The Great Wave of Weird Fishes

I know that I am starting a new series of paintings when I get urge to do a new Wave. I was explaining to my friend how Kandinsky “discovered” abstraction by stating that color exists without shape and as a such it should be presented on the painting too.  Let’s face it! In figurative art color serves the shape. And it was so until finally a few artists decided that repeating the same old doesn’t lead anywhere and it is f* boring.  So they were figuring out how to do abstract art. Not like nowadays, when everyone is doing abstract because they are so untalented or lazy to do actual “thinking” before “painting”. So I started with an idea of separating a drawing of a shape from a color. Let color have its own way. So I made an underpainting of the canvas in gold and silver, and sprayed water- based color in combination with acrylic over it. I had a loose control over area in which specific color will be presented but even less control compared to Pollock´s painting process. I liked how little drops formed a grain, without mixing in some areas, some abstract pointillism. The background itself in the beginning had a feel of finished painting, some kind of washed out ink landscape art of the Asian origin.

Now for the shape. At the time I was working on some video editing and animation- simple stuff but it takes time and concentration. I played Radiohead in the background for a few days in the loop. I have this Radiohead playlist with featuring all songs from Kid A to A Moon Shaped Pool + TKOL RMX 1234567. I haven´t done this only for Radiohead – Dreadzone playlist consists of 360° to Sound albums, the Orb has a few different playlists, and Daft Bowie is based on Daft Punk Homework and Bowie´s Earthling. So I was listening to lot of Radiohead for almost a month and chorus “I get eaten by the worms and weird fishes” stuck in my head. In my head I imagined being eaten by a swarm of anglerfish and I thought that the name for anglerfish was Arpeggi. You have to understand that apart from listening music all my life I am musically illiterate. I wake up, I turn on my stereo and make coffee and tea. I listened to Walkman and nowadays music on my mobile phone when I go out, and I go to sleep when I turn off my stereo, but that is it. In my primary school it was not so important for kids to learn notes and my parents were not excited with an idea of their children playing an instrument. So to my surprise I discovered that Arpeggi is not a fish but arpeggio-a chord played in specific repetitive way.  And I do know repetition. So maybe, I thought, weird fishes are not weird at all, just presented in that way.  For the fish I used a European bass, although for   food I prefer Orata, but now I needed a bit longer fish to take space of boats in the composition. I removed Fuji-san to lose a sense of dimension. You might be looking at close snapshot or really big fishes, interpret it as you like. A sound is usually represented as a wave, and I emphasized rhythm and repetition through repetitive use of line. The crest of the Wave or to simplify- white areas of the Great Wave- I interpreted as a mesh made of different arpeggio played in the song coming together. For the scales of fishes I used simple repetitive water pattern. I used acrylic markers – white for the crest, gold for the skyline, sky blue, cyan, blue for the rest of the water, and metallic green and silver for fishes. After drawing I applied more spray paint “on wet” finish gloss to tone down the contrast between the drawing and the paint/color. The gloss in combination with under painted metallic colors gives this “wet” feeling to the painting. A friend of mine even asked me if it was dry, if he could touch it. I decided to lose the year from the signature- 2021 should be forgotten.

The overall experience is quite interesting. Paint/color dominates over drawing if the painting is looked from a far, and the drawing dominates if the painting is observed from up close, because of the raster effect.

Technique: acrylic on canvas

Size: 140 x 100 cm
(55.11 x 39.37 inch)

Year: November 2021

Availability: In Private Collection

100 Great Waves
Feb 21, 2013

In 2009 we were lucky to have Mr. Adachi from Adachi Institute of Woodcut Prints with Mr. Kyoso as a Japanese traditional woodblock print demonstrator to demonstrate and introduce this technique at the Academy of Fine Arts, Sarajevo. After demonstration I had an opportunity to show Mr. Adachi the photos of my works from 100 Views of Ukiyo-e. When he saw The Great Wave off Kanagawa, he asked me, How many copies did you do? I said, I did only one, as I was aiming to give one original painting to multicopy print. He said, No, You should do 100 copies. At first, the idea of doing 100 paintings of the Great Wave sounded impossible and ridiculous, but in time I realized, I don’t have to do it on canvas, I can do it on walls, it´s nothing new and it´s not the first time someone did it, and yet it becomes a public good unlike painting on canvas that is always private. So I´ve decided whenever I have a chance, to do the Great Wave on walls on each city that invites me to do it.

2018 – Update for the concept 100 Great Waves

As of 2018 I am no longer considering this project to be street art or public only, as this limits my experimental aspect of this series. Therefore my future works will include commissioned art works and indoor murals with private, semi-private and public access.