Tag Archives: Dream of a Fisherman’s Wife

Day of the Tentacle

Or a Rumination about Art vs. Illustration and Tentacle Erotica

My contribution to the fine tradition of the tentacle...

What is the boundary between ‘art’ and ‘illustration’?
I’m sure a very  scholarly definition exists out there, but I’m much more curious as to people’s individual opinions. There seems to be a rheumy sniff in the voice of some artists when they talk about illustration… I thought… perhaps its because illustrations are easy to understand, whereas ‘art’ is about depicting and exploring the highest notions of human emotion and beauty.

On the other hand, still-lifes are considered ‘art’, and what is easier than understanding a bowl of fruit or a dead lobster next to a baguette? Your thoughts, dear moofies?

Speaking of the boundaries between art and illustration….

In 2003, a tentacle-based brooha brewed (!) in Melbourne– ‘rape’ and ‘pornography’  were the heated words in the air. A museum displaying the work of Australian painter David Laity was slapped with obscenity charges. These were later dropped…

The painting in question was Laity’s rework of one of woodblock master Hokusai’s most famous erotic images: Tako to Ama (Octopus and Diver), a 19th century image also known as “Dream of a Fisherman’s Wife.” The original woodblock itself is said to be an homage to a popular woodblock theme: the myth of Princess Tamatori who has to dive deep  and enter the undersea realm of the dragon prince who has stolen her family’s most valuable pearl… At one point, she is being chased by the prince’s minions, including rape-minded octopi…

Japan is a country who loves her drawn pornography (illustrated pornography? erotic art?). As it did in Edo, the tentacle and communion with sea-creatures remains a theme– some say this is a way to get around the pesky law that forbids graphic depiction of penetration by a penis…. Or maybe it’s just the sexual legacy of a nation embraced by the sea, but while Hokusai’s scene seems consensual, tentacle porn has become known as shokushu goukan (tentacle rape).

My work in progress is  in line with ‘consensual’ and not ‘rape’–I am deep into my season of long hair right now and strands all over, so by the School of Long Hair = Girl, that is a girl, if you want her to be. And her squid. Painted in ink–… I misplaced my Windsor Newton : (, and found this ambiguous calligraphy ink in my supplies. It claims to be ‘negro estupendo’ (super negro!!! >:P) but it is actually sepia… The weird colorings is from the bad lighting for the photo, but I kind of like it that way…

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