Don Hubbard's Gyotaku

Gyotaku is the Japanese art of fish-printing, originally used to record the catches of sports fishermen. The fish to be printed is covered with pigment, whereupon rice paper or cloth is wrapped around the fish to create an image. The resultant print produces a there-but-not-there effect: exquisite detail (tiny fish scales) intermingled with ghostly white spaces (the recessed area around a fish's jaws). The fish gains a delicacy, which may have been denied it in life and which draws the eye to linger and explore. Don Hubbard has been producing gyotaku for over 30 years, and his experience shows. He is one of few U.S. artists who produces prints of crustaceans like crabs and lobsters, which must be cooked, disassembled, and printed piece by piece due to their shape; and soft creatures like squid and octopus, which must be carefully laid upon an angled surface so as not to distend the forms. (He's still working on a face-to-face view of a crab.) Prices range from $25 for a 7x7 print to $69 for a 16 x 20 (all prints matted and framed). On display first and third Sundays of the month at Spreckels Park in Coronado.

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