Photo Gallery: The art and lore of fish

Mar 26, 2024 | A Day in Photos

A tasty Jonah crab, drawn by Mike Palmer of Waquoit Bay Fish Company, is the subject of one of many artistic works at an upcoming show.

Every year, tens of thousands of people make the trek to ports across the Cape. They sit in hours of traffic, fight for the last parking spot, walk in the heat to lean over railings or walk to the end of piers to see commercial fishing boats come in. They jostle and gawk to see the catch, sometimes wondering what it is and if it will end up on their plates later. Many people have their favorite fish or shellfish, perhaps from catching or digging as a child, the way it tastes, or maybe because it looks like the angler fish in “Saving Nemo.”

Each fish also has a story to tell. Those stories, and the beauty of the fish forms, have been captured by artist Mike Palmer. Dozens of them, and why they matter to the Cape, are part of an exhibit at Barnstable Town Hall that is a partnership between Palmer and the Fishermen’s Alliance. The show is up from April 8 to June 28, with an artist’s reception on April 12. Here’s a sneak peek.

Mike has generously offered to donate 10 percent of any show sale proceeds to Fishermen’s Alliance.

Mike Palmer is backdropped by two fish that are beloved on the Cape, the summer flouncer and the mackerel.

Artist Mike Palmer is backdropped by two fish that are beloved on the Cape, the summer flounder and the menhaden, a.k.a pogy.

Each piece of art is accompanied with some biology and entertaining facts about the fish de resistance.

Mike Palmer’s drawings are meticulously researched and take several iterations to get right.

Once complete, the graphite drawing is reproduced. Palmer then starts completing it with colored pencils.

Palmer’s work is a celebration of the Cape’s finned (and shelled!) inhabitants and a testament to their importance.

Each drawing in the show is partnered with a policy objective from the Fishermen’s Alliance. With summer flounder increasing, the Fishermen’s Alliance is working to allow new entrants into the commercial fishery.

A completed squid work; one of Palmer’s most time consuming. Courtesy of Mike Palmer.

The public is welcome at the art show, with a reception April 12 at 4:30 p.m.


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