I'm writing to you from a little rice field in Nagano where I am currently doing a 2.5 month artist's residency! This is the beautiful view from my tatami room.
Some of you might know I studied painting and drawing at university in Australia at the same time as working at Vogue Living magazine as a designer. I majored in painting and drawing for my masters degree at COFA (College of Fine arts, UNSW) but it has been such a long time since I've been able to take this time and focus on my drawing and a different sort of creativity. During my stay here I will be making a series of drawings, paintings, photographs, installations, and if I can, maybe experiment with making some music!
This shot of our little houses was sent to me from the residency organisers before arriving. I was selected along with one other artist and we each have one of these little homes to ourselves for the duration of the residency.
The two above shots are taken from my front door. The natural soundtrack is little frogs and crickets! When it rains, it's so utterly beautiful. This is as close as I've been to camping since a trip to the Australian outback during my honours degree.
The artist's residency organisers have very generously taken us sightseeing around Nagano in a little van. It's ridiculously pretty out here. The air is so fresh and I feel like I'm living in a Ghibli animation.
The local combini is about 15 minutes walk away, but check out this view on the way! Soooooo different to my everyday Tokyo life.
I wandered around on one of my first days here and heard some chatter coming from this little bus stop.
"Are you waiting for the bus?", I asked, but these two cuties were just chilling out in the bus stop with their mismatched pattern outfits and apple juice cans. I really want in with this crew.
The local supermarket.
I introduced myself, but being a lovely little local town they already knew of us two artists staying here.
Although it's almost as if you don't need to visit the supermarket here because the local farmers keep dropping off vegetables at our doorsteps. Upon arrival I received this bag of beautifully packaged local rice, and below you can see the tomatoes that were dropped off this week. I just finished simmering them down into some fresh tomato sauce. The other artist, Yukari-chan, who lives in the house next door to me, brought along the set up for a pizza oven, so we will use this sauce for our pizza party. Soooooooo different from sitting in my Shimokitazawa apartment clicking refresh on the Dominos pizza GPS delivery website. To be honest, I'm so surprised at how differently I'm adapting to this slower pace life. I thought I would really struggle. But let's not get ahead of ourselves here. It's ten days in and I've fallen over twice (I was warned NOT TO GO OUTSIDE AT NIGHT), and I've developed quite a sophisticated bug check patrol after seeing mukade (a kind of poisonous centipede) and spiders that frighten even Australians.
Getting set up in my little 80s kitchen. The morning light is divine. And I love cooking on a gas stove with a window. And I've been dyeing some fabric with these little berries.
The afternoon light in the tatami room - I just can't!
And I spend my nights recharging here on this little floral covered futon. The organisers also gave me a kotatsu to use during my stay. I've wanted one for all of the 7 years I've been living in Japan!
I really want to keep a diary of this amazing residency with you all so I'll try and show as much as I can with you. At the end of each day my mind is kind of blank though. So much inspiration, and using Japanese language. I kind of blank out at the end of the day. But I'll ganbarimasu!