I LOVE Octopus! I do. They are one of the coolest, most intelligent creatures on the planet. Unfortunately, they are part of our food chain. When I was in my local seafood market, I noticed this frozen brownish ball. Of course, I inquired as to what they were and was told they were octopus. This is one of those times when the internal struggle between the naturalist and artist comes out. While there is not much I can do about the severe over harvesting of our seas, I can use my art to enlighten and educate. This is what I have chosen to do. Is it a perfect solution? No. However, these pieces afford me the opportunity to pass on the important message of taking care of our planet.
What In the World is Gyotaku?
Gyotkau (pronounced GEE-OH-TAH_KOO) literally translated means Fish Rubbing. Here is a basic description of how I do it. I paint directly on the fish (or other sea creature), and then carefully place the paper over him, gently rubbing the length of the fish. When the paper is lifted there is a mirror image of the fish imprinted onto the paper. After the rubbings dry I add the eyes, backgrounds, sign them using my "chop" (mine is my name in Japanese) and add my signature. I can usually get 4 to 16 rubbings from each fish (depending on the type of fish) and they truly are very different with each rubbing. AP stands for artist print and the number after is the number of this painting/the total number created. Once dry, they are mounted on acid free backing OR rolled and kept in a tube. I use handmade papers, usually mulberry or rice paper, but I do like to experiment with other types. Each painting has the type of paper used in the description. I also try to keep my sizes standard to fit most frames, but the size of the fish can determine the size of the paper. Since the papers are shipped to me rolled in a tube or box, shipping a finished Gyotaku this way is perfectly safe. Your Gyotaku can be stored this way until you are ready to have it framed. I ship all of my Gyotaku rolled in shipping tubes.
Handmade Mulberry paper, a real octopus, acrylic paint