Travis Louie, Grips & Otis, 2012, acrylic on board, 12 x 9"
He was found "digging" head first for "potatoes" in a Nebraska cornfield in 1893. Most of his "friends" called him "Grips" or "Barnacles", because of his unbelievable ability to hold onto anything. He once held onto a man for 5 months until he grew tired of the wheezing noise. Believed to be part potato and mostly angry, locals made up stories about how he came from Ireland. He actually sprang up from the ground in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1796 after a farmer used the word "itch" too many times in one sentence.
That night in 1893, he was actually digging for a mythical creature he called, a "ground skipper". They burrow in fields to find various things like precious stones and "lost" objects for their keepers. He managed to find one and named him Otis. He kept it with him for many years, traveling from town to town and offered his finding services.