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Telling Alaska’s Story: Artist Romney Dodd transforms animal mounts into art

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 6:43 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Longtime Alaska artist Romney Dodd’s G Street studio could easily be mistaken for a taxidermist’s office. An entire wall is filled with animal mounts and taxidermized fish. The rest of the studio features animals transformed into art, embellished with colorful swirls and designs. For Dodd, their bodies have become her canvas.

Dodd’s collection of skin-mounted fish was purchased four years ago from a friend who sold the family taxidermy business when her husband died. Other mounts, including a collection of African animals, were purchased at auction when a wildlife museum in Anchor Point went out of business. Still others were left behind after someone died. Dodd said she’s always on the lookout for more.

“When someone passes on who has trophies, no one wants their trophies,” Dodd said. “I’ve been gifted many now that actually have ended up in a dumpster. I call them my rescues and I repurpose them and turn them into art.”

Dodd's hand-painted goat hangs on a wall
Dodd's hand-painted goat hangs on a wall(ktuu)

Dodd’s hand-painted fish are sought out by collectors. Originals range from $2,000 for a small fish to $20,000 for a huge king salmon. Recently, she also started offering aluminum prints of her fish at a much lower price range.

Dodd also has a line of printed fish on aluminum
Dodd also has a line of printed fish on aluminum(ktuu)

But while Dodd, a lifelong Alaskan, wants to keep her work accessible, what she’s doing now may appeal to those with unique tastes. When painting trophy mounts of caribou, antelopes and goats, Dodd said she tries to keep the animal’s spirit alive in her work in a way that honors their lives but also allows them to be appreciated in a new way.

Dodd said Alaskans have been generous in supporting her art, especially as COVID-19 has kept the bulk of tourists away from downtown Anchorage. Dodd’s designs can be ordered on her website. Her studio at 420 G Street is open by appointment.

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