Prop Stylist: Ian Salter. Food Stylist: Michelle Gatton.
Photographed by Bobby Doherty, Vogue, May 2019

I saw an image posted by food stylist Michelle Gatton the other day that got me started on an octopus kick. The image above is one from that shoot, and it was for a piece on serving raw foods at dinner parties for Vogue.

Thus began an internet deep dive: Where do they live? What do they eat? What are the best mythology and pop culture references? As I do, I started a collection of images and videos and then made some of my own. Here’s a look into all of that… reference images first, my art at the end.

Cephalopods, specifically pertaining to octopuses, squids, and cuttlefishes, are most commonly represented in popular culture in the Western world as creatures that spray ink and latch onto things with their tentacles without releasing. The octopus has been used as a (usually negative) metaphor for entity which is perceived as sending out many “tentacles” from one “center” in order to exert power and control.


You can see the finished drawings HERE!

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