I am known most for my paintings of cats, so taking a turn and painting a series of fish paintings is a bit, well, ironic.
I suspect that my cats rather enjoy the paintings, however.
Why did I paint a series of fish paintings?
It all started a couple of years ago when my friend Frank asked me to design a logo for him for a brewery that he was, at that time, in the early stages of developing. I had made a drawing of his cat Musky, named after the Muskellunge fish, and he wanted the fish in that drawing to be part of the logo.
Here is the logo:
After designing the logo, Frank asked me to create an art sign with the logo on it:
Frank is a scientific sort of guy. He came to brewing beer through the science of it. Working in the pharmaceutical industry for years, he developed a keen awareness of scientific methods and chemistry, and he began brewing beers in his basement. He decided to extend his basement hobby into a professional endeavor. Fascinated by various species of freshwater fish, he named each of his beers after a different fish.
In keeping with his fish theme, Frank commissioned me to paint a sign for each of his beers and the corresponding fish to serve as a menu board in the taproom of his brewery.
I enjoyed the creative challenge of painting actual species of fish in my semi-abstract contemporary folk art style. It was a challenge, simulating the textures and colors of fish using my bright colored palette, and also doing the lettering in my layered technique. (You can see the in process photos for each painting on my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds.)
The brewery and artwork were recently featured in this article in the Akron Beacon Journal, where I talked about the creative process:
“I have a technique of laying the paint and that makes an interesting texture and that’s what these are,” BZTAT said.
BZTAT is known for creating colorful pet portraits in pop art and contemporary folk styles. Freshwater fish presented a particular challenge. Freshwater fish aren’t exactly known for their bright colors, which the artists uses. Silver gray anyone?
BZTAT describes freshwater fish as “drab.”
“I am constantly challenging myself to make not just a portrait and not just a pretty picture for somebody but also something that could stand on its own as a valid artwork,” BZTAT said. “And the fish are kind of a new challenge for me which I’ve been enjoying. I’ve never really painted fish before.”
Not to say she and fish are strangers. She grew up in a household with fish tanks and exotic fish, and loved watching them.
“They are just interesting visually,” BZTAT said.
Muskellunge Brewing Company‘s taproom opened this past week to rave reviews (Follow Muskelluunge Brewing Company on Facebook and Instagram). The beer, and the fish painting/signs were a big hit! If you are in the Canton area, I hope you will stop in, sample some of the finest craft beer in Ohio, and see the artwork. The brewery is located at 425 5th St. NW Canton, OH 44702.
I would not recommend that you bring your cat, though…
Life is an Adventure!