Before the advent of photography, Japanese fishermen created a novel technique for documenting their catch. Gyotaku is a form of printing that creates accurate renditions through a relief printing process. Rubbing sumi ink onto the body of a fish, and then gently pressing rice paper onto it and peeling it away will net an impression of the fish—distinct enough to note the shape and size of the species as well as the subtle patterns and textures of scales, fins, and gills.
Dating back to the 1800s, original gyotaku prints were minimal in their appearance—made only in black ink without embellishment of texture, color, or added elements. The emphasis of these early prints was to prove the size and species of the fisherman’s “trophy fish” and to record this permanently. It was not until later when gyotaku became an art form that composition and color were considered.
Gyotaku is still widely used today in Japan and other coastal communities. Often in restaurant signage, this technique allows chefs to advertise their seafood specials with immediacy and honesty. Traditionally, the fish is printed with non-toxic ink allowing it to be cleaned and prepared as a meal after the printing process has been completed. The natural precision of gyotaku offers a pure form of graphic clarity—its simplicity demonstrates detached documentation yet highlights the personal achievement of the proud fisherman.
My mother-in-law has a couple of these. I love them.
The Exquisite ’ Inner Space ’ Architecture of Matthew Simmonds
Hi, my name is Julien Martin, i was born in 1984 in Saint-Tropez, France. I left home when i was 16, travelled for 4 years the country with an italian circus and finally reached Paris in 2004. I got lucky and was accepted at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris because of my “exceptional” talent. Nevertheless i dropped out two years later, missing the feeling of being on the road. I travelled the south of Europe, Portugal, Spain and Italy. Now i am back to Paris and try to live of my art.
” Simmonds makes a play of architecture and ornamentation on a small scale, but the spaces created give the same feeling as in the buildings themselves; a place to rest, a place to travel with the eye and maybe find a moment of tranquillity. The marble is opened up, and inside is a space within a building that only exists in the viewer’s mind. What you sense is the significance of space.” ( Artodyssey )
The more you know…