‘My Best Years are Still Ahead’

Categories: 2018 March-April Issue, Bronze, Doellinger, Mick, Sculpture, and Wildlife.

The first few years after moving to the United States were the lowest in Mick Doellinger’s life. In 2003, he sold his home, his furniture, his taxidermy business, and his studio in Australia to come to America and become a wildlife sculptor. He certainly hadn’t expected it to be easy, but he didn’t realize how lonely it would be.

“I had no resources, no family, no safety net,” Doellinger says. “But I knew that, if I wanted to be a full-time sculptor, the United States was where I needed to be.”

He also knew that he couldn’t really go home: Shortly after he left Australia, the mining industry there took off, resulting in a significant shift in the country’s economy. Property values there tripled within a year, and the home that had taken him two years to sell was suddenly
way out of his price range. So he settled into a one-bedroom apartment in Fort Worth, Texas, found a taxidermy job with a local company, and started sculpting as much as he could there.

“Those first three or four years were really a struggle,” he admits. “I struggled to make ends meet for several years.”

Then, one day in 2006, a man walked into the taxidermy shop where Doellinger was working on a sculpture. He was so impressed by what he saw that he commissioned two pieces.

Mick Doellinger (Texas)

Distant Bugle
27.5″ High

“This mature bull listens intently to a rival bugle off in the distance.”

Mick Doellinger (Texas)

18″ High

“Being outdoors, watching these iconic animals’ rituals during the rut, always fascinates me. Experiencing their power, guttural sounds, and dust baths motivated the creation of this piece. It portrays a bison bull full of vigor, pawing at the ground and tossing dirt, maneuvering, and getting ready to clash heads with another bull that’s entered his space.”