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These fish are swimming around in their pond, not worrying about what goes on around them. Koi fish have a long history in Chinese and Japanese culture. They started out as common carp and were domesticated and bred to produce certain colors. When used in art and tattoos, Koi fish have different meanings depending on which way they swim. What the meaning is, seems to vary depending on the source.
Upstream can mean that you’re either fighting an uphill battle but won’t give up, or that you’ve overcome your obstacles and gained strength. There are meanings attached to the colors of the fish as well.
acrylics, gesso, paper