This was a fun one! I sat down with Fish Veterinarian and Researcher Dr. Roy Yanong to discuss my process of fish illustration and my trajectory from Marine Biologist to full time Aquatic Artist.
AQUARIUMANIA Episode 93 - The Science of Fish Art: Nick Mayer’s Journey from Marine Biologist to Award-Winning Artist
You can listen to the Interview here by clicking the play button:
Dr. Yanong himself has had an interesting career, devoting his entire life to the study of fish. He received degrees from Yale, Tufts & Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Yanong and his colleagues at the University of FL Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences and the UF College of Veterinary Medicine work collaboratively to promote the advancement of aquatic animal medicine and fish health management. It also turns out that he actually teaches a course in Fish Medicine at Roger Williams University, where my son is currently a student! Dr. Yanong is currently President of the American Association of Fish Veterinarians and Chair of the Aquatics Working Group for the American Veterinary Medical Association's Panel on Euthanasia.
Paintings I reference in the Pod:
"I was originally called the Turtle Man as a kid because I would catch turtles all the time at a pond near my house called Willett Pond. I don't know why but everything aquatic was just my thing."
PAINTED TURTLE STUDY
"Invertebrate Zoology taught by Dr. Mark Bertness my advisor was an extremely difficult course at Brown University, but I just absolutely loved it. I memorized the whole phylogenetic tree of the invertebrates and to this day it is still in my head."
INVERTEBRATE ZOOLOGY LAB NOTEBOOK
"The science to art was all one trajectory. The scientific way of observing something is how I'm able to translate that onto a piece of paper. This may sound a little weird, but just staring at something, you eventually figure it out. Giant Kelpfish have this ridiculous reticulated coloration that is not a pattern and I spent so much time staring at these things and then it just clicked."
"One that stands out was the Juvenile Emperor Angelfish. It was a really difficult challenge because they have these concentric electric blue circles right next to jet black and being able to do this with watercolor without the colors bleeding together was a really difficult challenge."
JUVENILE EMPEROR ANGELFISH
"Another one is the Giant Trevally-- I count and paint every scale on every fish, but I went all out on that one. I've never seen one, never caught one, but they've always been a dream fish for me."
BOSS GIANT TREVALLY