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February 27, 2013 - 11:27pm

Alumni Profile: Takeshi Yamada


At a young age, Takeshi Yamada, who received a Masters degree from the University in 1987, developed a passion for collecting natural specimens. He pursued his interests through art degrees and became a rogue taxidermist, creating stuffed animals based on types of animals that do not actually exist. A resident of Coney Island, New York, he now operates Freak Baby Museum and the Museum of World Wonders. He's featured on AMC’s “Immortalized," a TV show about taxidermists.

What is your current art exhibition in Manhattan?

My work was recently featured as part of the AMC “Immortal Love” pop-up gallery in New York City which was held to help promote the premiere of the network’s new unscripted series’ “Immortalized” and “Freakshow.” The exhibit featured several of my pieces, including 10 space alien skulls and five mummified dragons as well as a number of beautiful mounts provided by the other artists and judges seen on “Immortalized.” The pop-up gallery was packed and everyone had a great time. It was a truly inspirational, uplifting and wonderful event. I was able to meet all of the great artists from the show, the people who worked behind the scenes and fans all at once.

What's your role in “Immortalizers?”

In the series I am featured as one of four “Immortalizers.” In each episode, one “Immortalizer” faces off against a “Challenger.” Each is asked to create a piece to be judged on three criteria: originality, craftsmanship and interpretation of a designated theme, which include first love, the end of the world and self-portrait.

How did you spend your time at the University?

At the School of Art and Design, I was busy — I took many classes and taught three days per week as a wage-earning teaching assistant for Professor John Rush’s basic drawing class.

After school, 90 percent of my time was spent creating art in my large, main personal art studio and school-provided tiny art studio. The other 10 percent of my time was spent making fine art prints in the printmaking studio.