If you want to succeed in publishing, write a biography of an American president. They sell. If you want to succeed in visual art, draw a portrait of an American vice president — with an octopus on his head.
So goes the Veeptopus project of illustrator-writer-filmmaker Jonathan Crow, who pursued presidential cephalapod portraiture after ditching his corporate job. The form was pioneered by photographer Herb Ritts.
You can glimpse the fruits of Crow's labors on Veeptopus' complete gallery of vice presidents, which includes such octopus-bearing obscurities as Richard Mentor Johnson, Charles W. Fairbanks, and Alben W. Barkley as well as unforgettables like Aaron Burr, Spiro Agnew, and Dan Quayle.
One reason those presidential biographies sell so many copies may have to do with their giftability: we all have a few fathers, grandfathers, and uncles who want to read them. But I would submit that Veeptopus portraits, high-quality prints of which you can buy at the Veeptopus store, will prove more memorable. I bought three last holiday season — but so far have kept them for myself. You never know when you might need a spare vice president with an octopus on his head.
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