A largemouth bass swoops down to seize the bait – a small bluegill. A moment later, the bass is on the end of the line and the excitement begins! This magnificent fish came from a water supply canal a few blocks from my home in Tempe, Arizona. A year later, my 8-year old son, Jacob, outdid me by catching a bass from the same canal that was nearly an inch longer!
In 2002 I exhibited some of my gyotaku at the annual Japanese festival (Matsuri) in downtown Pheonix, Arizona. One man, after looking at the pieces, asked me if I was from California. When I replied “no, I live and work in the Phoenix area” he replied “how sad… a fish print artist stuck in the desert!” I laughed and pointed to “Big Bass!” sitting on an easel and commented that there was no shortage of fish from nearby canals and lakes in the area. I also repeated Mark Twain’s witty line: “There is no use in your walking five miles to fish when you can depend on being just as unsuccessful near home.”
After making the gyotaku of the big bass, my family dined on the big, meaty fillets grilled over mesquite coals. At that memorable feast, the freshly made gyotaku was given a place on the wall next to the dinner table. Before we ate, we all joined hands and with greatest respect, thanked the great fish whose living vitality was to be materially transferred to us.
Size 29 x 20 inches (2001)
Return to Gallery 8.