Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Giant Pacific Octopus screenprint

My friend Faunalia and I are taking a screenprinting course. It's a nice way to try out a variety of methods. Our first class, we used paper stencils. Though this is the method with which I've made most of my screenprints, mine was a complete disaster. I managed to destroy my stencil on my first attempt at pulling a print by over-doing it and getting ink everywhere. Failure is a harsh teacher sometimes, but I need to remember I am there to learn, and I did learn something. I'm happy to say my second print is much more what I had in mind.

Giant Pacific octopus screenprint

This is my screenprint of a Giant Pacific Octopus. It's large (the sheet is 50.5 cm by 36 cm or 19.9 inches by 14.2 inches). It's printed in a dark raspberry colour on white paper. I made it using screen drawing fluid and screen filler, which allowed me to paint directly onto the screen, so it has a rather spontaneous feel. This is one of an edition of 9 prints. I was inspired by seeing some of these amazing creatures off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Sometimes we work with remotely operated vehicles (basically, submersible robots) which allow us to see what, or who is on the seafloor.

detail: Giant Pacific octopus screenprint

Enteroctopus dofleini, also known as the Giant Pacific Octopus or North Pacific Giant Octopus, may be the largest octopus on Earth. They have been weighed at as much as 71 kg (156.5 lbs) and measured with arm-spans exceeding 6.1 m (20 ft) ! Though more typically, adults usually weigh around 15 kg (33 lbs), with an arm span of up to 4.3 m (14 ft). They are quite astounding creatures.

My former neighbour was a scuba diving instructor who had a job at certain BC tourist trap, where visitors were able to descend into a building with windows on the shallow ocean floor, where there was a small aquarium collection of creatures. More than anything, my neighbour dreaded the giant Pacific octopus, which he felt was mischievious to a frightening degree. He swore that the octopus pulled pranks. Often, the tourists would complain that there was no octopus visible in the window. So, my former neighbour D would have to enter the pen and coax the octopus into view. He said it would hide above the window, just out of sight. After the octopus tired of this game, it invented a new one. D would swim into the pen, only to find that the octopus had hidden above the door, swam out as he entered, and the latched the door behind him, locking D in the pen until he could alert his co-workers.

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