Wakasagi (Japanese Printmaking and Little Fish)

by | Jul 8, 2024 | All

Smelt Mokuhanga

It’s been a year since my residency at MI-Lab- an art residency program in Fujikawaguchiko, Japan.  (Now moved to the city of Echizen). 

Moss Project

Adapting what I learned to my own home studio has been an interesting process, complicated by my own busy schedule as a professor.

The first Mokuganga (木版画ー Japanese wood-based printmaking) that I made after my time in Japan was a depiction of a Wakasagi smelt. I spent a lot of time paddleboarding on Lake Kawaguchiko, and there were always an array of serious looking, heavily-geared up fisher-folk casting into the depths, chasing these things.

I learned a few things through the process. First- I needed to refine my registration process (my approach to making sure that multiple print overlays line up exactly). 

Secondly, I found out that standard U.S. plywood has a LOT of additives that can bleed onto your paper.

My second effort (an Arctic Grayling) worked a bit better. 

Anyhow, I decided to rework the original smelt print, and add a little evocation of 富士山、(Mount Fuji)… because why not?

Smelt Mokuhanga

David Roon

David Roon

An artist working at the interface of visual art and Conservation Biology, and a professor at the University of Idaho (Natural Resources and Society).

Mixed media and printmaking, with a strong grounding in ceramics. Exploring the interface between humans and the global biosphere (particularly coastal and marine ecosystems). Installation, sculpture, and ginormous functional pots.

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