Australia 2023

April 29, 2023

A quick update on life on Australia’s south coast.

It’s almost May, which means I’ve been back in Australia for four months since taking temporary leave from Tokyo.

I’m in Kiama, on the coastline, and from grassy cliffs I can look down at the surf as it churns against granite walls. A line from Rick Rubin comes to mind:

“There’s a reason we are drawn to gazing at the ocean. It’s said the ocean provides a closer reflection of who we are than any mirror.”

Or in my case, thinking about Ghoul. The plan for this year has taken shape: work with a ceramics studio to reproduce the Jomon-inspired Ghouls; launch a playable version of the Ghoul trading cards; create one hundred new Ghouls; and hold a solo show in Sydney at year’s end.

I chose Clay Wollongong for the ceramics studio. What better way to transition from digital to tangible art than by shaping Ghouls with mud and my bare hands?

The other major component of 2023 is launching the tabletop game, Battledeck. I’ve got something really special – I see it on people’s faces when they play it, holler and hoot. The challenge is in sharing it with enough people so I can crowdfund its production. If you’re interested in play-testing and giving feedback, you can purchase a prototype on the store now by signing up on the home page.

I’ve also completed the first 50 Ghouls for 2023. They’re digital illustrations for now, and I’ll attempt to paint them on canvas.

I’m branching out from pixel art faces – the project is just more exciting that way – and it opens up all kinds of possibilities: 50 inflatable ghouls; 50 cross stitch ghouls; 50 ghoul faces shaped out of party balloons? Who knows where we go from here.

Last Sunday I walked from Otford Lookout through a palm jungle, followed curved wooden walkways over swaying coastal grass, and climbed a quarry of barnacled rocks to reach the Figure Eight Pools, an unusual collection of almost perfectly round rock pools. They’re found on a rock shelf that only reveals itself at low tide, and many of them are over 2 metres deep. Jumping in and out of these circular pools, bubbles tickling the skin and sea grass slippery underfoot, I momentarily forgot the challenges that lay ahead with my art this year, living in the moment on New South Wales Australia’s incredible south coast.