"Blue Heart: Beauty and Change Along America's Western Shoreline"

Gyotaku Art Exhibit

The Blue Heart exhibit will be on display for one year starting October 18, 2021 at the new Gladys Valley Marine Studies Building in Newport, Oregon. The public is welcome to view the art during Hatfield Marine Science Center's typical hours of operation- Monday through Friday, from 8 AM to 5 PM. Parking is available at no charge. 

What is Gyotaku?

The traditional Japanese folk art of Gyotaku, or fish rubbing, has been used by the renowned artists Dwight Hwang and Duncan Berry to create the 25 major pieces of art featured in this exhibit. They each bear emotive witness to the power and beauty of the Pacific Ocean, as well as the deep and lasting climate-driven changes that are occurring with increasing speed along our western shoreline.

"Art Illuminating Science"

"In our modern lives we are awash in science and facts, which are useful to understanding our world, but art takes us deeper in our bodies, into our hearts and our guts to really 'feel' what we are experiencing.

So feeling is what this show is all about: Bearing emotive witness to the power and beauty of the Pacific Ocean, as well as the deep and lasting climate-driven changes that are occurring with increasing speed along our western shoreline…. Changes brought about on a global scale by the choices we make every day as humans, impacting the thousands of species we share this moment in space and time with, here on planet earth.

For us, making these impressions directly from the bodies of creatures that frequent the land, sea and air along our coastlines is an 'active form of reverence' like a giant living braille. ...and in doing so we get to witness the fascinating stories of their lives and the dramatic climactic changes they are adapting to everyday. 

We hope that these images will connect you in a deeper way with the ocean and our relationship and responsibility to find ways to lessen the impacts of climate change."

-Dwight Hwang and Duncan Berry

Dwight Hwang

Dwight creates classical gyotaku art, restricting himself to the traditional materials, but working tirelessly to push not only the art but himself to bring awe, memories and quiet contemplation to viewers worldwide. 

Partnered with institutions like NOAA and Patagonia, his work has been exhibited in museums, displayed in hospitality such as the Four Seasons, and showcased in publications including Forbes.

You can view and learn more about his work HERE

Duncan Berry

Living on the Oregon Coast, "wild and beautiful places have shaped me into who I am, they are my muse and my North star. Especially the sea." A maker, a creator, Berry wants to create something "to distill the world into meaning and beauty. In doing so hoping to "further causes, change minds, put food on the table, and inevitably, to care for a world I will never see."

Berry is inspired by the "mystery and power of this planet," as it's many life forms nourish his every day life. He wants to show respect and gratitude for the space he uses, the food and water he consumes, and live a life dedicated to the well-being of others, "including those non-humans with whom I share the planet with, and that I depend upon for my life itself."

Berry believes this exhibit is an “active form of reverence” for the amazing creatures that inhabit the land, sea and air here on the western shore of America. View and learn more about his work HERE

"May these artistic creations move you with their beauty and inspire you to be an advocate for their stewardship and protection."

Introduction and History of Gyotaku

“Gyo"=Fish and “Taku"= Rubbing or impression. This Japanese folk-art has its roots in the late 1800’s in Japan. Its “high-brow" genesis story is of a Daimyo or lord that loved fishing and one of his scribes tired of writing poems to describe the fish he had caught and instead used his brush to paint Sumi ink directly on the fish itself. The “low-brow” story is of fishmongers that printed fish in order to sell them to the illiterate workers who came to build Japan's new capitol in Tokyo.

To this day it remains a visual record of sea life in Japan and around the world, preserving a wide variety of creatures at their actual size and in intricate detail, in order to share with others. This tradition has a parallel in the west in what is called nature printing, which was made famous by over a thousand years of botanical prints.

The process is simple but takes skill developed over years of practice. The subject is carefully cleaned and dried and then posed in the intended way. Ink is then carefully applied to the surface and then a lightweight paper is placed over the top of the specimen and rubbed until the entire contours of the inked creature have been transferred to the paper. It is then touched up with fine brushes, signed with a “hanko” or seal accompanied by signatures and other information and is ready for mounting. 


Step 1: The fish specimen is prepared by cleaning it thoroughly and pinning out its fins, and is then covering it with high quality, finely ground artists inks.

Step 2: A lightweight archival paper made from the bark of the Paper Mulberry bush is then moistened slightly and applied directly to the surface of the fish, and carefully rubbed with finger tips and small tools to gain a clear impression.

Step 3: The resulting image is a perfect likeness of the surface of the fish. Nature as a printing press!

Step 4: The final print has an illustrated eye added to it, and then finished with a species description, location, red seal and signature.