O-fish-al Art Recap: High Art Edition

A long time ago, in the far off land of social media, the Getty Museum issued a challenge to the countless isolated people of the world. Their summons was simple, “re-create your favorite art using objects and people lying around your home.” This activity was inspired by the instagram account ‘Between Art and Quarantine’ (@tussenkunstenquarantaine) and resulted in thousands of quarantined people participating in a worldwide artistic event. The #SundayFishSketch joined the fun and issued a similar challenge, but with a twist. Recreate a work of art, but incorporate a fish. The #SundayFishSketch community went all out, their creativity had no boundaries, and the hashtag enjoyed the most posts for a theme to-date. Continue reading for some of the highlights, including information on the original art pieces that were reimagined by our artists.

Lets Getty It On

Anna Gaskill brought us a Blackbelly rosefish version of ‘The Scream of Nature,’ originally created by Edvard Munch in 1893. Munch painted this work after an evening out with some friends, during which the sky turned red. At that point he recalled sensing a scream passing through nature, and this art piece was the result of the incident. Munch ended up producing multiple versions of the piece, and there are many theories as to why the sky turned red that evening. Others speculate on the inspiration behind the screaming figure in the artwork. In Anna’s version, we can clearly see why this rosefish is ‘screaming,’ the shark lurking in the background.

Fabiana Ferracina is the artist of our second iconic piece, a Blue shark version of the ‘Old Guitarist.’ Painted in 1903-1904 by Pablo Picasso, this piece was completed during his ‘blue period,’ and is thought to have been influenced greatly by the recent suicide of a friend, Picasso’s poor standard of living, and artistic modernism, impressionism, and symbolism. In Fabiana’s rendering we see a shark in his ‘blue period’ too and Fabiana does a great job with the style and painting a shark with a melancholy face.

Olivier Morissette supplied the third piece we are highlighting, a Lake sturgeon rendition of ‘The Kiss,’ by Gustav Klimt. Painted sometime between 1907-1908, this lavish piece of art includes gold leaf, silver, and platinum. Contrasting Picasso’s ‘blue period,’ Klimt painted this during his ‘golden period.’ Olivier’s use of sturgeons as a substitute fish in this piece is fitting, as Lake sturgeon are known to reproduce by swimming closely around each other in circles. 

Alex (prehistoric fish mom) went the Salvador Dalí route with these flatfish, reimagining Dalí’s well known work ‘The Persistence of Memory.’ Originally painted in 1931, Alex’s take using the floppy flat bodies of flatfishes works perfectly to match his surrealistic approaching of the melting clocks. I can’t think of a better group of fishes to represent it.

Our final two pieces, which garnered the most attention from the Twitter community, are actually two different representations of the same art piece. Filipe Martinho and Sarah Courchesne both reimagined ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring,’ by Johannes Vermeer. One of the oldest paintings featured in the #SundayFishSketch recreations, Vermeer painted this delicate subject around 1665. Like many artists, Vermeer was little known during life, and his work was rediscovered in the 19th century. Both Filipe and Sarah, highly skilled artists in their own right, did an amazing job recreating this piece. Filipe depicted a Pearl gourami, and Sarah a gar, both playing off the name of the piece ‘Pearl Gourami/Garl with a Pearl Earring.’

Wrap Up

If you want to participate in our fish art community, just draw a fish and post it on twitter with the #Sundayfishsketch. Are you hesitant to post because you feel like you have sketchy sketching skills? No worries, artists of all skill levels participate, and you can also refer to our previous blog post to find a step-by-step guide on how to draw a fish. 


What is it like to participate in the #SundayFishSketch? Just ask our artist of the month, John F. Tollefson (@TollefScience), teacher by day, artist by night.

How long have you been participating in the #SundayFishSketch?

Since January of 2019. So that’s about 18 months now. 

Why did you decide to participate and has it been difficult to sketch on a semi-regular basis?

I ran across the hashtag by good fortune in late 2018 and started to follow it. I took a few art classes in high school and have always loved to doodle, so I made it a New Year’s Resolution to “do more art” and #SundayFishSketch was my vehicle to make it happen. It hasn’t been much of a struggle at all! I look forward to the theme dropping on Friday and usually have a fish picked out by the end of the day. As with all things, every once in a while the motivation lags a little, but so far I have hit my goal of submitting every week. 

Do you believe your art has improved since joining the hashtag? 

I think it has, in some ways more than others. I think my colored pencil work has made some nice strides and across the board looking at the great art of others who participate, I get so many ideas on how to improve or modify what I am doing. Water colors… get back to me on that. Fun to play with, but still working on technique.   

What has been your favorite theme thus far and why? 

This is tough, there have been so many great themes – I can’t pick just one. I really enjoy the themes where participants can add a little humor into their art. The homecoming theme was great because I got my students involved. Tons of creativity in the Getty Museum Challenge, and finally the endemic/endangered/imperiled themes always bring attention to underrepresented species.

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