Today we’d like to introduce you to Connie Lail- Cortez.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Connie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Growing up, I always loved taxidermy, but I could never afford the pieces I wanted. After a really rough patch in my life five years ago, I decided to try my hand at taxidermy on my own as a kind of stress reliever. I started out with any rats I could get my hands on and worked on my kitchen table in the middle of the night.
Through trial and error, I became decent enough to share some of my creations on my social media and it took off from there! I never intended to sell my work, I never thought anyone would want to buy it! However, being able to make a kind of living with my passion is an amazing feeling. I do provide some custom work, but I generally create things I enjoy and not what I think the public would want. I create my pieces with roadkill and deceased animals that are donated to me through rescues, or pet parents that are unable to bury their dead. My inspirations come to me through dreams and ideas I have for morbid children’s books. Someday I hope to open a small shop in a sleepy little fog filled town in Maryland like Chesapeake City, but for now I’m vending all over LA and loving it.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Oh, what a bumpy road it has been! I have met some amazing people in the taxidermy community, but I have also met some unpleasant people as well. I don’t think I’ve been through anything worse than anyone else has, honestly. Everyone’s struggle is their own personal hell, and I have definitely been there, but it gives us texture, right? I use my emotions and experiences in my work, finishing a piece is a very cathartic moment.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I create anthropomorphic taxidermy, bone wearables, and eclectic home décor. A comical explanation of what I do is that I take roadkill and put it in a dress, then I use its bones to make necklaces and lamps. A more detailed description is that I take recycling to a whole new level- I collect roadkill and taxidermy it in human-like poses and use the bones to make anything from retro mourning fascinators to lamps. Once cured, I dress the animals in outfits I make myself and often set them up in full dioramas that I make out of vintage T.V.s and radios. I’m extremely proud of my Victorian style pieces and what sets me apart from others is that I keep what I like to call my “Roadkill Diary,” which is a photo and detail of the animals I collect off the road and I am able to site my sources when it comes to animals donated by rescues and pet parents.
What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was the token weirdo. From a really young age, I was really into reading true crime novels and writing the kind of poetry that made my teachers either call home or ask me to write extra credit papers that they could send out. I never had a lot of friends, and the few I did looked like the girls from “The Craft.”. Sounds spooky? Honestly, I usually spent my evenings at a crappy backyard show in a rough part of the valley (where I would eventually meet my husband) or watching Star Trek reruns, and jumping around my room listening to “Annette Hanshaw,” or “Germs.”
- Website: www.gottaxidermy.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: homesiswherethecorpseis