Richard Ellis Interview (2002)

What follows is's exclusive interview conducted 2/3/02 with famed marine
author and artist Richard Ellis (read full bio). Richard spoke a bit about recent events and his current work. You are known as both an artist and a leading historian of the ocean. What came first for you -- painting sea creatures, or writing about them?

Richard Ellis: As a child I always drew, and it was mostly animals, so I'd have to say it was drawing that came first. My first book was The Book of Sharks (1975), which came about because a publisher had seen the painting of a great white that I did for Peter Benchley. I then wrote the text and did the paintings and drawings for that book, and did the same for the next two, The Book of Whales (1980)and Dolphins and Porpoises (1982). In late December there was a widely-published report about the discovery of a mysterious deep sea squid, complete with dramatic video footage. (It seems scientists may have known about this creature for 10 years or more, but this was the first time valuable data (i.e., video footage) was culled for it). It has stringy legs, and broad fins adorning its mantle which it uses to propel itself -- and it seemed unphased by the bright lights of the submersible -- uncharacteristic for deep sea animals. What do you make of this thing -- and is this all just hype?

Richard Ellis: I don't think it's hype at all. The longer they waited, the better chance they had of actually getting a specimen. So far...
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Tony converted into an octopus and cephalopod interest site in May 2000. (Find out more about how TONMO started by reading this blog entry.) He began his career in the online services industry in 1992, working for companies such as Prodigy,, Reuters and Comcast. Tony and his wife Tania are the owners of Deep Intuition, LLC, which is an entity they created to support their entrepreneurial hobbies and pursuits. He graduated from St. Bonaventure University with a B.A. in Mass Communication and lives in Pennsylvania.


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