Artist Profile

Corinne Danzl

Story by Amy Armstrong

Her childhood was filled with drawing and sketching, but Corinne Danzl of Ink Goes Wild in Seward never thought of herself as an artist. Nor did she ever think art would become her full-time career.

Yet, that is exactly what she is today: an artist. But not just any type of artist.

Corinne specializes in Gyotaku, also known as fish rubbing, which is the traditional method used by Japanese fisherman to record their catch. The practice of inking a whole but cleaned fish dates to the mid-1800s.

ishermen applied ink to a completely dry fish and then pressed rice paper – known in Japan as “Washi” – to the fish to capture the details of the fish including its length and other characteristics.

As an art form, it spread across the world and also found an appropriate home in Seward with its economic dependence on the bounty of the sea.

For Corinne, it became an unexpected extension of her love of fishing and seafood.

“I love the outdoors and fishing, as well as creating one-of-a-kind works of art with some of the fish my husband and I catch,” she says. Her husband, Keith, a retired correctional officer, helps Corinne with the business side of Ink Goes Wild.

Corinne held a number of different jobs previously – including a long-term stint as a correctional officer at the Spring Creek Correctional Center.

“I liked my former job (as a correctional officer) but working with dead fish is much easier than working with hardened felons. The fish never back talk and they always comply with my demands,” she says. “I am finding my new career path very relaxing and enjoyable.”

Now her days are full of creativity thanks to a friend who wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Iva Cooney, the founder of Ink Goes Wild and decades-long friend, wanted to “pass the torch” to Corrine who, at the time, wasn’t too sure she wanted to pursue an art career. Yet she was the only person Iva believed would “cherish her baby” after 20 years of business. Corinne was to become a fish imprinting artist.

While Corinne is enthralled with everything fishy, she was like a fish out of water when she first started the art of Gyotaku. Iva was teaching Corinne, yet there is a learning curve one must master when being schooled on just how much ink to put on a fish and how much pressure to apply when making the imprint.

“After many tries, I got one that she said, ‘oh, that looks great. Now you just have to put in the eye,’ ” Corinne recalls. “And it was terrifying to try to do that.”

Now putting the eyes on her creations is Corinne’s favorite step in the creative process.

“I love painting in the eye now,” she says. “It gives life to my artwork.”

While a larger percentage of her imprints are of fish, it is the octopus that tickles her own artistic fancy.

“I love being able to position the tentacles as if they are flowing in the water,” she says.

Her biggest challenge occurred last summer when her husband caught a 30-inch yellow rockfish. He called her as the boat was heading back to the harbor. She brought her hair dryer to the dock to get started immediately on prepping the fish for imprinting.

Its spiny back provided a unique diversification to her line of fish imprints that customers can get on coffee mugs, leggings, notecards and T-shirts as well as wall décor in various sizes.

She has a store on Zazzle where customers can order her fish imprints on a plethora of formats. Originals and reprints of her work are also available at her website inkgoeswild.com.