Author Archives: DestroyerMariko

Test Fire – An Experiment

This is my latest experiment on the road to developing a possible art style and conceptual framework that I might pursue in the future. Completed in April, it follows on from January’s Silence artwork, and breaks out of the all-pencil mould to play around with different mediums and colour.

I’ve written more about this experiment over on Patreon, but overall it was an interesting exercise and has given me plenty to think about going forward. Honestly, it’s so difficult to make decisions here! There’s a lot of potential in pursuing so many different aspects.

Perhaps the one thing I definitely dislike is the way the standard blue texta looks, undoubtedly due to its obvious lower quality, but otherwise I’m quite happy with how this test turned out. I can always switch to better materials once I begin to pursue this style and concept more seriously.

It’s also been interesting to hear a suggestion via my Facebook page that links this work to the previous Silence work. Connecting stories between different works is definitely a worthwhile idea and something I’ll be considering more seriously as the greater project takes shape. This also potentially works well with my general plan to incorporate an increasing amount of more meaningful text into my style, as per the suggestions of my teachers back in art school.

I will admit that it’s been hard to stay focused over the last little while, however it’s still exciting to see some progress in this idea. I just need to find a little more self-discipline to help it all pick up a little bit of steam. Improving my time management also wouldn’t go astray – I have too many interests and too many projects to be allowing myself to stay as distracted as I have been!

Thanks for reading, and to keep up with my shenanigans, please consider following me on social media – search for DestroyerMariko on your preferred platform, or check out the links under my Contact tab. x

Artists of Mosman: 2088, 2019

For the third year in a row, my art made it into the Artists of Mosman: 2088 exhibition! Of the works I submitted, this time my portrait of my brother’s dog titled “Playful Marley Rolling” was the one to get in! I think it’s kinda nice that I’ve now had portraits of myself, Hope, and Marley shown at the local gallery, that’s pretty much a whole set!

So once again, I attended opening night, this time on March 29th. Being later in the year, this meant cooler weather, so I was able to wear my new lolita fusion kimono from Punk Rave Australia! It’s always fun dressing up in this relatively conservative area, though I looked a lot cuter this time so the reaction was less disapproving and much more curious. Twice I was approached by members of the public, asking if I was an artist and which painting was mine (#73 in this year’s catalogue). Most surprisingly, both people later followed up with me to compliment me on my artwork and further appreciate my outfit. As an interesting side note, I think the outfit also really highlighted some of the more Japanese aspects of my personality, as it seems I subconsciously default to receiving compliments with a slight bow and other mannerisms associated with Japanese modesty, but this was the first time anyone had ever seemed to notice and remark on it. It’s easy for me to forget I’m half-Japanese sometimes, but every now and then something like this happens haha!

Here are some photos of my outfit on the night:

I also have some photos with the speakers who opened the exhibition! My friend Judy came as well, and after we’d taken selfies with my painting, we headed downstairs to listen to the speeches by Mosman Mayor Carolyn Corrigan, who recently ran as an independent in the NSW state election, and Wendy Whiteley, former wife of artist Brett Whiteley. I had planned to leave after speeches were over, but with Judy’s encouragement and enthusiasm, ended up at the front getting photos taken and talking about my outfit. I was even asked if I was a fashion designer, haha I wish I could have said yes, I really love this kimono!

As always, there’s a lot of art on show this year! Nearly 200 local artists across various mediums, even including video. If you’d like to check it out, Artists of Mosman: 2088 is on display at Mosman Art Gallery until Sunday 28 April.

Thanks for reading! And if you’d like to see more of what I do, you can find me on any of the links below!

