Metal Evilution at the Bald Faced Stag, 9/3/18

For one of my uni assignments, I have to attend weekly “cultural events” and blog about how they are useful for developing my own creative practice. Since I’m currently a bit disillusioned with the art world and drifting once again back to music, that means gigs! So for the next 10 weeks or so, I’ll be sharing these uni blogs with you here. I hope you find them interesting, but I also realise that they might seem a bit odd, due to the requirements I have to meet. They’re not meant to be like a proper review, rather, they’re meant to be more about me. Since I love to write ALL THE THOUGHTS down though, there will be some review-like snippets in there, if that’s the sort of thing you’re looking for. So, without further ado…

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a gig. Depression really killed my desire to leave the house, and made it difficult to enjoy music anyway, so when Rainbow Death Ray went on hiatus, I mostly just stopped going out. But now that I’m well again, I can finally go out and rock! Hurrah!

Last night, I headed back to the Stag for the first time since they removed their pokie machines. The venue has recently had a bit of scandal with a shady promoter not paying bands, but I still really love the place. When I walked in, they even had some other band out by the bar, which was cool to see (and a possible opportunity to keep in mind if I wanna do a smaller gig), but I went straight through to the main auditorium to get my metal fix. I was only able to stay for the first two bands, but for my first proper night out in ages, I was plenty happy with that!


So this isn’t meant to be a review of their performance, but I have to say I was impressed. Panik’s style of metal isn’t really my thing, but they put on an enjoyable, professional show, despite the room being fairly empty as is often the case for openers at these smaller, local gigs. I really love bands that take every show seriously, no matter how small. Their onstage antics and interactions were much more entertaining than most, and their sense of humour really worked well in their stage banter.

I also took note of their presentation – they all wore white singlets and dark pants, and this sort of consistency is really quite rare in most of the bands I’ve seen in Sydney. Usually the guys will just get up there in any old band shirt, which is fine, but incredibly boring, and those bands tend to be rather forgettable. The unfortunate reality is that humans are a predominantly visual species, so it’s not always enough to just rely on the music to make an impression on fans. Panik, however, while not being extreme in their image, actually show that they’ve put some thought into how they present on stage. The fact that they’ve chosen white is also a good move in my opinion, to help differentiate them from the bands who opt for a more traditional black. It’s subtle, but sometimes the best messages are transmitted subconsciously.

One final comment I have is less about Panik and more about the experience I had while watching them as the first band of the night. The other day, my intellectually disabled brother was watching The Wiggles singing the ABC song, when they switched into sign language. Having never seen singing in Auslan before, I couldn’t help but go google it, and discovered that there have actually been concerts interpreted for the deaf, and there’s even a deaf rapper, and while deaf people can’t hear, they can feel the vibrations that come from heavy bass beats. On this last point, it turns out that heavy metal concerts have been held for the deaf with vibrating floors designed with them in mind, and while standing in the Panik audience, I can 100% understand why. Metal gigs are always incredibly noisy, beyond what’s necessary, to the point that you’d be mad to listen without the protection of ear plugs. Combine that with the driving bass and the fast-paced double kick beats, and you have a room full of rhythmic vibrations that fill your whole body. And it really does make me feel happy to know that even without hearing, people are still able to experience music.

Armoured Earth

The other band I was able to stay for was Armoured Earth from Melbourne. As far as their sound goes, they are honestly much more my style, so musically I found I enjoyed their set better, and with more people on stage, there was more to look at, even if the stage was now a bit too crowded for the types of antics that Panik engaged in. The technician running their lights also did some great work for them on a couple of their songs, helping to set the mood for the particularly dark and gnarly passages. But with these guys, I did notice a lot more little things that I was a bit less impressed with, despite the enjoyability of their music.

