Category Archives: Art

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.

“Foreign Lands” and “Ruins” at Kudos Gallery


I thought I’d take a break from music gigs this week and go to a gallery. Part of this is because one of the shows was by our fellow student, Karolina Partyka, so it was fun to be able to go and support a friend. But other than that, I’ve also been thinking about what I should do with the visual side of my creative practice once I finish the course. This is actually the first semester in which I’ve returned to my music practice, and I’m already feeling much more confident about getting back into that, whereas I still feel that my visual practice is lacking and I’ve been consistently terrified of the idea of trying to apply to a gallery for an actual show. But after this week’s lecture from Elizabeth Reidy, it actually sounds less scary, especially when she mentioned the number of applications vs acceptances. For the Bondi Pavilion Gallery, it seems you have about a 25% chance of getting in, which is vastly better odds than I had expected. Funds permitting, I’m hoping to take the rest of the year off after I finish uni, so I might actually have the time to start taking some of this stuff more seriously, and for that reason, I need to make sure I don’t just focus solely on music.

So here are some photos from the opening at Kudos last night. I spent most of my time in the back half of the gallery where Karolina’s Foreign Lands exhibition was. She had a really diverse array of works on show, including photography, video, installation, and VR. There were also some interesting lighting choices that helped set the atmosphere and also distinguished her exhibition from Ruins in the front half of the gallery.

Native, 2016
Single channel projection, single channel audio, pencil & watercolour on paper, ceramic, glass dome, red desert sand, petri dishes, seeds, dimensions variable.

This is one of those ones you really need to go and see to get a proper sense of it (all of them are really haha, that’s how Karolina’s practice is), my photo barely shows you anything of what this work is. The video projection shifts between different translations of the word “Native”, and in front of it are what appear to be specimens of early crops in an imagined human colony on Mars. On the left is a mock up of a crop growing in Martian soil, in the centre, a botanical drawing of a crop adapted for Martian conditions, and on the right, seed samples of 6 different early Martian crops. I personally have some disdain for our obsession with going to Mars, I tend to think we should fix our planet first, but it is interesting to think about how a future society might look back on our earliest steps on the red planet. Karolina’s museum-like work gives you a hint of how that experience might one day be.

For an earlier iteration of this work, and artist statement, click here.

Top: Ancestral Ritual (That Which No Longer Needs To Be Carried), 2017
2 channel video, single channel audio, dimensions variable.
Bottom: Annulment, 2017
Red desert sand, water, ink, dissolving stones, vine cuttings, netting, bowl, light, dimensions variable.

Tucked away around a corner are these two related but separate works. I was already familiar with the top work, which you can view here, but I completely misunderstood the bottom one! At the time, the gallery was already filling up with a lot of people, even though I was relatively early to the opening, so I didn’t get a chance to really read the text, but I took a photo of the label so I could work it out later. Turns out those little rocks are dissolvable! You’re supposed to take one, put all your traumas into it, and then release it into the water to dissolve away. And yes, in case you were wondering, the instructions do ask you not to eat them, although they are non-toxic and food safe!

Speaking of labels, I really enjoyed the way Karolina’s were done. They appear to be clear adhesives attached to the wall, which seem like a neat solution. One of my problems with the Ruins exhibition out the front was that there were no labels at all, only a very short statement accompanying the long list of works, so I struggled to understand what was going on. We also had this problem in our exhibition at Gaffa last year. I know that the general public statistically doesn’t spend that much time reading labels, but I struggle to appreciate art on its own, so I like it when there are decent labels present to explain it for me. (Although it helps if there are less people around so I can read them in peace! I guess that’s another reason I’m not usually a gallery-openings type of person.)

An earlier iteration of Annulment can be viewed here.

Various photographic works (obscured by all the people coming to the opening!)

I didn’t spend much time with the photos, so I won’t say much. The drinks bar was just outside the door so people tended to congregate in this area, and I freely admit that I preferred to avoid people as much as possible haha. But I think I also just find it easier to walk past photos generally, compared to video works which require you to spend more time with them to see what’s going on. You can see the Land Mythology work online here, but Outer/Other is a newer work so it doesn’t seem to be online yet.