Support me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/destroyermariko
Just want to send a one-off tip? https://www.paypal.me/MarikoGray

Website: https://www.destroyermariko.com/
Music: https://destroyermariko.bandcamp.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/destroyermariko/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DestroyerMariko/
Tumblr: https://destroyermariko.tumblr.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DestroyerMariko
DeviantArt: http://destroyermariko.deviantart.com/

My bands:
Rainbow Death Ray on Bandcamp: https://rainbowdeathray.bandcamp.com/
Rainbow Death Ray’s website: http://www.rainbowdeathray.com/

Playful Marley Rolling

Playful Marley Rolling
Acrylic on wood panel

8″x8″ (20cm x 20cm)

Here we are with another puppy painting, but this time it’s my brother’s Labrador, Marley. We’re not entirely sure how old he is, we got him back in 2013 from a rescue shelter when he was around two years old, but no one knows for certain. In any case, he’s now at least 7 years old, yet his playfulness has only increased over time! We suspect he was abused by his previous owners, so as he settled into our family and then became increasingly confident of his place in a loving environment, he’s continually opened up to expressing more of his playful puppy self, a self that may have been suppressed or even punished in his past. We don’t know for sure, but it’s been an incredible journey with him – when we first met, he would flinch if anyone made a sudden move, apparently afraid someone would hit him… whereas now he will actively seek out our hands to pat him, even nudging under them and leaning into us to maximise that connection!

Another thing he likes to do is roll about on his back, asking for tummy rubs, or sometimes just for the fun of it, and that’s what I’ve depicted in this painting. The inspiration came just after we’d installed a new vinyl floor, one which looks like wood, but is noticeably softer to walk on compared to what we had previously. I cannot pretend I know what Marley thought of the whole thing, only that he took to it immediately, happily rolling about, glancing up at me like this was the best thing ever! It’s at this point that I snapped the reference photo that eventually lead to this composition.

This was a particularly challenging painting for me to complete however. When I painted my portrait of Hope last year, well he was in the sun, so his white fur was even whiter and brighter than usual – relatively easy to handle – and the rest of his features were pretty well defined in patches of black, brown, and grey. Marley, on the other hand, is in theory a single-coloured “yellow” Labrador, but in practice, his fur features different shades of orange-brown, without any very clear points of distinction separating different sections, not helped by the layers of undercoat that seem to vary in shades as well. On top of that, I was painting him upside-down, exposing the rolls of his neck which create their own odd areas of light and shadow. But beyond the difficult colours, I also just had a huge struggle even drawing him in the first place. Hope, in his portrait, is essentially just an oval with ears. Whereas Marley was a whole lotta shapes all put together.

I had to take a different approach to this painting. You can read about my process and see some “making of” photos here.

In any case, I’m both surprised and happy with the results on this one! There seriously was a point about halfway through where I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it. But as with my previous Hope painting process, I just persisted, adding layer after layer and refining it each time, until suddenly I took a step back and realised it was actually improving, and soon after, finally done! It feels like such an achievement to me, to be able to complete a painting like this, so far out of my perceived set of skills. An intimidating challenge, but you have to step out of your comfort zone in order to improve.

So now I’ll be pairing this painting with Sunny Hope Dreaming, and taking it up to enter them in the local gallery show. Cross fingers they like what I’ve done! These paintings are not for sale however – I’m too attached to them! Not just because they’re my family, but also because of what they represent to me as an artist, overcoming my doubts to paint better than ever before.

Metal vocalist looking to join or start a band, based in Sydney.

Photo by Anna Watanabe

Metal vocalist looking to join or start a band, based in Sydney.

I’m a chick, doing growls like Arch Enemy (Angela Gossow era) and mid to high cleans, sorta like Evanescence or Within Temptation, with a bit of influence from Disturbed. I really wanna do both singing and growling in my next band because it’s fun and I like messing with people.

Here’s what I sound like [Updated April 2019 – added cover]:

Original music recordings:
Solo electro project coz I suck at guitar – http://destroyermariko.bandcamp.com
Previous band, but not much growling – http://rainbowdeathray.bandcamp.com

I don’t want to do the same kinda music in these EPs though. I wrote the songs, and coz I suck at guitar, they were never really what I wanted (and the electro thing was for uni so I had to play that game). For my next band, styles I am interested in tend to be metal subgenres from the 90’s onward, including nu metal, industrial, gothic, symphonic, djent, metalcore, etc. I like some aspects of older styles, but my voice really isn’t suited to classic metal, and I like my death metal to be mixed with other sounds. Either way though, if you like my vocals, send me your band’s demos and we’ll see what happens.

