Over 100 years ago, long before photography became common and affordable, and certainly long before everyone had photo availability every moment of the day, thanks to the iphone, a Japanese traditional art form called Gyotaku (Ghee oh ta ku) began as a way for local fishermen to keep record of the fish they caught. They would apply sumi ink to one side of a freshly caught fish, then cover the fish with rice paper and rub to create an exact image of the fish. The ink was non-toxic and allowed for the fish to be eaten, while preserving records of fish species and sizes. Properly done these prints were incredibly lifelike, capturing tremendous details, patterns and textures of the fish. This unique process quickly became more artform than the original record keeping document it started as.
This artform has now been taken to a new level by Meredith O’Leary, owner of Scales and Tails Prints of Southampton New York. Meredith is a 17 plus year veteran study and expert Gyataku Artist, who has over the years added her own twist to the Japanese tradition. She spends enormous amounts of time and energy adding color, depth and shading to the base print producing such an exquisite finished product, that basically adds an unique element of “life” to each and every piece to be enjoyed as a treasured gallery quality piece for years to come.
Continuing with tradition, using all non toxic inks, nothing goes to waste, after the initial print making process, the fish is cleaned, fileted and you guessed it… served for dinner.
Meredith’s love of art, combined with being an avid angler, naturalist and lover of the sea, created the perfect business model blending sportfishing and artwork. Certainly a “new way” to showcase your trophy using very “old way” techniques. Historically, the mainstream saving of the catch memory held taxidermy high on the list, which then morphed into fiberglass replicas of your catch created from photos, which are phenomenally lifelike, but also both require a special place in a home to present a 50 pound Striped Bass on the wall without upsetting someone in the family.
Well, Meredith’s Scales and Tails Prints has changed all that. Now you can record your very own special catch for that one of a kind piece of art displayable almost anywhere, or choose from a tremendous selection in her gallery, which is absolutely stunning and packed full of options both large and small.
Created by hand, each print is unique and truly a “one of a kind” treasure for that special person in your life or certainly a wonderful treat for yourself. A great gift idea for that person who already has everything, or a fabulous documentation of a treasured catch to be displayed for years to come.
Printed on cotton provides vast options of final product options, including everything from custom framed gallery quality originals, to tee shirts and other wearables, all carrying the Japanese symbol, placed by the artist, that translates to “Eternal Life”, these pieces are sure to live on in your collection for generations.
For additional information, or to arrange your catch being immortalized, call Scales and Tails Prints at 631-793-5767 or visit www.scalesandtailsprints.com