Ceramic artist Keiko Masumoto is intensely interested in the intersection of art and craft, whether a craft object can simply be decorative or if an artistic work can still remain functional. Her questions have resulted in a series of traditional ceramic plates, bowls, and vases embedded with unlikely objects from wriggling octopi to entire buildings. You can explore a bit more in her online portfolio and at Spoon & Tamago.
Monuments and vaguely descriptive plaques are commonplace around cities and heavily trafficked tourist areas, giving just enough insight into an historic event or landmark. The Staten Island Ferry Disaster Memorial blends in with these weathered monuments, except for the fact that all details on the work are completely false. The monument, which is located in Battery Park, Manhattan, was created by artist Joe Reginella and honors the 400 victims who perished during a giant octopus attack of a Staten Island ferry named the Cornelius G. Kolff on November 22, 1963, the same day as the assassination of JFK.
The elaborate hoax was six months in the making, and is also seen by Reginella as a multimedia art project and social experiment. The website, and fliers distributed around Manhattan by his team, give a false location for a museum, ironically a place you must get to by ferry. You can see more tourist reactions and find real information about the fake event on the Staten Island Ferry Octopus Disaster Memorial Museum’s Facebook. (via Hi-Fructose)
Esther van Hulsen at work on an octopus drawing using 95 million-year-old ink. Photo by Stian Steinsli
Photo of the fossil on the left by Hans Arne Nakrem, photo of the powder on the right by Esther van Hulsen.
Image of the completed octopus ink drawing. Photo by Esther van Hulsen
Dutch wildlife artist Esther van Hulsen was recently given an assignment unlike her typical drawings of birds and mammals from life—a chance to draw a prehistoric octopus 95 million years after its death. Paleontologist Jørn Hurum supplied Hulsen with ink extracted from a fossil found in Lebanon in 2009, received as a gift from the PalVenn Museum in 2014. After several millennia Hulson was surprised to find that the color had remained so vibrant, preserved all of this time in the cephalopod’s ink sac. “Knowing that this animal has used this ink to survive is absolutely amazing,” said van Hulsen of the prehistoric ink.
The idea to make such a drawing came from the story of Mary Anning, an English paleontologist and fossil collector who made a similar drawing from a fossil’s ink sac in the 1800s. Hulsen’s replication of the octopus now hangs beside its material origin in the Natural History Museum in Oslo. (via MetaFilter)
Inspired in part by his graphic-designer friends disparaging comments about the lowly ballpoint pen, artist Ray Cicin took it upon himself to collect all their discarded pens and embarked on this drawing of a mammoth octopus. The piece is inspired by German naturalist Ernst Haeckel’s famous illustration of squid and octopi, and is part of Cicin’s ongoing Deep Blue series. You can follow more of his work on Instagram.
Deep Blue, Octopus. Ballpoint pen on archival Bee Rag paper, 62 x 64 inches
The octopus is a fascinating creature. And its well-documented intellect has led more and more scientists to believe that humans may not be alone in their ability to comprehend and solve challenging problems. In addition to opening jars and predicting the outcomes of soccer matches, we can now add ‘taking photographs’ to the ongoing list of skills these 8-legged invertebrate can learn.
To promote their water-resistant camera, Sony recently teamed up with the Sea Life Aquarium in New Zealand to teach an octopus named Rambo to take pictures of visitors from inside her tank. The camera was mounted on her tank “When we first tried to get her to take a photo, it only took three attempts for her to understand the process,” said one of the trainers. “That’s faster than a dog. Actually it’s faster than a human in some instances.” (via PetaPixel)