Hello Neglected Blog! :D

Creative Open Weekend, Artists, Makers Creatives, Sat 13th - Sun 14th August 2022 10am - 4pm, list of artists, Underground ARTspace, 1/294 Sydney Road, Balgowlah NSW 2093

My studio is having an open weekend!


It’s been a while since I updated my website! It’s now 2022 and I’ve joined Underground ARTspace where I finally have my own studio space to work in. It’s already had a huge impact on my ability to be creative and I’ve been sharing that journey with my cult over on Patreon. I’ll be updating my site as time goes on, but in the meantime, you can see some of my new and old artwork in my shop – this art is being displayed at our Creative Open weekend! I’ve also updated my music page and added a bio, check them out! 😀

7 Facebook Tips 2019 (Especially for Bands)

This post was made available on Patreon 2 days early 🙂

Every now and then on Facebook, I come across a post from a band I follow that basically says some version of the following:

Is anyone seeing our posts? We’re worried Facebook’s algorithm is hiding us from News Feed. Please leave us a comment if you can see this!

Back in May, it happened again, from a band attempting to crowdfund a record, and I responded that their analytics should show them how many people are having it appear in their feeds. Honestly, it’s not that hard. When you’re running a page in 2019, you’ll see at the bottom of each post a number indicating how many people were reached. I dunno why these kinds of people never seem to look at it before asking this type of question. But I digress, because I also mentioned to them that if the reach is unsatisfactory, there are a number of strategies you can use to boost it – aaand they made the mistake of asking me for suggestions. “Mistake?” I hear you say. Well yes. I write a lot. And the result was a 1000 word comment, which I’ve reproduced below, albeit with some edits, and irrelevant chatter removed.

They didn’t take my advice.

But I hope this is useful to someone out there. A lot of my favourite local bands keep folding, and it sucks, and there’s not a lot I can do about it, but if greater success in social media promotions might help a few more bands survive, hey! It’ll be worth it.

Note: none of this advice is particularly ground-breaking. It’s pretty much just the same stuff you can find from every social media guru out there, collected into one spot, mostly aimed at bands (though it’ll be applicable to other pages too). But since bands prefer to get on with the music instead of trawling through pages of advice, I’ve done that part for you. You will have to put in some effort to make social media work, but at least you don’t have to sit through a bunch of “experts” trying way too hard to sell you their shit.

On with the tips!


There are all kinds of things you can try to improve your page’s reach on Facebook. It depends on how spammy you wanna get, but since Facebook loves to nerf pages, well sometimes you have little choice 😅 I’ll give you my current top 7! (In no particular order tho, I’m not THAT organised, it’s all off the top of my head lol.)

1. Make sure all band members are sharing things too – share everything the page posts, but also do your own posts NOT directly connected to the page (except maybe through tagging it). Facebook favours personal accounts, so you need to promote there as well, and trick it into not realising you’re promoting something page-related. Preferably do all this with your settings on public, so that any followers who aren’t friends with you can see them. (Make sure your individual profiles also allow followers!)

2. Encourage other people to like, comment, and share as well. Facebook loves when posts are engaging, and this is how you show them that it is. I’m assuming this post [the one asking if anyone can see it] is doing well, because you’ve asked a question and people are responding, which gets more people to see it and respond, etc. Asking a question is a great way to get engagement. You can also run polls, suggest people tag friends, whatever. Even tell people how much these actions help you, for those who can’t afford to support you financially but still want to do something. Mix it up so it doesn’t get boring, but always try to have some call to action designed to lift engagement.

3. Tell your fans about “See first”. If people are upset that they aren’t seeing your posts, tell them that under the “Following” tab, they can select “See First” instead of just “Default” to get more of your posts reliably hitting their news feed.

4. Make use of the Stories feature. Even if people miss you in the news feed, stories stay at the top of Facebook, so it’s much harder to miss. If you have an Instagram account connected to the Facebook one, you could create Instagram Stories there, then share those Stories directly to Facebook instead of having to make them twice. You could also use interactive stickers within Stories to run polls, ask questions, and so on, to help keep your followers interested and invested in what you’re doing. Instagram has better stickers than Facebook, but there’s still potential there! Oh and get the band members individually to post stories too! I generally notice that Stories still puts personal profiles first, and pages last, though I think it depends how often people engage.

5. Share stuff to groups. There are a bunch of Facebook groups dedicated to music, I’m guilty of spamming my old band’s gigs to them ahaha, but hey, more eyeballs! Also Facebook recently announced they want to pivot towards groups rather than newsfeed, annoying, but you have to play their game and if that’s where they wanna focus, then that’s where they’ll eventually end up favouring posts if it all goes ahead.

6. Start a fan group for your band. Sometimes if the page can’t reach people, the group will. Chances are only your superfans will join in, but they’re the ones most likely to send you support for your project, and you can make the group more special like a club. Maybe show them some behind the scenes stuff you’re not ready to show publicly. I dunno, whatever you wanna make it. Also encourage your group members to share as per previous points, they can be part of your team! [Note: this tip will probably work best for larger local bands with a decent following.]

7. Dive into your analytics. You don’t have to do a full on social media audit, but if you look over your posts, you can get an idea for what types of posts work best with your audience. Go to Insights, then Posts, then Post types, and it’ll show you how well your photos vs videos vs links vs “status” posts are doing. If you notice your audience likes one type of post more than some others, that can give you an idea of which to use. You can also look at all kinds of fancy graphs about when your fans are online, their demographics, etc, but there’s a point at which your head just explodes so… just figure out what’s most useful to you and ignore the rest lol.

And now for one thing NOT to do! Don’t private message people about it unless they’re people you’d be messaging for normal friend reasons anyway. And definitely don’t create a random massive group to send one generic message to people. I hate this, especially from people asking for money, it’s my pet peeve, I even did a top 10 hierarchy of annoying friend-based interactions once, and this was my #1 hate lol. (I should turn that into a blog post as well haha!)

Anyway, I hope this helps! I’m a nobody, with qualifications in all the wrong stuff, but hopefully my obsessiveness and fascination with social media can produce some results for you! Been teaching myself for a while, but I don’t claim to be an authority, so there might be other things worth doing that I haven’t thought of. But hey, my tips are free!

P.S. when people say not to use video, they’re half right. Facebook HATES YouTube links. But they generally love when you upload directly, so do that! But avoid the YouTube. If you do need to post a YouTube link, create an image or sample clip to upload instead, and just link to the video in the description. (And if you post the link again in the comments, it’ll generally come up playable, yay!)

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 August 2020] A.D.Destroyer debut EP

[Updated April 2019 – added cover]

[Updated July 2019] Guest vocals on Fireland’s Forged In Fire album

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

Other than A.D.Destroyer, I don’t want to do the same kinda music in my 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.

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.