About the artist...
Maine-based artist Nate Garrett's work is grounded in the tradition of gyotaku, or Japanese fish printing, and draws upon traditional and experimental subjects and printmaking techniques. Nate is interested in capturing the flora and fauna of his home state of Maine with this unique artform while also building upon and stretching the bounds of classical gyotaku to include other nontraditional subject matter.
Nate’s objective is to help the viewer connect with his artistic subjects in a personal way. Gyotaku provides both a stimulant – the subject – and a blank slate on which the viewer “paints” their own experience and memories. Stripped of environmental cues, the viewer gets to read their own experience into the subject.
In 2023 Nate appeared on the TV Tokyo network introducing Japanese audiences to his style of gyotaku. His work hangs as part of a 2023 exhibition at the Hall of AWA Japanese Paper Museum in Tokushima Japan. A collection of Nate's work will hang at the Maine Maritime Museum in celebration of the 30 year anniversary of the Sister City relationship between Bath, Maine and Aomori, Japan.
Nate is a commissioned & licensed artist and a sought after speaker and presenter. He has taught workshops and given presentations at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, Acadia National Park, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Maine State Aquarium and many other educational and nonprofit venues.
When not printing Nate and his wife can be found exploring the waters of Casco Bay or the neighborhoods around their home in South Portland, Maine.
Gyo (fish) taku (to press or rub) is a Japanese method of fish printing in which fish are used as a printing plate. It began in the 1800’s as a way for fishermen to record their catch. Today, it is recognized as a form of nature printing.
Traditional gyotaku uses sumi ink derived from pine soot and is printed on washi, paper made from mulberry. However, the artform has expanded to include acrylic and oil paints, screen printing inks, and a variety of papers and fabrics.
There are two main methods of gyotaku. The direct method entails painting ink directly on the fish and then molding paper over the printing plate (fish) to transfer the image.
The indirect method involves covering the fish with silk or paper and rice paste and then carefully applying inks layer by layer to capture a fish’s characteristics.
Nate is accomplished in both methods of gyotaku.