids, two-headed babies, dog-headed spiders, and a mummified six-fingered hand. Having seen Yamada defend his Grand Master title at the Secret Science Club’s annual Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest at Bell House, we can honestly say his challengers are up against a formidable competitor.

Despite the fact that the first floor of Yamada’s home and studio on Neptune Avenue in Coney Island were devastated by five feet of sewage water during Hurricane Sandy, destroying most of his artwork, the artist remains stoic. “The show must go on,” he says. Takeshi was in the middle of producing two giant sculptures and a wooden crate to ship them to Los Angeles when the storm struck. “Some of the artwork was destroyed or heavily damaged. So, I stayed at my house with no heat, gas, land phone line or electricity for over a week after the hurricane for repairing them –some of my artworks were not saved– and finally FedExed them before the temperature dropped to 27 degrees.”

The AMC series “Immortalized” consists of eight, half-hour episodes and premieres on Thursday, February 14 at 10pm.

Dragons, mermaids, and other wonders on display at public lecture of Dr. Takeshi Yamada at Coney Island Library, October 29, 2010. Photo © Takeshi Yamada via flickr

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December 8, 2011: Takeshi Yamada’s Jersey Devil Set for Bell House Taxidermy Contest

December 7, 2010: Art of the Day: Freak Taxidermy Skull by Takeshi Yamada

September 18, 2010: Photo of the Day: Takeshi Yamada’s Freak Baby Museum at San Gennaro

September 24, 2009: Photo Album: Coney Islanders and Carnies at San Gennaro

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Banner painter Marie Roberts in her Studio at Coney Island USA. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Banner painter Marie Roberts in her Studio at Coney Island USA. January 1, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

This weekend, five of our artist friends who live, work or find their inspiration in Coney Island are opening their studios for the Brooklyn Museum’s “GO! Brooklyn” event. The crowd-curated art project asks visitors to register online, “check in” at least five studios in person and vote for three of them. The ten artists who win the most votes will have a shot at being in a group exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. With over 1,700 artists from 45 Brooklyn nabes participating, creating an itinerary is half the fun. To browse the studios and register, visit the project’s website. The open studio weekend is on September 8 and 9, 2012, from 11am until 7pm.

Let our portraits of the People’s Playground’s truly unusual and talented artists be your guide to “Go! Coney Island.”

Marie Roberts is a third-generation Coney Islander who grew up going to Steeplechase Park and listening to her family’s reminiscences of Dreamland. A professor of art at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Marie found her métier painting the vibrantly colorful banners advertising the Coney Island Circus Sideshow. You can view her work 365 days a year on the CIUSA Building at Surf Avenue and 12th Street. Her studio is located on the second floor of the landmark building.

ATZ first met sculptor, painter and performance artist Daniel Blake aka Africasso in 2007 when he exhibited his sculptural mashup of historic Coney Island rides at the Coney Island History Project. The lifelong Coney Island resident will be showing his giraffe sculptures at Marie’s studio this weekend. Marie Roberts, Coney Island USA, 1208 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11224

Daniel Blake

Africasso’s Art Guitar, Daniel Blake AKA Africasso. June 8, 2008. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

Coney Island resident Takeshi Yamada’s Neptune Avenue studio is his Museum of World Wonders. Among the Osaka-born artist’s curious creations are Fiji mermaids, two-headed babies, a dog-headed spider and other sideshow gaff art. The Grand Champion of Taxidermy at the Secret Science Club’s 2006 Carnivorous Nights shows his work in a variety of venues, from traditional art galleries and museums to midway sideshows. The portrait of Takeshi and his freak baby show was taken at Dreamland, the amusement park set up on the former Astroland site in 2009. One of Coney’s most recognizable eccentrics, Takeshi is frequently seen and photographed clad in a black tuxedo strolling the Boardwalk with his sea rabbit Seara, a taxidermied wonder with webbed feet and a mermaid’s tail. Takeshi Yamada’s Museum of World Wonders, 1405 Neptune Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11224

Artist Takeshi Yamada's Freak Baby Show in Coney Island's Dreamland, Summer 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Artist Takeshi Yamada’s Freak Baby Show in Coney Island’s Dreamland, July 12, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Brooklyn artists Richard Eagan and Philomena Marano co-founded the Coney Island Hysterical Society in 1981 because they were “Hysterical” at the rate that the amusement rides and attractions were shutting down. Joined by like-minded artists and friends the group restored and operated a Spookhouse behind Nathan’s and created an homage to souvenir cut out photo boards. Thirty years later, Eagan and Marano continue to make art “dedicated to keeping the spirit of Coney Island alive” (CIHS motto) in their Gowanus studio.

