I want to be able to be a writer and a painter and an illustrator and a sculptor and not have to be confined by the taxonomies of art making or of literature… Why are we so eager to draw these disciplinary walls?
One of his latest projects embodies this philosophy as he combines extensive research, a conservationist agenda, fierce artistic talent and skilled writing in a multimedia tribute to the humble eel.
There is a book, titled Eels: An Exploration, From New Zealand to the Sargasso, of the World’s Most Amazing and Mysterious Fish, which the New York Times reviews favorably (link below).
There are paintings, done in a traditional Japanese style known as gyotaku (fish printing), where paint is applied directly to a dead fish and subsequently applied to the paper.
And there is a documentary called The Mystery of Eels airing tonight on PBS at 8pm (but check your local listings). Catch it if you can. If not, the program will be available for streaming from PBS shortly after the broadcast.
James Prosek online portfolio, including current exhibits and upcoming lectures
The New York Times’ review of Prosek’s book, Eels: An Exploration, From New Zealand to the Sargasso, of the World’s Most Amazing and Mysterious Fish
An Interview with Prosek about his eel painting project