Goldfish have long been the source or artistic inspiration in China and Japan, with many varieties bred to be viewed as pieces of living sculpture, but Japanese artist Riusuke Fukahori has taken this aesthetic appreciation in a striking new direction.
Fukahori started painting goldfish just over 10 years ago when during a period of creative block and disillusionment with his art, he noticed the beauty of his pet goldfish. Staring into his fishes' dirty, neglected tank he was transfixed by the movements of the goldfish's shiny, red silhouette and was immediately inspired and within moments had created a shoal of the fish in red paint.
He has named this life-changing moment 'kingyo sikui' which can be translated as 'goldfish salvation' – the day he was saved by goldfish.
Since this day he has focussed on the liveliness, delicacy and dynamics of goldfish and has developed a unique method to capture these fleeting qualities through paint and resin.
Using multiple layers of resin and acrylic paints, Fukahori meticulously builds strikingly realistic three dimensional images of his fishy muses, painted inside a variety of vessels including Saki bowls, split bamboo canes and tea boxes with some larger pieces even seeming to contain floating plants and air-stones to keep the glittering shoals of goldfish 'alive'.
Straddling the line between sculpture and painting, hungry fish seem to beg for food in some of the works, while in one larger piece created inside a large copper bound wooden bowl a swirling shoal of fish is scooped up in a metal ladle.
His goldfish-related creativity also includes large scale imagery painted on cloth and glass created using brooms and hands as well as brushes. His most recent show was at the ICN Galleries in London, but he has exhibited across Europe and in his native Japan.
You can see the artist at work in the video below and more of Fukahori's creations from the recent Goldfish Salvation exhibition in London.
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