Born into a family with a proud samurai lineage in Osaka, Japan, Takeshi Yamada developed a passion for collecting natural specimens at a young age and by kindergarten had transformed his bedroom into the “Cabinet of Curiosities.” By age eight, Yamada had created dozens of taxidermy “monsters” including stag-horned beetles with butterfly wings and two-headed lizards. At 16, he decided to become an artist, and in 1983 Yamada moved to the United States to further his education, earning his B.F.A. at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, and an M.F.A at the University of Michigan School of Art.
Yamada is a resident of New York’s fabled Coney Island, where he operates the Freak Baby Museum as well as the Museum of World Wonders, which features a 32-foot giant sea serpent, a six-foot mummified mermaid, and an eight-legged 6-foot spider dog. Known for wearing vintage tuxedos, French berets and top hats, Yamada is most often seen with his most prized accessory, Seara – a creation of half rabbit, half duck with a seal’s tail - a furry ode to Coney Island whose original Dutch name translates to “Rabbit Island.”
Describing himself as an objective gatekeeper rather than a self-expressing artist, “My works are the object of magic and religion rather than that of art or science,” Yamada’s work has been featured in over 600 art exhibitions and more than 40 solo shows around the world, and he has won numerous awards including Best of Show at the Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Competition. Additionally, Yamada is listed in Who’s Who in America and is a member of the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists (MART).