Richard Eagan AKA Kay Sera with Oceanic Baths at Coney Island Hysterical Society Studio in Gowanus. October 2, 2010. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

These portraits were taken in 2010, when ATZ visited Coney Island Hysterical Society’s studio on the Gowanus Artists Studio Tour. “The short hop to combining the Coney work with the exploding architecture was a no-brainer once I accepted that the Coney Island of my childhood was imploding, burning, and would never return,” Eagan said of “Oceanic Baths,” which is not an actual Coney Island place name.

Bensonhurst native Philomena Marano is known for her bold and colorful cut paper collages and prints of Coney’s amusement rides and signs. The Wonder Wheel, the Cyclone, and Parachute Jump as well as shooting galleries and bumper cars are all part of her iconography. Faber’s Fascination, which went dark in 2010, inspired the cut paper piece “Play Fascination” in the portrait.

Coney Island Hysterical Society, 62 18th Street, 3rd floor, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Philomena Marano

Philomena Marano with ‘Play Fascination’ at Coney Island Hysterical Society Studio in Gowanus. October 2, 2010. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

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August 6, 2012: Art of the Day: Madame Twisto by Marie Roberts

December 7, 2010: Art of the Day: Freak Taxidermy Skull by Takeshi Yamada

October 26, 2010: Studio Visit: Richard Eagan of the Coney Island Hysterical Society

October 26, 2010: Studio Visit: Philomena Marano of the Coney Island Hysterical Society

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Takeshi Yamada Jersey Devil

Coney Island Artist Takeshi Yamada with his New Jersey Devil and Sea Rabbit

ATZ asked Coney Island artist and rogue taxidermist Takeshi Yamada what he’s bringing to Friday night’s Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest at Bell House. He replied by sending his photo with the “Jersey Devil.” Can you believe it? For three centuries, New Jerseyans have been hunting the Pine Barrens in search of what Weird N.J. calls the state’s “oldest, most enduring, and important pieces of folklore” and it turns up in Coney Island’s Museum of World Wonders!

“It is a big winged lizard or dragon,” says Yamada of his Jersey Devil. “For over a century, this carnivorous animal has been a famous and very well-known cryptid called ‘Jersey Devil’ in the New Jersey area. Body parts of this taxidermy were collected in the woods of New Jersey. I also personally saw many unusual strange flying creatures (not birds or flying squirrels) in the woods for years in New Jersey.”

Yamada is also planning to bring one of his freak human babies. At the 2009 contest, he was awarded “The Most Twisted Prize” for his family of freak show babies made from his own skin. There’s a Two-headed Baby, Mermaid Baby, Octopus Baby, Lobster Baby, Snake Baby, Penguin Baby, and Three-headed Baby. Which one would you like to see? Yamada also won the Grand Championship of Taxidermy in 2006 for his 6-foot-long mummified Fiji Mermaid.

The Secret Science Club presents the 6th-annual Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest, Friday, December 9 at Bell House, 149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd Aves) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. “Doors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+. $7 cover.” Subway: F to 4th Ave; R to 9th St; F or G to Smith/9th.

Snake Baby

Snake Baby Copyright All rights reserved by MUSEUM OF WORLD WONDERS , Dr.Takeshi Yamada

UPDATE December 10, 2011…How did it go at the contest? Takeshi Yamada writes: “I had a great time at the taxidermy contest. I showed my 3 jersey devils on 3×4 feet Victorian picture frame, and the freak snake human baby (surprisingly, you have chosen the right one. I thought I might bring both the 3-headed baby and snake baby up until 1 hour before leaving my house.) I received the “SHOCK & AWE” award and trophy for them.”

Jersey Devil

Takeshi Yamada and his Jersey Devils Won the Shock and Awe Award at the 2011 Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest. Photo © Takeshi Yamada

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November 29, 2012: Coney Island Taxidermist Takeshi Yamada in AMC Reality Show

December 7, 2010: Art of the Day: Freak Taxidermy Skull by Takeshi Yamada

September 18, 2010: Photo of the Day: Takeshi Yamada’s Freak Baby Museum at San Gennaro

November 7, 2009: Thru Dec 31 at Coney Island Library: Artist Takeshi Yamada’s Cabinet of Curiosities

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