I’d never drawn – never even thought about drawing – an octopus until a friend asked me to create something for an e-book she was getting ready to publish. I had no idea how to begin – should I try for something realistic or go very stylized? So I spent a lot of time looking at photos of these intelligent, beautiful creatures and making a lot of sketches. After a few go-rounds, my friend selected the octopus that seemed right and I completed the remainder of the cover artwork and I put away octopus thoughts and sketches.
And then, Jinxi Caddel of Simple Seed Candles (an Etsy shopowner like me) contacted me to find out if I had any octopus artwork that I would be interested in submitting as part of her project, Eight Arms of Inspiration. Octopus artwork? You bet your beak, I have some octopus artwork! It was really kind of great. I had done several sketches for my friend’s book that I had wanted to develop, but hadn’t made the time to do so. Now here was the perfect opportunity. Two of the finished products are included here along with some of my sketches. I’m really thrilled to have been included in this project and want to thank Jinxi for contacting me. I’ve only seen a tiny fraction of the artwork she’s received and it’s amazing. Such an incredible variety and so much love and creativity. I’ll let Jinxi tell you more about the project, below:
Eight Arms of Inspiration: The Octopus Art Project is a collaborative octopus art book project that seeks to honor outstanding artists and their work, while supporting arts education and keeping creativity alive in schools. The idea of the project rose from my lifelong adoration and intrigue with the almighty octopus.
As a writer, editor, and longtime cephalopod admirer (who also wears a large realistic octopus tattoo on my neck and chest area) it was inevitable that my love for collective art, octopi, and book projects would eventually collide.
For the past four years I have worked on some wonderful book projects for Memento Publishing as an editor and writer, where we create art and tattoo-related publications. One of our books, Cranial Visions, was a mixed medium collection featuring various artistic interpretations of the skull. I loved that this publication featured artists of many different mediums and I wanted to bring a talented group of creative souls together in a similar way where they were all focused on one subject.
Because of my fondness for cephalopods and the incredibly diverse ways that there are to bring their beauty to life, I decided that focusing on the octopus would be a great way to bring all of these artistic talents together and honor this beautiful eight-armed creature with three hearts, no bones, and blue blood, known as the octopus.
Another important element to the project was to give back to the artistic community and help to inspire young artists to follow their creative aspirations and keep their imaginations growing and flourishing. So an added incentive for getting involved in the Eight Arms Project is that 10% of the profits from book sales will go towards arts education through an incredible charitable organization called donorschoose.org that connects donors to classrooms in need.
The response to this idea has truly been overwhelming. The incredible array of submissions that have rolled in so far are awe-inspiring and I am consistently blown away each day when I go to my inbox and see the artistic beauty that is before me. The artists involved are not only talented and ingenious, but their love for this subject matter and passion for the project has been inspiring to the say the least.
We are looking at a fall release date for the book and there will be updates and information available on the Eight Arms of Inspiration website (www.EightArmsProject.com) and the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/EightArmsProject) throughout the process. After the submission deadline, we still plan to upload octopus artwork to the site and keep the octo-love flowing; so the book will not be the end of this project and we hope that everyone will continue to create and come together as a creative force!
Thanks for your help and time!
Eight arms of hugs,