From the publisher: I was looking back on the past ten months, since Captain David Rieumont and I first started publishing this web site. We've come a long way -- or we should say the site's come a long way. This article -- about an artist and his wife, who create the most incredible fish out of stainless steel -- was the first about what we're calling "Fishy Art". There are a few more, and we're going to bring them back to life, because the artwork inspired by our passion for our sport -- and the creatures we target and protect -- is something that's of interest to us personally and to our readers. A lot of you are new, and may not have read it. If you think the artwork is as beautiful as we do, do us all a favor and contact the artist. His work takes six months and more to produce, so even if you want one -- you'll have to wait like we've been doing :)
What, no new reels?Actually, we're about to review a new reel, but this article's about a product that some of us find among our most cherished possessions -- fishing artwork.
If you think you use the term "Fish" or "Fishing" when you do Google or Yahoo searches a lot, think again. As publishers of an online fishing magazine, we're only as good as a) our ability to actually write new articles from scratch (which while not hard, takes a lot of time to edit and get correct) and b) finding stuff on the web that's related to fishing, and that we can get permission to use. Being what's called a "creative" (which means you make stuff up) requires that you do research -- lots of research.
While doing just that this morning, the thought of fishing artwork came to mind. I have fallen out of touch with a few outstanding local fish-art artists, and hope to find them soon, but the idea of finding cool fishing artwork came to mind, and -- if our readers like this article -- we're going to keep working to do research on the subject, and hopefully bring you some great visuals.
We've talked about reviews before -- the good and the bad. The good is you get to play with new stuff. The bad is you have to either beg for it from manufacturers or get your friends to lend you whatever it is you're reviewing. In this case we couldn't do either -- and probably won't in the future. But the visuals we say were so outstanding we can tell how they feel. In this case, a 'comparitive' review -- the only kinds we think count -- aren't necessary.
This review is about artwork; stunning, outstanding fish made of stainless steel, which in the words of the artist "Is the only metal on earth that could truly cast these fish. Nothing else has the touch, the feel, the reality of Stainless."
When asked about the possiblity of our placing Roger's shining Silver Kinds (literally in this case) in one of our partner's retail stores, where people would be touched by the life in the metal, Roger said "There is no 'inventory' in my studios. The pieces you've seen were being done for people. I only do them when ordered."
I have to be truthful. You're talking serious money for one of Roger's pieces. He can create -- working six day weeks (you ever stood close to a forge? Could you identify one if smokey heat waves weren't blurring the air above your head?) perhaps 36 pieces a year. Not enough revenue for an artist to, let's say, summer at the Cannes festival. For an artist using toilet paper in a bottle of dog urine, perhaps? For somebody doing our native species in hardened steel? Nah.
But his work's found it's ways into the homes and offices of many fisherman, politicians, and movie stars who've caught a tarpon, pulled redfish till their shoulders were hurting, or hunted specks on open flats on a hot Texas afternoon near San Pedro Island.
The name of the company I found is Rivers to Reef Sculpture, and is comprised of a guy named John Rogers Fowler and his wife Kathy. I don't know how many speckled sea trout this guy's caught lately, but if he hasn't caught at least a few hundred in his life, I can't imagine how these things came out of his hands. Same thing with every fish image you'll see on his site. These things are gorgeous, and if I wasn't spending our money making this site speak Spanish (no kidding) and creating a program on here that will help you keep the fishing journals you're too lazy to keep yourselves, I would already have one on my desk.
Visit this site and check out the artwork. Although this is the first artist we're going to review on our site, there are a few locals whose incredible abilities will be a regular feature -- and regular visual on our site.
Here are a few words from the artist that I stole directly from his site (I called him already, and I doubt he will hate our talking about him, his family, and his artwork).
I think there is something magical about the appearance of a fish seen up close. No creature on earth has such an interesting combination of complex colors and many look like they are illuminated from within when they are seen in direct sunlight.
Sixteen years ago my goal was to create a sculpture that looked lifelike........ a new, unique kind of sculpture which reflected light and displayed color as if it were alive. A sculpture that was completely different from anything I had ever seen. One that would stand out in a gallery or in a collection of other sculptures with traditional patinas.
My sculpture today is primarily polished stainless steel .......... or polished bronze when appropriate for such species as redfish. I use an extremely transparent patina that allows the polished metal to reflect light back through the color to give the sculpture its lifelike appearance. Each piece is sealed with a clear coating designed specifically for outdoor sculpture.
All of the work on each piece is done in our studio. Molds of our original carvings are made by my wife and partner, Cathy (who also creates angels in bronze and is an accomplished author).
I don't allow the foundries to do anything other than rough-cast the stainless and bronze. All of the finish work......... from grinding and polishing the metal to applying the color details......... is mine.
As a result, you get a sculpture that was made one at a time by the artist who signed it.
These sculptures are intensely personal as I am trying very hard to make each one better than the last. My goal for each sculpture is very straight forward......... I am attempting to make it the best in the world. I hope that's what you are seeking. Thanks for taking a look.