One of the first things I noticed was the total contrast in the band’s approach to their appearance. As mentioned before, the standard miscellaneous black band shirt stereotype is in force here, but to make things worse, the bassist confuses things by beginning the gig looking completely out of place, as if he belongs to an entirely different genre. It’s only later when he takes off the outer shirt that he begins to fit in. Having someone look different isn’t terrible in itself, but when it’s done without any apparent reason, I personally find it confusing and detrimental to the overall band image. But I was a little bit surprised to hear the vocalist actually publicly point him out as different, which brings us to some other issues…

1. This band seemed to overdo the vocals a bit. Fair enough give the guitarist a mic, his backing vocals were a great addition. But giving the drummer a wireless headset that he barely seemed to use? And while I can understand giving the frontman a wireless mic frees him up to move around more without fear of accidentally pulling the cable out (which I have done), it also gave him the idea that he should come out into the audience and sing from amongst us. This is actually really cool from an audience interaction perspective, but the audio engineer in me was incredibly nervous about feedback. Fortunately, this only occurred as the singer was returning to the stage, but I personally leaned towards disapproval, particularly since I had to turn away from the band to see him behind me, and I’m the kind of person who wants to be able to appreciate the musicians and not just their mouthpiece.

2. Speaking of feedback, it seemed to me that this singer was really unaware of microphone technology and proper technique, and it was distressing to see yet another growler covering the rear ports of the mic with his fingers. He was only a one-hand cupper, but it was enough, and I particularly noticed the problems when he switched to a singing passage, at the same time that guitarist was also singing, and the guitarist just sounded that much better.

3. The onstage banter was another problem for me. Of course I understand, big scary band, maybe they wanted that macho stereotype dickhead persona. But from making a sexual joke at an audience member’s expense, to dissing his own band members for the way they dressed, I found it harder to want to connect with the band as a result. Panik utilised humour effectively. Armoured Earth seemed to just make a mess of it, and it reminded me of some of the arrogant singers I had to work with back in music school. As a singer myself, it’s this sort of thing that I really hope I can avoid.

So yeah, as much as I found their music to be more my style, I couldn’t help but be distracted by noticing all these little things.

Closing Thoughts

I said this wasn’t meant to be a review of the performances, but since I kinda did that, I guess I’ll get to the point – how experiencing this gig has been helpful for me as a musician. And I think for this gig, the main thing for me has just been about reengaging with the live scene. As I watched the bands, it helped me recall some of the good old days back when I was gigging with Wintergaunt, and I actually do miss being in a real metal band, complete with live drums shaking the room apart. Unfortunately, I can’t currently afford to be in one of those bands, due to rehearsal and travel costs, and also a lack of time while I’m at uni. But it’s something worth thinking about for the future. At the moment I’ve mainly been working in industrial, but I think I’m always going to be wanting another piece of the heavy metal stage. And when that time comes, I guess the other key benefit of seeing this gig would be the reminder of all the do’s and don’t’s of putting on a good show.

Yup, I write a lot, but that’s all for now. Til next time. \m/

Artists of Mosman: 2088, 2018

Hope Playing Under My Bed (BW)

Hope Playing Under My Bed (BW)
Exhibition Catalogue No. 71
Acrylic on board, 20cm x 20cm

It’s that time of year again! You may remember my first entry into the Artists of Mosman: 2088 exhibition last year. Well, it’s back on and I’m back in! This time with a painting of my dog Hope, when he was a puppy. You can read more about the work here:

This year’s exhibition was a bit smaller than last year – of approximately 260 entries, only 187 made it in. There was also no wall of puppies this time! I had assumed my painting would be in amongst a crowd of them, like they had last year, but this time it’s just my work, at the base of the inner stairs of level 1.

Artists of Mosman 2018

Attending the opening of the Artists of Mosman: 2088 exhibition on Friday, February 9th, 2018

Once again, the opening night was quite crowded, however it was nowhere near as hot as last time, and I was also able to hear most of the speeches, which were actually quite humorous. But in all honestly, the main source of my fun for the night came from dressing up! There aren’t many goth types in Mosman, so I stood out, sometimes receiving looks of surprise, and other times stares of disapproval. Dressing up around here is a fun social experiment, and I made the most of it!

