I was looking through some files on my computer and realized that I have a slight octopus obsession. I’ve made paintings and prints of them, used them on wallet designs, a button, I painted two of them on an antique claw foot bathtub and even painted a couple of them on somebody’s body. Looking around the studio right now I’m wondering what else I could put an octopus on. I’m sure I’ll find something…keychain, pocket mirror, t-shirt, etc. Here are some of the octopus creations I’ve made over the years. Some of them are available to purchase and some have already found happy homes. I’ve listed them in chronological order, to the best of my knowledge, to see the evolutionary changes my octopi have gone through. Enjoy the ride.
“Underworld Inhabitants” – 2005
This is the first octopus I could find in my digging around. It’s a collaboration painting I did for the second show I put on in my gallery, The Collaboartion Show, with Lindasimo.
Unfortunately, it never sold so I eventually painted over it. If I remember correctly it got painted over with this:
“A Motley Crew Of Degenerates”
It’s hard to imagine I went a whole year before making another octopus, but I couldn’t find anything else in my files until this piece.
“Octopi Solo” – 2006 (sold)
This one brought about a new technique for me. For a long time I preferred drawing my characters with a Rapidograph pen on paper as opposed to painting them with a brush on a wood panel, but I wanted to make paintings instead of drawings, so there was a bit of a struggle. At the time I just couldn’t get as detailed with the paintbrush as I could with the pen and this new method I came up with allowed me to combine painting and drawing without having to cut my drawings out of paper and glueing them to a painted board, which is what I was doing a lot of at the time. This technique with “Octopi Solo” was painting the wood and pouring a layer of resin over it. The Rapidograph ink draws nice and smooth on the resin so I would draw on that and then pour a layer of resin over the ink drawing to protect it.
“Octogirl” – 2006 (sold)
Simple enough, just a coffee soaked piece of paper with a drawing of a girl that has tentacles.
“You’ve Been A Bad Octopi” – 2006 (sold)
This is ink on paper, which I’m a huge fan of, but I learned quick that the pieces that sold fastest were the ones that were on wood with the clear gloss resin coating. Selling artwork fast is good when the sales of your art determine if you can pay rent. At this time I started mounting my drawings on wood so I could cover them with resin. The paper on this one turned ever so slightly transparent so you can actually see some wood grain through the paper when you look close. It’s much easier to see when looking at the original in person as opposed to this picture. Eventually, I added some color digitally to use this drawing as a graphic for my line of wallets.
The wallet is available for $16 and can be purchased at: https://www.etsy.com/listing/103220337/wallet-youve-been-a-bad-octopi.
Apparently, there is another gap in the creation of octopi because I can’t find any record of them until 2009.
“Demetri, The Curious Octopi” – 2009 (sold)
Pictured here is the limited edition print. The original painting is a 12″ square and I painted it for my “Lovesick” show at the now defunct gallery, Alpha Cult. The original is no longer available, but the print is an 8″ square and available for $80 at: https://www.etsy.com/listing/73195102/print-demetri-the-curious-octopi-limited.
I also used “Demetri” for this wallet design, which is available for $16 at: https://www.etsy.com/listing/93742647/wallet-demetri-the-curious-octopi.
“No Need To Escape” – 2009 (sold)
I painted this one for my show at “Picking Daises“, which is a cute boutique that makes awesome handmade cloth napkins. For the show I screen printed a bunch of napkins in addition to showing new paintings. Fun stuff! The napkins have long since been sold out.
“Antique Tub” – 2009
My friend Adam commissioned me to paint this awesome claw foot tub he found on craigslist, which is one of the most fun commissions I’ve done to date. I’ve got to tell you though, that thing weighed more than a rhinoceros. Not to mention, the contortions I had to put my body through to paint this odd shaped thing would impress any yoga instructor.
“Fluffy Omelet” – 2009 (sold)
Years ago, I made the mistake of visiting my parents house when they were cleaning out their garage. This is a couple that has been married for over 30 years and has moved residences more times than there are silverfish living in all the boxes stored in their garage. Also, I’m pretty sure they’ve never thrown anything away. Some of the boxes being stored simply get moved from one house to the next. If you’ve ever encountered such a scenario you can understand the type of clusterfuck I’m talking about here. To their credit, they got rid of A LOT of stuff that day. Unfortunately, I’ve picked up some of their pack rat mentalities that I’m trying to overcome. Anyway, I found this super awesome cookbook from 1964 while helping them get rid of stuff that should have been twenty years deep in a landfill by that point. Instead, it was floating around in my parents garage waiting for me to find it. The cookbook was full of illustrations that I thought were awesome. I’m not sure if it was custom illustration or just cheesy 60′s clip art. Either way I thought the pages would be great to paint on. And paint I did. In addition to “Fluffy Omelet” I also painted these. It was a popular series and I made button packs featuring some of the cookbook pages. “Fluffy Omelet” is featured in this pack.
The pack of five buttons is available for $5 and can be purchased at: https://www.etsy.com/listing/62077364/button-pack-the-cookbook-series-set-2.
Sketchbook Doodle – 2009
From time to time people come into my store and ask if I can draw something in their book. I must have been in an octopus mood at the time.
Embodiment – 2010
These little octopi were done for the Embodiment Show at Native Lounge in Downtown SLO. If my memory serves me correctly this was the week where the theme was “surf”, so painting sea creatures seemed fitting.
2012 has proved to be a busy octopus year so far.
“Off You Go” – 2012
This was a commission painting and is part of a series of four 6″ square paintings. I wasn’t asked to specifically paint an octopus. In fact, I was given free reign to paint whatever I wanted so long as the four pieces looked good together.
“Friendly Octopi” – 2012 (sold)
From time to time I go through this “spray paint on paper with ink” phase, which is exactly what it sounds like. I spray paint paper. Then I paint with ink over the top of it. Although the original “Friendly Octopi” is gone there is an 8″ x 10″ print available for $16 at: https://www.etsy.com/listing/101124638/8×10-print-friendly-octopi.
“Inky Octopus” – 2012 (sold)
This little painting was done during my last “spray paint on paper” phase, but is also part of an ACEO series, which is something I’ve never done before. ACEO is an acronym for “art cards, editions and originals” and by the ACEO definition the work must be 2.5″ x 3.5″. I don’t think it matters if the orientation is vertical or horizontal. Anyway, it’s fun to work in really small scale sometimes. I probably made a dozen of these, but I only made two featuring our favorite eight tentacled sea creature.
“Prince Octopi” – 2012
This one is available for $15 at: https://www.etsy.com/listing/96816163/original-aceo-prince-octopi.
If you enjoyed this post please let me know. It was a lot of work and took way longer than I expected. My original intention was just to post photos of some of the octopus paintings I’ve done and leave it at that. Then it turned into much more, going through eight years worth of images on my hard drive hunting down every octopus I could click my mouse on. Then digging through the trenches of my memory bank to give a little story about each piece as opposed to just listing the clever title and year of execution. It’s been a fun journey for me going through these images and I hope you enjoyed the trip as well.