Stuff We Love: Have tea with Brian Kesinger’s Otto & Victoria

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Sep 3, 2019, 8:23 AM EDT (Updated)

Ever feel like having tea, ice skating or carving pumpkins with a cephalopod? Someone actually imagined these things, and to the elation of all of us who love tentacles, has brought them to life.

That someone is Brian Kesinger. Steampunk gadgetry and Lovecraftian appendages inspired the artist to create Otto & Victoria, an unlikely pairing of a green-haired Victorian maiden and a friendly, (mostly) housebroken octopus who is as multitalented as he is multi-tentacled.

Otto is not your typical creature of the deep. He’s surfaced to live with the whimsical Victoria, whom he does everything with and for, from trimming a seahorse-shaped topiary in the garden to even lacing up his mistress’s corset. Eight arms really come in handy when you need someone to sew you a dress. Kesinger is always coming up with new scenarios for this odd couple, including one of my favorites—taking him along as a chaperone on a date. If a suitor can brave a giant octopod, you know he’s a keeper. Ever wonder how she found that octopus in the first place? He emerged from a teapot at a pet adoption fair, instantly capturing Victoria’s heart — and her face.



Credit: Brian Kesinger

By the way, you know those Cthu-leggings I reviewed in a previous post? Those are actually Otto’s tentacles.

Kesinger also dreamed up the fantastical Tea Girls, a series of steampunks who are named after and sort of look like (what else?) all the varieties of tea you’d expect to steep in a Victorian tea room. Green Tea serves her signature drink in goggles. Chamomile is an adventurous witch who relies on both steam power and her spellbook. Darjeeling mixes Marie Antoinette hair with kooky contraptions including a clockwork parrot. If Captain Picard could have a study in the 19th century, it would be the one that belongs to Earl Grey, who observes the final frontier through a retro-futuristic telescope. She must prefer her Earl Grey hot.


Fly your dirigible over here for more of Kesinger’s totally tentacular work and tell me you don’t end up enchanted.