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Don’t Play Koi with Me – Hand Colored Edition

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“Don’t Play Koi With Me,” Colored Edition

This is a hand-colored limited edition (5 prints) of “Don’t Play Koi With Me.” Each print has been hand colored, by me, with watercolor and calligraphy inks. Gold ink in the fish’s body and tail makes the koi sparkle.

“Don’t Play Koi with Me!” celebrates both the human figure and the art of tattooing.

The human form is an enduring theme in art. To study, and to understand the human form, students often draw from live models. For the viewer, an artistically posed nude is a familiar, and pleasing, sight. And yet, a glimpse of a tattoo underneath a sleeve can still conjure up negative connotations. My goal for this design was to show the artistic nature of tattooing through a traditional “art school” pose.

The design of the tattoo itself represents strength, courage, and the ability to overcome life’s challenges. The Koi fish is one of the most popular Japanese tattoo symbols. An ancient legend tells that if a koi fish successfully swam up the waterfalls of the Yellow River to the Dragon Gate, it would magically transform into a dragon. Thus the koi symbolizes courage and perseverance. Joining the koi are a waterlily (or lotus) and cherry blossoms. The cherry blossoms remind the viewer of the fragility of life, while the waterlily offers the possibility of reformation and rebirth.

Limited Edition: 5 prints
Image size: 3.5″w x 7.25″h
Paper size: 8.5″w x 11″h
Medium: Wood Engraving
Material: Resingrave
Paper: Acid-free Arches Text Wove
Ink: Graphic Chemical Oil-Based relief ink, black
Colors: Calligraphy Inks and Watercolor
By Alexia Rostow, 2011


To puchase this print, check it out on Etsy!



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