I am going to be having a series of challenging altered book themes to work in the upcoming months. The first of which was the Octopus book. I mean how many different interpretations can there be for an octopus book? How to make it fresh?
Well, I started by searching for pictures of octopuses that I liked. I settled on this guy. A beautiful blue color and lots of detail. He was a bit larger than the book, so I could only work with his front half. I toyed with the idea of playing with texture--the suction cups on the tentacles--but how to do this? Suction cups are usually stuck to something, but what? Glass surfaces hold suction cups really well...hmmm, what about the glass at an aquarium? Of course! I had two scenes pop into my mind: what a child sees from the outside of the glass looking in and what the octopus sees from inside the glass looking out.
I searched for children's faces squished up against the glass but in the end, settled for a silhouette. In my experience, aquarium exhibits can be really dark. Eventually, I chose the figures of these two children who looked mesmerized by the large, gentle creature.
My experiment with suction cups was an interesting journey. I began by cutting up an old shower mat for the suction cups but they just weren't the right size. It was Su who suggested I use a glue gun and that worked like a charm! I blinged out the eye of the octopus and collaged some colored tissue strips onto my background to look like seaweed. I printed the children's silhouettes onto a transparency for the aquarium glass (love the reflection off of it!). To secure the transparency, I used metal tape which gives the impression of an aquarium tank.
Happily, I think I succeeded in creating an octopus spread with a fresh point of view!