This week I worked on two different octopus paintings. I have used this subject matter before, but I like revisiting it in different ways. The octopus allows me to play with both color and composition, since in real life they can change color and are among the most flexible animals in the world. I know this because I am a nerd and I like to listen to documentaries on the animals I paint as I paint them. With the octopus I can use any color scheme, and set up the composition almost any way I want, while still keeping the animal realistic and recognizable.
The first time I painted an octopus was about a year and a half ago. I was designing a billboard to submit to a contest, and I had to work in an extremely long and narrow format. I chose to use an octopus because I knew that it was flexible enough to make a good composition on the odd shape of the billboard. Everything else I tried looked awkward and cut-off, but with the octopus I didn’t have to worry about this problem.
The billboard contest was through an organization called ArtPop Street Gallery. They work with advertising companies to give artists billboards to display their artwork on for an entire year. The vinyl that the art is printed on is moved to many different locations over the span of the year. I ended up being one of the winners and had my octopus painting blown up to 14 x 48 feet and put on the side of a highway for the entirety of 2018. It was the craziest, most wonderful thing to ever happen. because of this experience I have grown to really like painting octopuses and expanding on what I did with the first octopus painting.