Alienation & Conformity Tests 1 & 2

Over the past few months I’ve been working on an animated film I made in Tokyo which examines conformity and a fear which I felt when living abroad for the first time, alienation. The film footage is shot on an over ground train carriage in the Tokyo. Panning 180 degrees, right to left conveys an arc of life. The pan is a comment on emotions and anxieties endured by myself over a period of time.

Alienation & Conformity Test 1

Alienation & Conformity Test 2

Alienation & Conformity Test 2


However, after a few tests, I felt  to comprehensively project this concept, I decided to continue the sequence and pan an extra 180 degrees, the pan returning to the starting point.

Alienation & Conformity Test 1

Also, I’m experimenting with the relationship between live action and animation which I’m pursuing more and more in my work recently simply because I find the relationship visually engaging.  Frames 94  &  146

Tamagawa Train Pan 146

The silhouetted passengers all matching with similar characteristics and behaviour. A feeling of trepidation, being watched, analysed scrutinized. Time, like the pan, moves jerkily along until the passengers become clearly visible, the tension diminishes, the atmosphere less threatening.  Frames 225 & 305

Tamagawa Train Pan 225 Tamagawa Train Pan 305

To capture more atmosphere and mood, each frame has been rendered and textured. When projected continuously, the moving image radiates an assortment of dynamic characteristics. I had been researching artists that primarily employ composites in their work and how dramatically the visual alters as a result.

Frames 20, 90, 184 & 216



I’ve not quite completed the rendering and texturing though hope to premiere the animation on Tuesday. The audio will be completed later this year.



Part of my contextual inspiration comes from the Brazilian Social documentary photographer and photojournalist Sebastiao Salgado and a project of his called ‘Workers’ (1993)which depicts the kinds of extremities people have to endure in their daily working lives.

Salgado 1 Salgado 2 Salgado 3

From my own commuter drawings over the years, the Commuter Collage Triptych is a nod to Salgado’s work. The masses, compartmentalized, busily and sleepily fill the textured zones.

Collage 1 (Paper & Grunge & Nature  texture) Collage 2 (Grunge & Materials texture) Collage 3 (Grunge & Nature)


Tokyo Underground Drawings: Drawing Tool Considerations

I take drawing tool considerations highly in the same way painters consider their brushes or in a different context, a golfer choosing a particular club.  At art school (College/University) I’d always favour graphite pencils graded between HB (hard black) -7B. I’d never consider H (hard) or F (fine) graphite pencils. I was always encouraged to use softer graphite by Art teachers. However, I was very interested in the work of Cy Twombly, largely because he could use 9H or 8H pencils and create dynamic and dramatic scribbles. So why didn’t I? One reason could be the fact that the graphite doesn’t dominate the white paper. The image is less intense and as I constantly strive for expression, I would be unable to convey this element effectively. Also, I like to smudge the graphite with my fingers or the side of my hand and for me these actions are an essential component of my drawing process.  So I stick to HB +, end of.

I didn’t consider using biro pen for drawings until I came to Japan. Being addicted to stationary from a young age (and still now), fortunately for me, stationary is popular culture in Japan especially for elementary, junior and high school students. It’s not surprising, in department stores you can find such a range of stationary and clusters of students around testing the pens. Each pen catering for your writing/drawing needs. I’m in heaven! Having not done much pen drawing, I was curious to find out the versatility of drawing at speed on trains using pen. So between 1999-2003, I was mostly drawing in blue or black biro (ballpoint pen).  Below are a few pen/pencil drawings from 1999-2014. Later this week, time permitting, I hope to  work on revamping selected passenger drawings.

Passenger Pen drawings (1999)

Image 30 Image 29 Image 27


Urban & Entomology Studies

Koenji Bar (2014)
Koenji Bar (2014)
Otsuka Neighbourhood (2012)
Cicada (2012)