If you’d like to check the exhibition out yourself, Artists of Mosman: 2088 is on display at Mosman Art Gallery from 10 February – 4 March 2017.

And in case you missed it, you can see an overview of the rest of last year’s art in my previous blog post.

For everything else, you can keep up with my creativity across the internet at the links below. Until next time!


Support me on Patreon:

Just want to send a one-off tip?






My bands:
Rainbow Death Ray on Bandcamp:
Rainbow Death Ray’s website:

Art I Made Last Year

Last year was a big one for me and art! My Master of Art degree started to pick up the pace, and I ended up making some fun stuff. Here’s a look at some of the highlights.

The Colours of Mount Fuji

"The Colours of Mount Fuji"

This work came about through an exercise in exploring colour. Each season and time of day matches up with a temperature and style of palette. You can read more about it here:

It has now been framed!

The Colours of Mount Fuji (Framed) by Mariko Gray

“Animal Affinity”

"Animal Affinity"

This series of A1 prints was the result of a semester of experiments in line and mark, exploring ways in which I could expressively communicate my relationship with my dogs. Originally, I had planned to use some kind of traditional medium, but I ended up working digitally after I realised that my main forms of self-expression are through writing and my voice. This lead to me composing my images using recordings of me speaking about my dogs, with the words placed inside the graphical waveforms and overlaid onto a digitally processed photograph. You can see more here:

A Post-Apocalyptic Picnic

A Post-Apocalyptic Picnic

With North Korean tensions flaring up, I became very interested in our nuclear history as well as the potential ramifications of wars that could lead to human extinction. The artwork I created as a result looks at how nature would reclaim urban areas in our absence, as it has done in abandoned cities such as Pripyat, post-Chernobyl. For more detail and discussion, click here:



Another issue that I became curious about last year was the environmental impacts of microplastics. Many people are now aware of microbeads, which had become common in cleansers and cosmetics before being banned, but it also turns out that plastic in synthetic fabrics – microfibers – are a much bigger problem. To highlight this issue, and as part of an exercise in repetition, I created small sheep out of natural clay, covered in small, plastic Fimo beads instead of wool. Read more about it here:

Copper Jewellery for the Post-Apocalypse

Copper Jewellery for the Post-Apocalypse

This is easily my favourite work from last year. As you can see, the post-apocalyptic theme has been on my mind! But this time I took a fantastic course in jewellery, and was given the freedom to explore all the possibilities of copper, including various methods of colouring and texturing it. This set of jewellery is designed with utilitarian goals in mind, as a way to justify the existence of decorative items in a world of survival and scarce resources. The ocean plays a big part in my imagined future. You can read more here:

Copper Jewellery for the Post-Apocalypse

Mood Cards, 2/8/17 – 22/9/17 (Surface Exhibition)

Mood Cards at Surface Exhibition

©2017 Edmond Thommen, all rights reserved

I blogged about this last time, but didn’t really say much about my work! My Mood Cards project was a response to my depression and the day to day struggles with my fluctuating emotions. Every day for 52 days, I painted a randomly drawn card according to what I was feeling that day. One of the cool things about it is that it really helped me explore some more experimental and expressive styles of creativity. And at the end of it all, it was really cool to see it go up in an exhibition that we organised as a class! I’ve written a bit more here:, but much more detail about this work is available to patrons who subscribe to my Patreon for $1/month. If you’re interested, I would really appreciate it if you signed up, it helps so much to have you become more involved in my creative journeys! ^_^

Many thanks to Edmond Thommen for the pictures of my work at Surface Exhibition!

