JC Schildbach, LMHC
The Octopus Project started last year, but in the final lead-up to Halloween, I realized I just didn’t have the time to bring it all together. Hell, I almost didn’t have enough time to bring it all together this year. In part, the lack of time this year was because I spent a ridiculous amount of time figuring out how to make my vampire ghosts more reflective (liquid rubber with inlaid ‘airport grade’ glass beads was the answer — the resin experiments definitely did not work). I also had to completely repaint the pink demon due to the knots in the plywood bleeding through the paint — not sure if that was a problem of the paint or whatever chemicals they treat plywood with.
At any rate, the inspiration for the octopus came partly from the kid destroying the back sliding-glass door. This freed up the ‘window panel insert’. That is, all the windows on the front of our house, along with the back sliding glass door, have a metal insert in between the two layers of glass in order to make it look like there are several, roughly one-foot-square window panes. I kinda hate these inserts.
I also had a 5-foot x 4-foot painting that I did in high school — the kid and one of her friends were going to turn it into something a few years back, but only got so far as whiting it out. I had thought several times of painting it to look like a window with some sort of monster inside, but with the 6-foot x 3-foot metal window/door insert, I thought I could make it look like something was busting out of a window. But what? In the course of scribbling out ideas, the thought of tentacles hit me. I sketched a few tentacled monsters, but decided a giant octopus was the direction to go. I got the canvas done last year just before Halloween.
Some very thin ply-board that was here when we bought the house seemed like a good way to maybe give the tentacles a bit of motion, as the board is not particularly sturdy (why did I think this was a good idea?). An outlet hole had been cut out of it, and it was cracked in places, but I managed to sketch out one large tentacle and fit two smaller ones in the remaining spaces, away from the damaged parts of the board. Over the course of working on the project, I had to think and rethink how to put the pieces together. Ultimately, it was clear I had to attach a frame to the frame on the canvas in order to assemble everything in a way that looked more-or-less like I wanted.
Making this all come together was something of a nightmare, and involved me out in the cold last night having to rig up various bits of fishing wire, nails, and screws to keep things in place. I have no idea how I’m going to store this thing — just how much of it I have to take apart before I can fit it reasonably back into the workshop. There are six different parts — eight if you count the 2 x 4s on the garage door that it’s hanging from — and I dread the idea of having to detach and reattach at least some of them. Now that it’s all together, I really want to get some more of that ply-board, and make that tentacle on the right much bigger. Maybe next year.