Sibling unite under the cherry trees

When my sister asked me “do you want to come with me to Tokyo for my birthday?” I immediately jumped at the chance.  She and I had been planning the trip with our friend Ruby, who lives in the city. Ruby would play tour guide while we prance around and be our girly selves.  But the trip took another twist when  my brother, who has been living in China, got wind of our plans and decided to join along.  We had all grown up together as siblings who got along very well (minus a few back slapping episodes) so the idea of all of us meeting up in Tokyo, wandering about and making our own memories and adventures just sounded too cool to resist.  The three of us hadn’t travelled together since we were teenagers, let alone as full grown adults in a foreign country.  Once the plans were made we started calling each other more, video chatting and getting hyped for the upcoming adventure.  We all documented the trip in our own particular way. Armed with my Canon, I was prepared to capture what was sure to be one of the best trips of my life.

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Day zero is clouded in misty rain.  It was beautiful in it’s own particular way. The rain lends a dreamy glow to the little winding streets, full of neon signs and singing crosswalks.   Blade Runner and Ghost In The Shell are real here.

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We arrive to our swanky little hotel, situated in Akasaka. Up the elevetor, we’re shocked to see that the hallway is open air, and looked out into a dazzling view of industrial building set up against a glowing city-scape that sprawls forever.  japantripalbum3

A peek through the blinds of our hotel reveals the misty canyon and river of red lights below.

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We venture out in search of something to eat.  The options are endless, but we go for a suggested Korean BBQ spot.  Bumbling around, we finally stumbled upon the place, but on the wrong floor.  After being directed downstairs, the three of us finally seize a spot amongst an entire room filled with smashed salary-men.  The atmosphere is jovial.  Its highballs and black bean noodles for all!

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The next day. Its beautiful. It’s the best weather I’ve had in months. So far everything is delivering.  Just a stroll through our neighbourhood is full of so many things to see, you could spend hours checking it all out.  Just nearby was the Hie Shrine. Of course we were completely unaware of it until we spotted these immense white arches below a yawning flight of stone steps leading up to a tree covered temple.  Atop the shrouded hill was pristine red shrine, covered in pale pink petals.

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It’s completely quite up here. Just the sound of some crows and sweeping monks.  Then again it’s still so early.  The jet lag/excitement levels got us up at 5:30 in the morning. So we had the whole city to ourselves. Before the hushed crowds and tourists filled the streets, the three of us would explore in search of some magic feelings.

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The cherry blossoms are literally everywhere. Its like someone had sprinkled the most delicate pale pink confetti across the streets. There are so many that people sweep them up into precious pink piles, where they are disposed of. They call it a Sakura Storm when the wind picks them up, blows them off branches, and swirls them in air.

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The Hie Shrine was an absolute treasure trove of beautiful things to experience. Inside the shrine walls we see a great plaza and huge statues of monkey spirits flanking the inside of the doorway.  It’s just us and the monks. After the prolonged visit, we head towards Shibuya to see the famous crossing.  Along the way we stumble again onto a shrine, this one dedicated to foxes.  Fox statues were at every corner, leading through to the inner sanctuary where a ceremony was being held.  The monks were beating a drum and chanting a hypnotic rhythm. I could stay for hours, but the pulse of the city beckons us to keep moving.

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We finally make our destination to Shibuya Crossing. Some guys in Mario Carts whizz by. Once again, Tokyo is delivering. Our friend Ruby is waiting for us by a hello-kitty themed train car permanently parked near the crossing. Shes been living in Tokyo for a few years now and has the deets on all the best places to go. My sister and I had been here before, but it feels new and exciting each time, and to have someone show you their favourite places is added bonus.  The next few hours are spent ooing and aahhing over cute dresses at IO9 and worshipping at the alter of materialism. Time and money well spent! After the shop-fest we grab a drink at this crazy monster bar, where you eat pink cat food under jellyfish arches and glowing baby bottles.

 

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The next day is Odaiba, an artificial pleasure island full of immense buildings that house arcades, malls restaurants and rides.  We accessed the island by a private monorail that snakes through and over high rises. You get these incredible little glimpses into office buildings, balconies, and school playgrounds of people living their lives.  The ride is a destination in itself. You get this incredible birds eye view over the harbour and the ocean. The three of us are whispering in a half full train car, trying not to totally loose our minds over each amazing vista.

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One of the coolest places is Pallet Town. It’s this humongous arcade full of games, both familiar and completely novel, a candy coloured ferris wheel, bowling alleys, haunted houses, photo-booths, and a concept car show-room. We all grew up playing video games in arcades, so gunning down digital zombies and riding racing simulators in in our DNA.

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The surrounding area of the island has cherry tree lined walk ways and bright gardens that meander across wide plazas…and a statue of liberty. Because, why not? The light is getting golden and it’s time to head back to town for dinner with Ruby and her boyfriend Kei.

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We meet up later that evening at a classy little Yakitori restaurant.  Along the way we’re getting drunk from gross Chew-Hi drinks and getting lost along the way…google directions are more of suggestion than a clear path. No matter, the back alleys are so much fun to explore that getting lost is half the charm.

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Day 3 comes and its time to leave our cozy  high-rise nest and head to the old capital, Kyoto.  JoEllen and I are feeling rather fresh and do a photo-sesh on the top floor and stair well. Once again, I could stay here for hours snapping pictures.  But we got a bullet train to catch.  Unfortunately this is where the photo adventure ends for me. As we left the train station in Kyoto, I had forgotten my camera on the train! Luckily we were able to retrieve it by having it shipped to Ruby’s apartment in Tokyo, but only after spending 2 incredible nights in Kyoto and another in the picturesque town of Hakone.  I’m just happy to have gotten my camera safely returned to me…but at the cost of missing out on photographing some of the most beautiful scenery and moments I’ve ever encountered.  You say “Mary, you could of used your cell phone”. Yes, you’re right. But I have to admit that I’m a lousy phone-photographer and every attempt to capture something was a frustrating exercise in futility…so I just decided that I was going to soak it up and enjoy every moment that was left.

