Vampire Squid From Hell

I've been really long between updates lately. Taking care of a personal stuff but also waiting for good photos and scans is always an issue. Here's a full photo (getting a scan made didn't work out) of my piece for the "From Whence We Came" group show to benefit Oceana and Sea Sheperd:
This guy is a Vampire Squid, latin name Vampyroteuthis Infernalis ("vampire squid from hell"). It's not actually a true squid but rather an living fossil, the last of its own order which shares traits of both squid and octopuses.
The two filaments that you see hanging from the underside of the squid are one of the things unique to this particular order and are used for sensing prey. Unlike most animals that have the "vampire" moniker these squid don't drink blood but are rather named because of the black underside webbing between their tentacles that they flip up over their bodies like a cloak to hide in the dark water from both prey and predators.

Like many deep sea animals they are covered with photophores and capable of producing light displays and expressing bio-luminescent particles to confuse predators and using their glow to mask their silhouette from prey looking up from the deep sea towards the muted surface light. My original plan for this show was to do some embroideries of deep sea animals glowing using this glow in the dark embroidery floss I got, but I didn't trust my speed with embroidery so I opted to do a painting instead and tracked down some strong glow in the dark paint that glowed the actual blue color that the squid does:

Because they're so seldom seen I got my reference for how they look in action from a couple really amazing videos I highly suggest you watch, because watching how all of these features work in practice is pretty great, especially the light organs on the top of the head which can be constricted to imitate eyes moving away in the dark.

One of the things I really like about this and other deep sea creatures is the fact that the features that make it look scary or threatening are mostly there for defensive purposes in an inhospitable and dark environment. I could have done another piece about ocean folklore but sometimes natural things are way weirder and scarier and more interesting than anything humans create or embellish.

Going to help hang the show tonight! Check it out Friday if you're in the area.


pw! said...


Jessie said...

That is really great. I love the glow in the dark paint, nice touch.

Heiner N. Tachy said...

OK, i've already heard about that "squid", but didn't knew that he really exists
btw, i like how you show the history behind your paintings, and also, i'm a big fan of sea creatures

Dilek Baykara said...

Holy shit, the glow is SO GENIUS! Did you use pebeo phosphorescent paint?

wandering genie said...

It's weird, I had trouble finding the bright blue glow and then ended up getting it from someone who just seems to sell glow in the dark stuff on ebay. It's in an unlabeled tub so it could be anything! Whatever it is though it's nice because it somehow doesn't make the color you're putting it over cloudy but it glows REALLY strongly.