I have a feeling I’m just gonna have to start a new band though, so if you’re interested let me know. Main thing I’d be looking for right now is someone who can help me write, probably a guitarist to fill in that weak point for me. Send me some riffs etc, if we can get the vibe right, then we can start there.

Note: communication and organisation are super important to me. Hoping to find people on that same wavelength to help things run smoothly. Bonus points if you have experience in things like band management, promo, recording etc, but I’ve already got that covered, so main thing is that you can help with writing the music, stay organised, and communicate well. Mention potatoes so I know you read this far, it’ll make me happy lol.

Thanks guys. Send me your sounds, or if you know someone looking, share this post with them and send them my way. \m/

The Making of “Silence”

A few weeks ago I shared this artwork on my Patreon, original on the left, edited version on the right:

Well, I forgot to upload my work-in-progress pictures! But since Patreon is kinda bad for uploading multiple images anyway, I’ll put them here – you can view them all at once in the gallery, or click for a larger view.

As you can see, it started from a sort of outline of where the silence would be, along with a square-ish diamond from which the rest of the lines and shapes grew. It was tempting to stop at times throughout the process, whether to leave it with a chaotic ball floating in the sky, or as a cascade of shapes falling down onto the silence, but in the end I’m happy that I went all the way!

So that’s how this work grew. Once completed, I then scanned it into Photoshop to create the inverted version. It’s a pretty cool effect!

Let me know what you think, and if you’d like to know more about this work, you can read my original post over on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/posts/silence-january-24099692
The post is publicly viewable, and includes details on what the artwork is about, as well as where I might take it in the future.

Thanks for checking this out! And yes, for those of you who have already seen my Patreon post, I am at the time of writing still looking for a band! If you’d like to get in touch about a possible project, please use my contact form to email me, or you can find me on Facebook and my other social media.
\m/

Sunny Hope Dreaming

Painting of a small dog curled up in the sun, on a dream-like pastel background.
Sunny Hope Dreaming
Acrylic on wood panel

8″x8″ (20cm x 20cm)

My latest painting once again returns to one of my favourite subjects: my dog Hope. He’s a Maltese-Chihuahua, and I love his adorable antics. Today though, he’s curled up in the sun having a snooze, and I can’t help but wonder what he dreams about.

This is my first acrylic painting in a while, but even though I don’t practice as much as I should, I feel like each time I still get a little bit better, and I always learn something new. In this painting, I actually made a conscious effort to start with the background for a change. I also came to appreciate just how much I prefer wood panel (aka artist board) over working on canvas, and I feel like I’ve finally got the hang of glazing. I’m still struggling with some aspects of colour mixing, but I’m aware that upgrading my paints would make this a lot easier, when I can afford to make the switch.

In any case, I’m really happy with the result! I still often struggle to see myself as an artist, and I tend to underestimate my skill, so it was actually a surprise to step back and see my painting for what it is. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get over this phase of self-doubt, but I’m hoping to work on more paintings in the new year. I’ll also hopefully get around to uploading some of the other art I’ve done this year! It’s funny how time gets away from you, and procrastination sets in. Haha, sounds like I’ve already got some new year resolutions brewing without even trying!

If you’d like to read more about my process in creating today’s artwork, check out my post on Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/sunny-hope-23607588

I’ve also made a video blog about it, which you can view here:

Speaking of, I totally forgot to post on my own website about my vlogging! I recently completed “Vlogmas”, where you upload a daily vlog from the start of December through to Christmas. It was tough, but I did it, and actually had a lot of fun! If you’d like to catch up on that, the entire playlist is available here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLcnGYCY37VxDsuCziA_lEx_I5RwZWYgwC

That’s all from me for now! Thanks so much for checking out my art, and I hope you have a great 2019!

“Asexuality” Concept EP is Here!

This conceptual music project looks at the difficulties of being an asexual* person, while also breaking the conventions currently prevalent in asexual creative culture. I drew heavily from my own experiences to inform my lyrics, rather than relying on the usual clichés about things like cake, and stubbornly defied the paradoxical difficulty of talking about asexuality without having to mention sex. I also did this in my own sonic style, influenced by my background in industrial and heavy metal music, genres usually untouched by explicitly asexual music and musicians.

