Desmond Thain | Uku
During the 1800s Japanese fishermen recorded their catchby rubbing fish with sumi ink and then pressing them onto washi paper. Two centuries later, gyotaku, or fish printing has evolved into its own distinctive art form. For Hawaiʻi-based Desmond Katsutaro Thain, gyotaku became a natural fit: the historic tradition intertwines two of his passions—spearfishing and art.
Today Thain specialises in fine art gyotaku with a strong emphasis on hyper-realism and exquisite coloration. Depending on the size or intricacies of pattern of a featured fish, a piece can take hundreds of hours to complete. He also utilizes non-toxic ink so that post-printing, the fish can be consumed.
As a self-taught artist and spearfisherman of Japanese-American descent, Thain is honored to continue the historic tradition of gyotaku. A Thain piece is special in that the artist’s involvement is present in myriad levels—from the hunting of the fish, to the printing, to the subsequent consuming so that there is no waste.