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Tuesday Houston: Telling stories through octopus illustrations

Monkeys Tuesday Houston art

She jokes that she should have become a rockstar, with her name being Tuesday. Now, Tuesday Houston is a rockstar in another way – through her art. 

How it all started

The artist has always been creative, but her first time to be represented by a gallery was in 2007. At that time, Tuesday’s art was much different to what she’s been keeping herself busy with lately.

Her current series – an octopus-inspired blend of ink and imagination – came about five years ago, during a rather dark time as her life partner was losing his cancer battle. It was during this trying time that she started getting visually rich underwater dreams that she describes as being rather comforting. After her partner passed away, Tuesday immediately started creating the octopuses from her dreams.

“I am a firm believer in no matter how bad things get, having a sense of humour is very important,” she says and that is what you’ll find in her artwork. “You need to be able to laugh at yourself. In fact, it’s far more important to laugh at yourself than to laugh at other people.”

Octopus illustrations art Tuesday Houston

Having a whale of a time

One such art piece is called ‘Whale of a time’ and represents her open water swimming friends who have been a wonderfully supportive community to her and to each other. “No matter how rough things get, we manage to come together in the ocean and put a positive spin on things,” says Tuesday. “We truly do have ‘a whale of a time.’”

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Tuesday Houston finds inspiration everywhere

While her work is exhibited in several galleries, the UK-born artist is part owner in Noordhoek Art Point, where you’ll also be able to see her art. Tuesday spent most of her childhood in Johannesburg and much of her school holidays were filled with wonderous adventures in the bush. Even though she misses the bush terribly, she loves living in the Cape too, as she has been living there since 1994. Her art certainly illustrates her love for the bush, though. In fact, during a recent trip to the bush she spent time in camp, watching monkeys and other animals come and go as she worked. “This piece tells the story of the combination of my two great loves - the ocean (my octopuses have come to represent the ocean in many of my pieces), and the bushveld,” she explains.

Octopus illustrations

While much of her inspiration for her current series might have come from her dreams, it’s also her experiences as an emergency responder with the NSRI that prods her imagination. “I get to meet the most phenomenal people,” she says. Since she spends a lot of time in the ocean free diving, it’s only natural that it will come through in her art. “Being out there does influence the art. I tell my stories through illustrations,” she says.

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