However, the EP was important to me for more than just its exploration of this one aspect of my life. It also came about after a long period of depression, so deep and dark that I hadn’t been able to make any music in that time, and which resulted in the ongoing hiatus of my previous band Rainbow Death Ray. Being able to come out of that depression and return to my music as a soloist, even performing on stage, has done so much to restore my confidence in myself as a creative artist.

The EP is available for download on Bandcamp.

*Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction to others.

See below for live performance clips, filmed by my cousin Anna Watanabe.

Performing at Chicks With Picks May, The Townie, 20/5/18

This time it was my turn to hit the stage! Playing at Chicks With Picks May last Sunday was the first of two performances I’m doing as part of my capstone project. On this occasion, I played four of my five new songs written about my experience as an asexual person. And I was quite nervous! This was my first performance in two years, first performance as a soloist, and first time performing as DestroyerMariko. But it was great fun, with such a supportive audience. I was definitely the odd one out as the only electronic/industrial musician and growler, but I think the crowd enjoyed seeing something a bit different and I was flattered by their cheers when I told them I’d be back on the 30th! And I got so much good feedback afterwards, ranging from people liking my musical style, my dancing, my professionalism, my outfit, all the way through to very particular details like my clear diction. I handed out a couple of business cards and may have made a handful of new fans!

But there are also some things I definitely want to improve on for the next show and the future.

For one thing, my hair was really annoying! It kept getting in my face even more than it did in rehearsal and was driving me nuts, as cool as it is for the headbanging side of things. I had to keep pushing it out of my face, because in rehearsal I’d found that if I didn’t, I risked inhaling it and gagging! And it’s such a strange problem to have, but on the other hand, this is the first time I’ve performed without dreads in ages, so I’m really not used to how the natural stuff operates as I jump around. I miss my dreads so much. At some point, I’ll have to get new ones installed again. In the short term though, I’m not entirely sure what to do, but either I tie some of it back, or I try and tame my hair with some product. I don’t know much about hair though, so I’m not sure what’s the best option!

I also think I really need to wear contacts. We did discuss in class afterwards how “me” the glasses are, and how it shows that I don’t care about convention, and I do love that idea… but unfortunately, it’s not really practical. After all this time, I’d forgotten what it’s like dancing around under lights, and hadn’t accounted for the sweat. Towards the end of my set, in the most active, final song, my glasses actually threatened to be thrown from my face as I danced, and so I had to hold them in place, but was then so distracted that I messed up the next line. If I wear contacts, then I shouldn’t have this problem. So I’ve found my stash, and they don’t expire for another two years, I probably just need to do a couple trial runs to make sure I’m comfortable with them, and if all is well, then that’s what I’ll do for my next performance. Otherwise… maybe if I put the most active song first, it’ll be less of a problem because I hopefully won’t be sweating too much that early?

The one other thing I’d like to try changing up is my costume. This wasn’t a negative at all – in fact a lot of people commented on how much they liked my outfit. However, I would like to try different things just to see what I feel works best. For this performance, I avoided cutesy cat stuff, because my goal was to avoid asexual stereotypes such as the lonely cat lady appearance. But I also didn’t want to go too far in the opposite direction because I don’t want people to see me and just think sexy. However, it turns out that people interpret my dancing as sexy anyway, and I can’t help that, it’s just how I dance. And it’s also been pointed out to me that maybe that’s not a terrible thing, seeing as it overturns the stereotypes of asexuals being bland, boring, unpassionate beings. So I haven’t decided yet how I might change things up, I mean I do like the somewhat gender non-conforming goth-punk vibe, but it’s worth trying different things. Perhaps this time though, my main restrictions will actually have to do with my health and the weather. I seem to have caught a cold and there’s a chance of rain next Wednesday, so that may just force me to wear the same sort of sensible-but-gothic clothing that best allows me to keep warm.

I guess we’ll see. I just think that for all these things I could change this time, it’s worth giving it a go to help me decide what works well and what might be less helpful.

