If you happened to read the piece that I wrote about the work that I created with two squirrels playing cricket, then you will know that taxidermy and cricket are two of my main passions in life. Now you are about to learn about another passion that I have, which is poker. As you can see from this work, I have also managed to incorporate poker into my taxidermy.
The Story Behind the Idea
Every Friday evening, I invite my friends around to my house for a night of poker. We have been doing it for years now and it is something that we really enjoy doing. What’s not to like about some poker, some whiskey, and a break from the wife? I am only joking about the wife part if you are reading this.
One evening (after a few too many whiskeys), the topic of conversation turned to taxidermy. As usual, the two squirrels playing cricket were on the mantlepiece in the lounge and one of my friends, after having yet another look at it, started laughing and asked me if I had ever considered creating another funny piece of work.
I told them that I hadn’t even thought about it and then the rest of my friends decided that we should sit there and come up with a new idea for me to do. The one who had started the conversation said, “you created the squirrel masterpiece because you love taxidermy and cricket, so why don’t you create a piece of work that showcases animals having a game of poker?” I thought this was a great idea and started thinking about what animals I currently had in my freezer.
I had a badger, a fox, and a hare (all had been found on the side of the road) and a cat. The cat I found dead in my garden on morning, but I could never find out who owned her. When I told my friends, they thought those animals were perfect as they are all animals you would not see mingling together in the wild.
I was busy that weekend, so I got to work on the following Monday. The new masterpiece, as my friends call it, took a month to make due to the fact that I had to mount four larger animals this time around.
How Have People Reacted to This Work?
The first people that I showed were obviously my friends and it is safe to say that they thought it was absolutely brilliant. They had always been quite impressed by my taxidermy skills, but this, according to them, was one of the best pieces of work that I have ever done. Whenever they come around to play poker, they like to move it as close to the table as possible so that it is visible the whole night.
Like the squirrels playing cricket, this is also a great conversation starter that draws much laughter from those who see it for the first time (in fact, people who have seen it many times still laugh when they see it again). Like all pieces of art, it has had its critics as well, but like I have said many times, I enjoy hearing all different opinions about the work that I create. The thing that people take most exception to is the fact that there is a cat sitting at the table. Cats are pets, so people don’t really expect to see stuffed ones.
People have tried to buy it off of me, but my friends have made me promise to never sell it.
So, what do you think about this work? Do you like it? Do you find it funny? Is it morbid? Should I have left the cat out? Whatever your views are, I would really like to hear them.