Jeff Conroy

b. 1967, Chicago, IL

Gyotaku is a Japanese method of printmaking that traditionally utilizes fish, sea creatures or similar subjects as printing “plates” in its process. The literal translation of the word is “fish stone rubbing” and is believed to get its inspiration from Chinese stone rubbings of calligraphy, which gave rise to printing. Gyotaku, or Japanese fish printing, was originally used to record and commemorate a fisherman’s catch. Prints were made using Sumi ink and Washi paper. It is rumored that Samurai would settle fishing competitions using Gyotaku prints. This original form of Gyotaku, as a recording method for fisherman, is still utilized today, and can be seen hanging in tackle shops in Japan and Okinawa.