Dwight Hwang‘s fish prints are fascinating works of art. Having spent many years in Japan specialising in the traditional art of Gyotaku Hwang is now making work that is both immediate and beautiful to look at. Like many techniques Gyotaku has its origins in practicality, in necessity, and goes back to the mid 1880’s when fishermen used to record their catches by inking the fish and printing them directly onto a tree.
There are two main and there are two traditional methods used in gyotaku;
The first involves putting the subject i.e. fish, crab, squid, etc onto a wooden bench and painting one side with sumi ink. Once the pigment is applied, the fisherman finds a tree and slaps the fish against it until the trunk is covered in prints or the fish runs out of ink.
The second approach requires the subject to be firmly secured or mounted onto a firm backing. A heavy log is rolled onto the fish and the ink gets printed onto the wood.
What Hwang has done in these prints is brush Sumi ink directly onto the fish and then covered it in calligraphy rice paper. What do you think? Might be worth trying?