Anyway! My next performance is:

May 30th: Free Entry Open Mic
7pm – I’m on first!
The Townie (next to Newtown Station)
326 King St, Newtown
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/freeentryshowcase/

And now I’ll leave you with some more pictures from the night. Unfortunately I don’t have a whole lot to say about them this time, as I was either way too nervous before my performance, or full of adrenaline afterwards, to really analyse their sets, but I suppose the photos give you an idea of what the night was like and how different the other performers were to myself. There are also some I didn’t take photos of, as I ended up talking to a lot of friends and fans after I played. Overall though, it was a good night as usual for Chicks With Picks. Many thanks to them for having me!

Leah Randall

Imogen Hales (also playing on the 30th of May, 7:30pm at the Townie, right after me)

Maryann

Olga Solar

Bre

M’leigh

Sister Ursuline

How exciting to be on the same show as Sister Ursuline! Was great to see her again!

Tela Umana and Making Home


This week I went back to looking at visual art because my good friend Edmond Thommen is currently exhibiting in Surry Hills! The exhibition is called “Tela Umana” which means “Human Canvas” because he and his co-exhibitor both use the human body and layers of texture to create their photographic works. Edmond has also been a long-term supporter of my poetry, and a number of his works feature my words as his titles. It’s always interesting and exciting to see how he transforms my text into thoughtful images to express powerful emotions. I also enjoy our long conversations about everything from art and music to politics and philosophy, and I always learn something new as well. This time he showed me how he handles payments for his artwork, as well as his note taking regarding exhibitor numbers and public feedback, and also the logistics of holding a show in the M2 Gallery. This sort of thing could be really useful for me if I go on to exhibit more in future, and the payment technology could even be applied to my music practice because of its applicability to running band merch stands. So this was easily my best gallery visit of the semester – not only did I get to see some great art, but I learned a lot as well, and had a great time hanging with Edmond.

Overview of the gallery: Edmond’s works, hung salon style

Lori Cicchini’s works, some look like paintings but they are actually all photographs that have undergone digital manipulation.

It’s interesting how different it is to see the images in real life vs on small screens. It really does change the experience a lot to be there. As for the gallery, M2 really seems like a good one for a small group exhibition some day. You do need to mind it, but they don’t take commissions on the artwork you sell, and it has four distinct divisions that would make it very easy for four artists to show together while maintaining their own identities. It’s also right near Central Station, with lots of people going past. A really cool little space!

Tela Umana is on until May 22, open 12pm-7pm every day.

I also dropped in to see one of my fellow Capstone Project students at her exhibition. Sasha Mishkin’s “Making Home” is currently on at Kudos Gallery.


This exhibition looks at what a living space can say about those who occupy it, with a specific focus on migrants who live in Sydney. It features 14 photos and one video, focusing on 7 different families. It was a little bit difficult for me to form a proper impression of the works, because I have been watching their progress in class, but I like the way that Sasha has set them up in the space, and I am also impressed with her video subject, who sat for 5 minutes looking at the camera as a sort of living and breathing portrait. It was the first time I had seen the video, and it was a really neat solution for how to use the Kudos stage space. But I think the work I connected with most was #9, “Where I am is who I am” (2), because as I was looking at it, I spotted some children’s books on the shelf that were in Japanese. Moments of nostalgia like this always remind me that I am actually mixed-race, and bring back memories of childhood and also highlight some of the cultural differences present in my family life that other Australians don’t experience. Most people only see me as being white, so that’s how they treat me, and that makes it easy for me to think I am the same so that I don’t even realise that some of my mannerisms are actually Japanese. For example, I only realised when talking to a Japanese friend at uni that other English speakers don’t really say 「え」 (“eh” meaning “huh”) the way I do, which turns out to be a much more Japanese thing. So it’s not surprising to have that work make the biggest impact on me.

You have to see it in real life to get the detail of the books. Making Home is on until June 2, Wed-Fri 11am-6pm; Sat 11am-4pm.

As for my own Capstone Project, I’m doing the first of my two performances this weekend!

May 20th: Chicks With Picks
Sydney’s open mic and showcase events for woman fronted acts
4:30pm – 11:30pm
The Townie (next to Newtown Station)
326 King St, Newtown
Click here for the Facebook event page

I’ll be on stage at 7:20pm, performing songs from my Asexuality concept project. It’s my first time performing solo, and under my artist name, DestroyerMariko.