[Movie announcer voice]: Sometimes a simple drawing makes a great logo... but sometimes, it becomes a friend. This spring, meet The Octicorn.

Former Wieden+Kennedy ad man and current freelance filmmaker Justin Lowe can't seem to stop scrawling a four-legged octopus with a nervous expression and a party hat(?) unicorn horn. Now he's even co-created a kids' book, Hello, My Name is Octicorn, about the high-strung hybrid's struggle to fit into the world.


Mercury: Tell us about Octicorn. How did you conceive of him? How long has he been around? What is his purpose?

LOWE: Octicorn is a half octopus, half unicorn who is best described as unusual. I created the character about a decade ago here in Portland. There were a lot of music mashups happening at the time, and I think that may have informed his creation. Initially the character was a sticker, and I handed out hundreds of him. People took him with them when they traveled, and Octicorn showed up in Washington, DC, New York, Tokyo, Peru... it was cool. My friend Andrew Lynch even got him on the news.

His purpose has evolved over the years. He's trying to find his place in the world, and he stands out like a sore thumb. His message is about embracing that—that it's okay to stand out, rather than fit in.

What do you do when you're not spreading the gospel of Octicorn? How much of

Octicorn is really you?

As a filmmaker and a creative, I'm usually always working on something. I think Octicorn has some of my personality. In high school, I was called weird and it always bothered me, until I saw Radiohead live and watched Thom Yorke play and went, "Oh, weird is a good thing."

Writer Kevin Diller has also really brought Octicorn to life and informed his personality. Kevin approached me with the story and we worked on it together and produced a beautiful black-and-white hardcover book with hand-drawn illustrations that really celebrates Octicorn.

What's Octicorn's favorite stuff? (Color, band, etc.)... And why?

Support The Portland Mercury

Octicorn's favorite color is blue, because he feels blue sometimes. He enjoys plankton and cupcakes. He really likes cupcakes.

Find copies of Hello, My Name Is Octicorn at Powell's Books and select neighborhood bookstores. Or go to octicorn.com.

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