Me and Edmond Thommen at Surface Exhibition

©2017 Edmond Thommen, all rights reserved

Noise Art Project 2017

Despite my hiatus from music, I also managed to create some sound-based art! The concept behind it was about breaking rules, from the sourcing of the sound, right through to playing it on four speakers instead of two (the video is a stereo approximation). You can read more about my thinking and process here:

Etching 2017

Alter Ego

Another class I did last year was all about etching! It was an interesting experience working with everyone in the Cicada Press studios. We did two projects, “Alter Ego” and “An Australian Bestiary”. The animal I chose for that last one was the drop bear! Heehee. You can see more of our work and a bit about the process here:

Drop Bear

My First Oil Painting

My first oil painting, of Hope

I actually started this one before I began my masters, after my uncle gave me his old oil painting supplies. However, once I started studying, I had to take a break (and oil takes so long to dry anyway) and didn’t come back to it until last year. It was a challenge, but I’m actually pretty happy with how it came out! Just wish I had a proper studio space for it, oil is a bit impractical for my current situation. Check out my process here, including my initial mistakes:

Relic of a Toxic Future

Relic of a Toxic Future

This was another jewellery project, again thinking about a post-apocalyptic world, but this time it ties in with an upcoming music project that I’ve been working on. You can read more about the purpose and the symbolism here:

Wearable Art

This was my first time making wearable art! It was a good bit of fun. Not particularly practical, but I love it anyway and it photographed well. I’ve been putting a lot of artsy images on Instagram lately, both of creepy work I’ve done and of my gothic outfits. If you’d like to see more, check it all out and follow me here:

Broken Innocence (Performance Art) 2017

You’ll notice a lot of broken/repaired toys on my Instagram account. They eventually formed the basis of my performance art piece last year. It was pretty nerve wracking, I’m used to music performance, not art performance, but it meant a lot to me. If you’ve signed up to support me on Patreon, you can see more about the performance here:

That’s all for now!

There were some other works I did last year, so I may post them up at some stage, but for now I hope you’ve enjoyed an overview of all my work so far! Tonight I’ll also be heading back to Mosman Art Gallery, where another one of my artworks has made it into the Artists of Mosman exhibition! I’ll be sure to show you that artwork soon as well (it’s also from last year). Sorry about the length of this blog btw, I’ll try to be better about posting more often this year! In the meantime, you can keep up with all my creativity across the internet at the links below. See you next time!


Support me on Patreon:

Just want to send a one-off tip?






My bands:
Rainbow Death Ray on Bandcamp:
Rainbow Death Ray’s website:

Another Exhibition, and Other News

Gosh, it’s been a busy year! I’ve neglected my website blog, but I’m hoping to get some more time for it soon. In the meantime, I have another exhibition I’m in!

Surface is an exhibition showcasing the varied works of final year Masters students from UNSW Art & Design. It runs from October 26 – November 6 at Gaffa Gallery in Sydney CBD.

Opening Night: 6pm – 8pm Thursday October 26, 2017

Gallery Hours
Mon-Fri: 10am – 6pm
Sat: 11am – 5pm
Sun, holidays: closed

Gaffa is located at 281 Clarence St in Sydney, right near Town Hall.

If you want to keep up with what’s going on with the exhibition, there’s a Facebook page as well as an event, and there’s also an Instagram.

My work for the exhibition uses playing cards as a canvas.

As for what else is going on right now, I’m nearly 3/4 through my Master of Art at UNSW! It’s been pretty hectic. I’ve been working in everything from painting to digital media, plant sculpture to jewellery, even a bit of noise art. When things calm down over the summer, I think I’ll start posting about some of the things I’ve been doing and update all the other areas of my website to show off my work.

In the meantime, I have actually been posting some things! Just not here. So if you’d like to see some of it now, here are my best links:

If you go to the “posts” tab and then pick the “public” tag, you’ll be able to see some of my recent projects! Or, if you’d like to support me for US$1/month or more, you’ll get access to all the extra goodies too! That includes behind the scenes things and work in progress, and is also just a really great help and encouragement to me to keep doing what I do. Either way though, I appreciate your ongoing interest in my art, and I will be making more public posts as I complete new works, so stay tuned!

