Encountering the Giant Squid


Oregon coast, late holocene


I use a lot of cuttlefish ink in my paintings. Although there are certain material qualities that I like about it, mostly I use it because I really like to invoke the spirit of the cephalopods (which means head-foot). If you have ever spent time looking at pseudomorphs, you will understand my position that these creatures are the abstract expressionists of the seas (and you might gain some insight into my own process). So the day I found this squid washed up on the shore, I felt like some ancient Greek having found the skeleton of a Titan. And as is rather common in such encounters with divinity, time and place disintegrated (clearly seen by my appearing in six different places at once).


Studies of ink use by squid, octopi, and cuttlefish tend to concentrate on it being a defense mechanism. It seems to me that our own use of ink is not much different. We have simply wrapped this use with some aesthetics and ego. Squirt. If you look closely enough you might see me hiding behind these words. Or perhaps speeding away to your left.