When I first heard that Sam Curtis was a Fishmonger and an artist, I didn’t really feel interested as Fishmongers aren’t all that interesting, however after the lecture I feel inspired (He has inspired a new Random Series character – MONGER MASTER!). Sam started off with talking about being employed as a “Artist Residency”, he sent a written letter to both the Prime Minister at the time Tony Blair and the Queen, both responded but both declined him. So he just became independent and became his own artist, however he did need a job to pay the bills and this is when the interesting stuff came in – He became a Fish Monger at Harrods. Him and his fellow employee’s would display the fish and would of course sell them, however Sam did it a bit differently – he displayed the fish but in a narrative set with patterns and what not,. which I thought was really clever. I questioned him at the end of the lecture and asked if he thought about using hooks, nets and various other fishing related equipment in his displays and he said he feels its better with just the stock with maybe the odd Lemon or Parsley, which I agree with it doesn’t need any more detail however it would help the narrative perspective of the display in my opinion. The way he was talking about it got me really excited and made it sound like the most exciting job ever is a Fish Monger, he mentions how new stock came in everyday, the fishermen would occasionally catch something new and exciting and they would make different displays each and every time – the displays would change whenever the ice melted or the fish got sold, completely changing the piece all together it was really fascinating. He’s a part of “CIRF” (Centre for Innovative and Radical Fishmongery) which basically an organisation that works to intersect fishmongery with art and I personally believe this concept works and would love to witness it live one day, I can remember as a child I would always stare at the fish monger counter and would admire the patterns, never thinking it would result into an actual way of practising art. Sam made me feel more confident about my own created style of Sponge Art, people do art with sponges with paints however my work is with sponges and toothpicks, a unique concept that I hope takes off and ends up just as popular as Fishmongery art. He told us that he even got other artists involved and let them display the fish in their own way and he learned many techniques and saw many styles he would of never of thought of, two examples being Prawns holding hands in a “Ring around the roses” sort of style and 4 Basses kissing – this made me think again of my sponge art and how I personally learned new techniques through the children. He showed us the website of CIRF and the “BIRMINGHAM BULLRING FISHMONGERS CHAMPIONSHIPS 2014”, which is a competition for 2 main categories: Best display and best knife skills, I will leave a link at the bottom where you can view this awesome art style at the bottom.
Centre for Innovative and Radical Fishmongery website: http://www.cirf.org.uk/
I also love how disgusted that lady looks in the photo!