But I know I will be back again. This was my second trip and I’ve barely scratched the surface. It was crazy fun adventure and it really brought us all together in a way that will be uniquely mine, Aaron’s and JoEllen’s. Next time we see each other we can laugh our faces off over all the silly things we did in Japan. I’m truly lucky to have had such an experience!

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Screen Sirens part III and Tokyo!

It’s hard not to be excited for the spring! It’s been a really long, cold winter and it’s been hanging on for what seems like forever. Keeping a positive attitude is challenging when the sky has been so grey and rainy, plus the constant barrage of horrible news that filters in every single day. But as of my own experience in life, I have much to be excited about…so no more moping around feeling sorry for myself, dammit! I’m going to Tokyo for a week to meet up with my brother and sister! The three of us are so excited about it, not only for the obvious reasons, but also because it will be the first time that the three of us have hung out together as adults on our own vacation. It’s pretty amazing that we all have such different, exciting lives all while living in different countries.  I never thought this would be my family, but it is! And its pretty awesome.  So, expect some great photo coverage of our week together.

So, to try and keep up with a rosy attitude, I present my latest screen siren collage. The one and only French icon, Brigitte Bardot. The first thing that comes to my mind is her famous golden hair.  No one pulls of that sexy tussled bed-hair better than Bardot. So in my version, it had to be her defining quality.  I’ve always associated her with flowers and daises for some reason…she has this fairy-like quality to her, so I couldn’t resist giving her a crown fit for the queen of fairies herself.

 

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If you like what you see, please check out my Society 6 shop here and browse my products and posters!

Screen Sirens Part II

Hello everyone! For the second part of the Screen Siren series I’m focusing on the great Marlene Dietrich. This woman not only had the face of an arch angle, but she also had a spanning career and a truly humanitarian spirit. But partly what made her such a successful actress was the fact that  the light loves her face. She has these incredible cheekbones that sweep the light across her face to such a dramatic effect.  There was just something about the lighting in those classic Hollywood movies that made the actresses sparkle on the screen.  When searching for images to use for collage I can get lost in all the beautiful gauzy photos of classic actresses, striking dramatic poses under the most polished lighting.  In my version she resembles an Arabian princess, posing under the glow of a full moon.  You couldn’t possibly get any more glamorous.

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If you’d like this moon princess to grace your walls, just follow the link HERE to my Society 6 site!

Screen Sirens

The last couple of days have been pretty fruitful for new art production. And I must say, I’m rather proud of my latest series which focuses on my favourite actresses and models. Today I’ll debut my first, Isabella.  I found this amazing photograph of Isabella Rossellini that was begging to be used in a collage.  She’s just an incredible actress and model. There is this otherworldly quality to her when she acts and speaks.  She’s just so alluring with her mysterious sounding voice and dark features on top of her ivory skin.  I wanted this collage to reflect her spooky beauty.

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This print is now available in my Society 6 shop HERE. I’ve also formatted it for shower curtains, t-shirts, bags, and pillows for your home!

Demon Thoughts

I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough in the last couple of days. I had gotten so focused on creating pieces for my tarot collection that I was feeling a bit bogged down by the heavy usage of symbolism.  Naturally I don’t use a lot of symbolic images in my work…the ideas formulate at the same time of creation.  Very rarely do I approach a piece of artwork with a clear idea of what I want out of it, or rarely do I ever have a specific concept that I want to communicate. I allow the process to surprise me! In today’s example, “Demon Thoughts”, I started with a mannequin’s face and the atomic structures floating out of her head.  Seeing the combination of scientific imagery and the face made me think of how humans have this incredible power to turn ideas into something great or something terrible.  In this piece I wanted to suggest the darker side of ideas.  She seems to be plotting something….

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If you like what you see and think it would look good in your home, go to my Society 6 store HERE! I’ve also formatted these to be worn as t-shirts!

Hello Hello Hello!

Greetings and welcome to my blog! If you are reading this you might already know who I am and have been following my work for a while. If not, please allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Mary (obvious!) and I’ve been in the business of making art and photography for many years now. Recently I’ve discovered a passion for making digital collage, and I wanted to create a space where I can have an open discussion about the processes, the inspiration, and details about my work.  Living in the digital era gives artists the freedom to show their work to a broad audience…practically the entire world if you get lucky enough! Though that freedom comes at the cost of people’s artwork feeling extremely temporal and unbounded by meaning. In these times I find it more important than ever for artists to take the time to explain why they do what they do, and hopefully inspire others to communicate and express their own artistic motives! So here I am doing my part giving my audience a glimpse inside the mind of an artist.

To celebrate my first post for the blog, I’ll share some fresh work with you! This piece is entitled Jade Empress.  She came to me after a frenzy of reformatting my older work for print to be sold at an upcoming craft fair. I had been staring at my old pieces for so long that I felt the need to make something new. Fortunately she came out pretty easily. It’s funny how temperamental creativity can be. Sometimes the ideas just flow right out and everything comes together so neatly that you almost can’t take ownership of them…and then other times you work and work and work on a piece, but never feel quite satisfied with it.  This one is definitely in the former group! Thank goodness too, because I had been experiencing some serious artistic blockage! jade

If you like what you see and want this piece for your own, check out my Society 6 shop! And for the record, I’m very appreciative when people want to spend their hard earned cash on my art.  Every purchase encourages me and shows that my work has value. So go out there and support artists! They really need your validation!