Takeshi Yamada

Osaka-born artist creates sideshow curiosities in his Coney Island home

Takeshi Yamada
Interview Date:
July 25, 2015


Born in 1960, Takeshi Yamada is an artist from Osaka, Japan, who moved to Coney Island in 2002. "I didn't choose Coney Island. It chose me," he says. He is frequently seen in a black tuxedo strolling around the neighborhood with his sea rabbit Seara, a taxidermied wonder with webbed feet and a mermaid’s tail. A Grand Champion of "rogue taxidermy," Yamada has created amazing curiosities from natural materials for traveling sideshows, museums, television, and a carnival on the former Astroland site. A rotating display of specimens from his Museum of World Wonders was on exhibit for more than four years at the Coney Island Library on Mermaid Avenue. In addition, his fine art paintings have been exhibited internationally in over 450 exhibitions including 43 solo shows. Yamada first came to the US in 1983 to study art at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland and the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, in 1983-85, earning a BFA in 1985 and an MFA in 1987 from the University of Michigan School of Art in Ann Arbor.

This program is part of the Cultural Immigrant Initiative supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York City Councilman Mark Treyger.