Endsville, 2018
4 channel video, single channel audio, dimensions variable.

I also didn’t spend a whole lot of time with this one because it was in the same space as the photos, but from my quick read of the label, it was about utopias and compared various visions of this concept alongside each other using public domain videos. This is also a newer work, so it’s not online yet either.

Mars Barren, 2016
Virtual reality projected space, plywood, acrylic medium, red desert sand, acrylic paint, dimensions variable.

When you walk in, you see this:

Then you pick up the object and point it at the wall!

Ta-dah! Virtual reality but without having to wear those silly glasses! And it gives a neat explorer vibe, like you might be in a cave, despite the projection showing an outdoor scene. I just really enjoyed the atmosphere in this dark red room, and the interactivity probably made this the most engaging work for me. You have to be involved to be able to see what it is, and the narrow view provided by the projection prevents the game from being given away too quickly. I don’t know if the surface of Mars was necessarily the best subject matter to go with this style of presentation, but I honestly didn’t care, it was fun being able to actually touch the object, feel the texture, and play with the projection. It’s also just an impressive bit of technical juggling, to get all these components to work, and I admire Karolina’s determination to create things like this because it’s exactly the kind of stressful undertaking that I would run a mile from!

You can see an earlier version of this work here, along with the full spherical view, but honestly you should just run down there and play with it for yourself, it’s heaps more fun and worth doing!

Papers I collected

Well I photographed the back of the Ruins page by mistake, but if you look at Karolina’s text, the Ruins text was about a third of that before the list of works starts. I do wish the Ruins one had explained a bit more, particularly in the absence of labels in the gallery, but what can you do. I’m mostly just excited by Karolina’s promotional postcard. It’s A5, with gloss finish on one side, and looks heaps professional and probably cost a bit of money to get done! I think the reverse writing was also an entertaining choice, as I saw people trying to view it in a reflection just for fun, but at the same time it’s also surprisingly easy to read backwards which is cool.

Ruins
Not to be neglectful of the other exhibition, here are some photos of Ruins. But I can’t really explain what they are, because I was a bit confused by the small amount of text. I’m also not a huge fan of exhibitions that have very small photos spaced very far apart. On the upside though, it did create a neat little foyer of relative calm between the entrance and the hyperstimulation of Foreign Lands.

Foreign Lands and Ruins are both on show at Kudos Gallery until May 12.

Gallery opening hours:
Wed – Fri 11:00am – 6:00pm
Sat 11:00am – 4:00pm

6 Napier St, Paddington NSW 2021

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: https://www.patreon.com/posts/16943987

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!

Links!

Support me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/destroyermariko

Just want to send a one-off tip? https://www.paypal.me/MarikoGray

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/DestroyerMariko

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/destroyermariko

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DestroyerMariko

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/

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: https://www.patreon.com/posts/colours-of-mount-12462757

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: https://www.patreon.com/posts/animal-affinity-12718630

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: https://www.patreon.com/posts/post-apocalyptic-13147391

Microplastics

Microplastics

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: https://www.patreon.com/posts/microplastics-14072023

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: https://www.patreon.com/posts/copper-jewellery-14370673

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: https://www.patreon.com/posts/surface-15002508, 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: https://www.patreon.com/posts/noise-art-2017-15446541

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: https://www.patreon.com/posts/etching-2017-15492590

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: https://www.patreon.com/posts/15940999

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: https://www.patreon.com/posts/relic-of-toxic-16632068

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: https://www.instagram.com/destroyermariko/

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: https://www.patreon.com/posts/15538432

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!

Links!

Support me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/destroyermariko

Just want to send a one-off tip? https://www.paypal.me/MarikoGray

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/DestroyerMariko

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/destroyermariko

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DestroyerMariko

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/

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:

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/destroyermariko
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!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/destroyermariko/
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.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DestroyerMariko/
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…

DeviantArt: http://destroyermariko.deviantart.com/
Mostly old works, need to update this as well!

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/DestroyerMariko
I recently started vlogging again, mostly about my life and my thoughts.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DestroyerMariko
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