In the mid 1800’s Japanese fishermen began rubbing rice paper on inked fish to prove the size of their catch. Function evolved into form and an art form was born. Today Gyotaku is celebrated globally, and Matt Monahan is proud to represent various fish of the southeastern U.S. He prints his own fish as well as those of others by commission. It’s like taxidermy where you can still eat your catch!
Here is a little bio about Matt and his art career and fishing.
“I grew up in Naples, Florida and have fished my whole life. As a kid we would fish everything from rock quarries for bass and gators to deep sea fishing in the gulf.
I went to college in Chattanooga, TN and got married and stuck around. The fishing is a bit different here, but I’ve grown to love the trout as well as all the bass and panfish. My current aspiration is to break the Tennessee state record for the yellow perch.
I recently won the TN master angler I patch for catching five different trophy fish. Master 2 is at 10.
On the art side of things, that has an interesting story. I’m a teacher and used to teach Asian history. I visited and studied briefly in Japan and I nearly moved my family there years ago out of love for Japanese culture.
I taught a fishing class in my high school and the art teacher told me that since I loved Japanese culture we ought to make gyotaku of our fish. We tried it and I fell in love and haven’t looked back.
I’m now on the board of the Nature Printing Society and my art has developed into a side-hustle of a small business.
Trout are my favorite to print in light of the colors and complexity. (They are much more delicate than most fish, with fine scales and incredible colors–it was years before I could successfully print them.)
I suppose the dream is for this to some day make enough income to do full time, but until then I’ll enjoy a hobby that is also profitable and gets me fishing creating! “
Matt sent us a pretty snazzy Snap back hat with one of his designs embroidered on it which you can check out along with all his work at: