Derby's surreal quality comes through in art
A striped bass glistens in the moonlight under the Gay Head cliffs. It is a dream-like image meant to conjure up the spirit that permeates the fishing waters and landscape where Derby winners are caught and lost.
"Taking Flight" is the latest creation by artist and fisherman Dimitry Schidlovsky. The painting is the third in a series of oil paintings and signed limited edition prints commissioned by the Derby committee to honor the skill and determination it takes to win the grand slam competition.
Outdoor artist Dimitry Schidlovsky's "Taking Flight" is the latest in a series of oil paintings and limited edition prints inspired by the Derby's grand slam competition, the quest to catch the heaviest (combined weight) striped bass, bluefish, bonito, and false albacore. Courtesy of the artist.
The derby committee came up with the idea to create a special print that could be presented to each year's grand slam winners as a way to recognize the grand slam accomplishment. In previous comments Dimitry told me that each image in the grand slam series is intended to tell a story that connects to the fishing experience and folklore of fishing in some way.
The grand slam competition is a competition within the Derby that helps to separate the lucky from the determined. The object is to catch a bonito, false albacore, striped bass and bluefish during the course of the five-week long Derby from shore or boat with a rod and reel or a fly rod.
The fishermen with the heaviest combined total weight of all four Derby species in each of the four categories are judged to be a winner.
I recently e-mailed Dimitry at his studio in Sea Cliff, N.Y. to ask him to tell me something about the inspiration for this year's print. He replied that he wanted to tell a really good fishing story with his painting. He wanted to "make it unbelievable and larger than life. Full of half truths and exaggerations."
That is what accounts for the subtle, surreal quality, he said. His memory of seeing the Gay Head cliffs for the first time 30 years ago also seeped into the image. The landscape was "something mysterious, majestic and imposingly beautiful."
Chris Ryan, Kenny Abbott, Lee Welch and Scott Hitchings pose with a potential new state saltwater record wahoo caught Friday. Kenny battled the fish while aboard Lee's boat, aptly named the "Live Wire," during a trip to the canyons south of the Vineyard. The fish weighed 131 pounds and easily beat the current state record of 92 pounds. Wahoo are extremely fast fish and fine table fare. Photo by Jennifer Rand
I remember the first time I fished the surf on a dark night beneath the cliffs. The light and the shadows and the texture of the cliffs looming behind me combined with the spirit of the place to create one of the spookiest fishing experiences of my life.
Dimitry said he chose to include Gay Head as part of his composition because of the subconscious impact it makes. What he referred to as "haunting cliffs and haunting bass illuminated by the moon" are part of a surreal rendition meant to capture the romantic folklore and spirit of the place.
Dimitry brings a unique blend of fishing experience and artistic skill to the job of honoring the grand slam accomplishment. He knows his fish.
Dimitry's 2004 and 2005 original grand slam series oil paintings are on display at the Dragon Fly Gallery in Oak Bluffs. Selections from his Trophy Prints series are on display at the Edgartown Scrimshaw Gallery on Main Street in Edgartown and the Kennedy Gallery in Vineyard Haven.
Dimitry's artwork includes a series called Trophy Prints. The collection includes striped bass, bonito, fluke, bluefish and weakfish. The framed prints include a shadow box for including the fly or lure of your choice. The prints make wonderful gifts or reminders of fish caught.
See the full range of Dimitry's work on his web site at www.dimitry.com.
The Kid's Day Derby results contained the incorrect spelling of Noah Wasserman, who caught the largest scup. I spelled it as Washerman and his sharp-eyed grandmother called me on it.
Speaking of scup
The Massachusetts recreational scup fishery closes Saturday. Scup caught prior to the closure may not be used as bait after Saturday. Fishermen, even those who possess a commercial scup license, may not use scup while fishing the Derby. Fishermen caught using scup risk disqualification.
A fisherman said he recently fished the jetty at Menemsha and was very disturbed to see the mess left by fishermen. Drink containers, bait boxes and fishing line were among the debris.
Unfortunately, the slobs among us ruin it for all fishermen. It is up to every fisherman to report the slobs among us. Littering is a crime. Leaving trash where you fish is plain stupid and is subject to Derby penalties.