Gyotaku Demo at Banyan Drive Art Stroll

January 9, 2017, 11:41 AM HST
* Updated September 8, 5:07 PM
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Brandon Tengan has a love affair with the ocean as a surfer, fisherman, and fish print artist. Courtesy photo.

Brandon Tengan has a love affair with the ocean as a surfer, fisherman and fish print artist.

Tengan will demonstrate gyotaku, the art of fish printing, at Suisan Fish Market on Lihiwai Street, on Saturday, Jan. 14, from 3 to 4 p.m. as part of the Banyan Drive Art Stroll.

As stated on his web site, Prior 2 Pupu Productions, “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.”

Tengan was raised in Kaneohe.


He said, 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.


Tengan 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.

Locally, Tengan’s work is carried by Banyan Gallery near the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. Banyan Gallery will feature an exhibit of photographers’ images selected for a calendar of Lili‘uokalani Gardens during the Banyan Drive Art Stroll.


The event is free and open to the public, and children are welcome.

This is the first of a series of events to celebrate the centennial of Lili‘uokalani Gardens, which is bounded by Lihiwai Street and Banyan Drive on the Waiakea peninsula in Hilo.

Watch for news of the complete schedule of exhibits, demonstrations, and entertainment at the Banyan Drive Art Stroll.

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