I started off mainly posting my zombie toys, which I creatively repair when my dogs tear them apart. But lately I’ve also started adding images of my art, both finished and in progress.

Probably the easiest way to get in touch with me, since I live there. It’s a bit quiet, partly because I don’t agree with how Facebook handles page post visibility, but I do post updates now and then, and see your comments faster than on any other platform since I basically live on Facebook these days.

As for some other links, if you’re interested, I’m on a few more platforms…

Mostly old works, need to update this as well!

I recently started vlogging again, mostly about my life and my thoughts.

Occasional political comments or articles about mental health usually.

Well, that’s it for today! I’m very nervous, but also keen for the Surface Exhibition, it’s in just under two weeks, oh my gosh! Lots of work to do! But I’ll try not to be a stranger anymore ^_^ not long to go til I have free time again!

My First Art Gallery Showing

I live in Mosman, a suburb of Sydney, Australia, and every year the local art gallery invites residents and gallery members to submit work to the Artists of Mosman: 2088 exhibition. I entered last year, but didn’t get in, and I was not surprised – they tend to prefer conservative works involving beaches and puppies and other tame subject matter. This year, however, I was going to pass, but at the last minute on submission day I thought, “what the hell, I’ll put in my uni artworks”. And they got in!! 😀

Opening night was on Friday the 10th of February, and since I’ve never been to one of Mosman Art Gallery’s openings before, I headed up with my aunt and uncle.It sure was packed! With more than 200 artworks on display from almost as many artists, a lot of people turned up, and the gallery was the busiest I’ve ever seen it. The aircon was clearly struggling that day – it was right in the middle of Sydney’s recent heatwave – and the number of people filling the small space was no help. It was worse in the un-airconditioned main hall where the speeches were happening, but we got a spot right under a fan where we could nibble sushi and sip free drinks in relative comfort. We couldn’t hear much of the speeches, the guys had terrible mic technique, but they did mention they’d received approval to upgrade the aircon in the gallery space. Good to know… XD

Crowds and aircon aside, the exhibition has a lot to look at. As usual, there isn’t really much in the way of challenging subject matter, but amongst the masses there are a number of artists being shown who have some serious talent. It shocks me a little that my art got in alongside some of them – there were about a hundred other artworks that didn’t make the cut. I’m not a bad artist or anything, but I am fairly early in my art journey, and it kinda blows my mind to be there next to some of the photorealistic paintings etc on display. I’ll probably have to go back for another look at those ones – it was just too crowded on opening night to really take it all in.

And there’s one more really exciting thing – at the time of writing this, I’m told that one of my artworks has been sold! Woah! So not only is this my first real showing at an art gallery, it’s also my first art sale ever!
Goodbye to my untitled leaf artwork! I just wonder if the buyer knows it’s electronic. When the light levels drop, it starts flashing subtle LED’s and makes a very unsubtle chirping noise. I’ve got some video of it to edit and upload when I get a chance. I wonder if I’ll ever know who the buyer is – I’d love to see their reaction the first time it activates. But since it’s going to be at the gallery for nearly a month, and assuming the lights are turned off every night, I guess the battery might run out before they take it home. Will they replace that battery? Haha who knows, most people just like to look at it.

So that’s my first art showing in a nutshell. Small steps. Finding out my works were accepted was pretty exciting. I’d been having a bad week with my depression til that happened. It’s actually the reason I finally set up my website again, I need to have it in case people want to find out more and stay in touch with me. Sometimes you just need a bit of carrot from the world to get moving. And if my works are actually saleable, wow, I better keep up the hard work! ^_^

Artists of Mosman: 2088 is on display at Mosman Art Gallery from 11 February – 5 March 2017.

Works Exhibited (Click for Details):

Untitled Electronic Leaf Artwork
Exhibition Cat. No. 77

My Tangle
Exhibition Cat. No. 78