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A work in progress - preliminary plans for sculpture.
Fish #64 Spotted Barracudina Arctozenus risso ~ Tony Bellars
Wood, brass pins, acrylic paint and lacquer Length 60 cm (twice life size)
Arctozenus risso Bonaparte 1840. With many synonyms, it is a species of barracudina and not related to the tropical barracudas. It is named after the European ichthyologist Antonio Risso. It is found in all the oceans of the world except for the tropical equatorial zone. The fish is found from the surface to 2200 metres; its maximum length is 30 cm. It is found in small schools or by itself, feeding on shrimps and small fishes. It is regarded as of least concern in the IUCN red list status. It is not used by man but is caught as a by product in deep water fisheries. It is an important food source for dolphins, albacore and cephalopods. The earliest fossil record is from the upper-Tertiary Miocene period.
I have been fascinated by birds, boats and fish since childhood. With an enquiring mind, a house full of books, cigarrette and trade cards to collect and indulgent parents who encouraged my early attempts at drawing. Living near the sea, I fished with rods, long lines and shrimp nets and enjoyed identifying the fish and shore creatures. I remember a lump sucker, Cyclopterus lumpus, and a Sun fish, Mola mola, washed up on the tide line. The latter I have seen on sailing trips crossing the North Sea and in the Mediteranean. In my early teens I once caught a twenty pound conger eel from the shore in Dorset.
A career boat building, art school and teaching were to follow. Always an artist and initially a painter I found making fish, boats and birds from wood more interesting. A chance gift from my late father's library, Victor Bellars, artist and fine angler. Author of fishing books. His gift included, Jonathan Couch's A History of the Fishes of the British Islands and Fish of the World by Hiroshi Aramata. This reprinted collection of 19th century paintings introduced me to the earliest colour catalogue of exotic fishes. Dating from 1719 and published by Louis Renard and illustrated by Samuel Fallours, it is one of the rarest books in the world. His highly decorative fish have been an influence on my work, including my work the Spotted Barracudina.
I chose to do this fish as I am drawn to these streamlined fishes, mackerel, trout, pike, perch and the barracudas, although this fish is not related to them. I have made it twice life size and have used a richer pallet of colours in the naive manner of childhood, whilst taking liberties with the bone-like lateral line plates, mine being red dots and raised brass pins. I hope an ichthyologist might still recognise the species?
Further details of my varied work can be found at TONY BELLARS ARTIST on Facebook
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