Painting with Squid ink


During my summer art residency in Rocky Neck, MA I came across of a very unusual media – ink from squids, that I fished out from the Gloucester bay. This ink was very intense black marking everything around me, including my clothes. Squid spit it out as a protection reflex, in the water it is more efficient however, as it works as an escape mechanism. The reason that it is black – the main component – melanin.

I though of collecting this ink and use it as my painting ink (long ago  Cephalopod ink was commonly used for writing). There is a system to collect it correctly, but I did not know it then: squid ink harvest. It was a mess to collect this ink, I spilled it many times, squids would fall into my cup occasionally, they were slimy, so hard to hold. Ink was diluted with salt water, so I had to evaporate it over night to get the concentrate, that I could mix with water later, since it is water-soluble. It is an interesting experiment to do I thought.

I was fascinated with unusual ink behavior on my watercolor paper. I was able to come up with few different textures, to spread ink on the circle, create seal-like shapes, make mold-like spreads… There are a lot of different possibilities. At first I started to do sketches of boats and still life, but when I got to paint squids, I was working on their pattern – dots – and that’s when I decided to try those same dots on larger size paper. One thing after another and here I am making abstractions for the first time of my life.

2 thoughts on “Painting with Squid ink

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