For this new collection of paintings, I have continued to develop my own version of an 18th Century Japanese tradition of Gyotaku - the process of recording fish catches using the actual bodies of fish, ink and rice paper. Instead, I use gesso and oil paints on canvas.
Travelling to fish markets around the world, including Brazil, Uruguay, Cuba, the Bahamas and particularly Colombia, I source local fish directly from the people who catch them. Canvasses begin on location, working with the bodies of the fish. Pieces are later finished in the studio using gesso, oils, pastels, glazes and raw pigment.
I am fascinated by the mysteries of fish: air-breathing Tarpon, the bio-luminescence of a hunting Marlin (which sends neon blue pulses along the raised dorsal fin) how it feels to release an exhausted Sailfish and to learn about the mysterious "Wild Spawn Dance"
Perhaps my favourite fish to work with is the Sea Bass - or "Loup de Mer" (Sea Wolves) which intentionally swim against the current. Their bodies become muscled and streamlined as a result. This leads me to metaphorical images of struggle, triumph and loss.
'Because the fish from the market is so newly killed, I get a sense of the creature at the moment of its death, fighting for life force. So I capture an impression, which is more than the fish and an image, which has has a deeper meaning.' (Yorkshire Post)
Next Show MARCH 2020 URUGUAY. A collection of paintings from Uruguay's wild Atlantic coast, working with fishermen in Punta Diablo and Valizas.
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Desire For Life film by George Bustin :