Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Zen and the art of fish tank maintenance: 'Aquascapers' herald the end for treasures chests and shipwrecks with arty installations


The seemingly mundane world of fish keeping has now received an arty makeover with the emergence of the 'Aqueous Art Movement'

A new trend of creating amazing living pictures in fish tanks has emerged from a group of enthusiasts - and is fast becoming a major art movement.

And it could spell the end to the traditional treasure chest, shipwreck and diver that adorn the usual British fish tanks.

Members of the Aqueous Art Movement design incredible scenes - or aquascapes - beneath the water that are described as moving pictures.

The plants, stone, lighting and types of fish are carefully selected to make the tanks genuine works of art.

The arty fish fans who base their minimalist designs on Zen gardens from Japan

The meticulous design of the Aquascapers take months to construct and the position of each rock, plant and bit and gravel is vital to the brotherhood of four designers who founded the movement. George Farmer's 'Zen Symbiance'

Graeme Edwards at work creating an Aquascape: The fishy works of art take up to 12months to complete

Some are based on Japanese styles and others influenced by Zen Buddhism - and they've even appeared at the Chelsea Flower show.

Even the character of the fish is important because calming designs require slow swimming fish.

They can take up to a year to design and build and the idea is that once set up the plants continue to grow and the fish take the eye around the whole picture.

They are so admired that the movement has held an exhibition at a top London gallery.

James Starr-Marshall, 36, a teacher, said: 'We were all fish keepers and about 15 years ago we came across a guy from Japan who is the father of aquascapes.

'For six or seven years we experimented to get the plants growing. It is a careful balance between nutrients, lighting and Co2.

'After we learned the methods we were able to apply the creative side.

'We use natural materials and tropical plants that grow solely beneath the water. We want to create paintings that grow and evolve.

'The fish are there to comliment the scene and the size, colour and behaviour of the fish are all taken into account.

'The fish help move you eye around the picture.

'Some designs have a Japanese influence, others are based on Zen and others are based on real places - such as Durdle Door in Dorset.

'We can offer to create tanks for people or organisations and the reactions we get are very positive.'

source: dailymail

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