The Japanese Art of Gyotaku…most simply translated as “gyo”—fish, and “taku”—rubbing or impression; a technique developed to accurately record a fisherman’s prized catch, prior to eating it. Fish are caught, painted with a non-toxic ink, and imprinted on shoji (rice) paper. When peeled back, the paper is left with an impression yielding the exact size, shape and ultimately – the fisherman’s story. The prints are then painted, remembered and shared. Most importantly, the fish is then washed clean and prepared as a meal.
Brandon Tengan was raised in Kaneohe, Hawaii; his love and passion for the ocean first began with surfing. However, when the surf got flat, he slowly took up diving and fishing and once he started…he got hooked. Brandon considers himself blessed and fortunate to have been taught by many skilled fisherman and dive partners, continuing to learn each time he heads out. Initially taught gyotaku by a family friend, what started as a small backyard hobby is now a fun business endeavor.
Prior 2 Pupu Productions was founded in 2007 to showcase Brandon’s artwork creations. His prints preserve the memory of a fisherman’s catch before being served as his personal favorite - “pupus,” the Hawaiian word for appetizer. Over the years, Brandon’s work has been featured in numerous galleries, retailers, and festivals. From a collaboration print for a musical album cover to background art for a major Hollywood movie, his art has afforded so many unique opportunities. His favorite still remains sharing the gyotaku experience for countless school workshops and private classes.