Tattoos & Tentacles - A Photographic Art Series
Tattoos & Tentacles is a photographic art series combining beautiful tattoos, an eight-legged sea creature and extraordinary people. The series originated over three years ago in Minneapolis....
Tattoos & Tentacles is a photographic art series combining beautiful tattoos, an eight-legged sea creature and extraordinary people. The series originated over three years ago in Minneapolis, Minnesota when photographer, Julian Murray and his model, Jackie Roscoe, wanted to create a more edgy, dark photo shoot for kicks. First, they shot her in a butcher's apron, filthy with blood from some raw meat, and her holding a chunk of raw steak with a meat cleaver in hand. The turnout was stunning, so they decided to conceive another gory and clever concept.
The next odd prop just turned out to be an octopus. Julian ended up using the image from the octopus shoot on the back of his business card. The response and reaction the image on the card received was amazing. One year later Julian's fiance, Lace - who is a graphic designer and professional photo re-toucher - was revamping Julian's website and suggested that they add more photography to the series section. After sifting through most of Julian's portfolio, they came across the octopus shoot with Jackie. "Over the year I had picked up a few new lightening techniques and decided to do a reshoot. The second time around, turned out even better, so we did three more shoots with female models and an octopus," stated Julian about the inception of his series.
The outcome would be five images, a solid series, but still the project had no name. That is until one random evening, while enjoying a few glasses of wine, Lace and Julian realized each model had some sort of tattoo work, hence, dubbing the series Tattoos and Tentacles.
In January 2010, Lace and Julian - along with their cat, Sinatra Frank - packed up what they could and headed out west - Los Angeles, CA to be exact. Julian's photography had mostly been portrait work with a large emphasis on hip-hop photography. After meeting and working with a few record labels and music artists in L.A. everyone appreciated Julian and Lace's work, and would always come back with an extra compliment on the originality and outcome of the Tattoos and Tentacles series.
"From all the great feedback, our concept formed into expanding and developing the series into a larger project. L.A. was a great place to start scouting for heavily tattooed people; everything had naturally fallen into place so we rolled with it. The response was amazing! We couldn't believe all the people who were willing and wanting to be a part of the project," recalled Julian. They began shooting more octopi-related shoots, but this time creating scenes, scenarios and utilizing locations.
People are often intrigued about how the shoots work, where do they get the octopi, how long they take, how they come up with the ideas. "The process is really, rather simple," Julian admits. "We usually pick up a frozen octopus from an Asian supermarket or local seafood shop. We thaw them in hot water the day of the shoot. Lace will wash them in soap and dry them off with a towel. At this point the octopus isn't that slimy anymore and usually sticks to the models quite well instead of sliding around," he explained. To keep everyone comfortable, and in order to beat the bad smell of a dead octopus, the shoots last about 15 minutes, tops. It took the team a good ten, smelly shoots, or maybe even more, to get into the routine they use now.
The final product is a full-color, photographic, coffee table book, displaying 150-plus pages of tattoos and tentacles filled images. Julian and Lace recently completed 55 full photo shoots for the series. A softer, Summer 2011 release of the coffee table book is in the works. The book will be available for sale online through the website. They will also be touring the project at art galleries and tattoo conventions across the US.
Tattoos & Tentacles posters are currently available for sale online at
Keep up with us here:
Photography by Julian Murray
Article by Clive Young