Northwest Gyotaku


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 About the Art 

Pronounced  "Gio-ta-ku" , gyotaku is Japanese for fish rubbings( Yoshio Hiyama- Gyotaku  The Art and Technique of the Japanese Fish Print).  Professor Hiyama surmises that the first fish rubbing or impression was created by the late Mr. Seijin Murakami when he noticed a fish he caught left an impression on a white paper bag after receiving a coating of some dye that was also in the bag. Other history indicates that by the early 1900's Japanese fishermen used the methods to record the size and species of the fish they caught. Everyone that practices this art today has read a different story of the art's origin.

To this day the Japanese Fishing Club of Seattle practices the art on occasion for their catch of the day in Elliott Bay.

The technique I use to create my original fish rubbings is called the direct method. Soon after catching my fish I apply acrylic paints( non-toxic), then lay rice paper over the top. The rubbing happens by smoothing the paper over the fish. The paper is then carefully removed revealing the fish in print. I then paint in the eye and other minor detail careful to finish my prints similar to photorealism but keeping with traditions of the art. 

Japanese Fish Rubbings

Distortion may occur when viewing with cell phone.