Gyotaku

Gyotaku, the ancient (around mid 1800s) technique of fish printing. Developed by fisherman to prove the size of their catch. It is a method of applying ink to the body of a fish and then putting paper onto it and doing a rubbing. They would either throw the fish back into the water or cook it and eat it.

My daughter sent me a tee shirt with a print of an octopus on it and when she pointed out that it was a print done in the Gyotaku method, I didn’t get it until I read about that in Wikipedia, which shed a whole new light on the shirt and a whole new admiration from me.

Since early childhood I had been drawing and studying art, and since her early childhood I had begun her art education by taking her to art galleries and museums and then providing her with plenty of newsprint paper to begin her own exploration of the art world, spreading paint all over the paper, creating large masterpieces which made good gift wrapping.  While I was mostly a painter of acryllic abstract work, I have always been interested in printmaking, but have not expanded into that field of making artworks.

I asked her if the animal was alive and squirming around when the printmaker did his print of the octopus, or on ice in the fish shop, but she has not responded yet. 

The quality of the print is excellent and there is no indication of movement by the animal and not even the tiniest smudge on the print. I also asked her if she saw the artist at work, something I would very much like to watch.

My questions are still out there in cyberspace for now, but I am intrigued with the octopus print.

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