Tranquil Afternoons

It's clear by now that my main interests are wearing pyjamas and feeding birds. Preferably both at once (that's when I'm in my ultimate form). The air itself seems to have its own kind of domesticity when I go outside for a walk, or for some fresh air, or to see the crows fly back and forth between TV aerials. I always think I could live in all sorts of different places because I don't feel super attached to any one specific area or building or life, even. Maybe part of that is to do with living in London and experiencing how different all the boroughs and streets and pockets of life are, but I'm sure a lot of it is to do with feeling more connected to the external surroundings and the constant familiarity of the immediate outdoors.

There are always birds and branches. There are always clouds and skies and rain and sun. The air feels nice.  All that stuff feels most like home to me.

That's why I love going for walks, because it feels like coming home. It feels like being my most lucid self. In those moments I know myself in my simplest terms. Amongst the trees and local creatures (because I'm a local creature too).

I guess I also have a familiar feeling in familiar spaces, so that's what's echoed in all these different outsides - the pleasant domesticity of feeling like I belong amongst all the pigeons and semi-detached houses with red and brown roof tiles, and the bushes and mud and pavements, and the corner shops selling Space Raiders and lots of variations on Kinder eggs.

Outside we can all be animals, tracing our fingertips along lines in bark. Inside we can be curatorial. Building birds' nests of hot water and light coming through blinds and casting stripy shadows. Both belong to each other, but everything is formed of outside. Everything is a small part of the world.

Socialising with non-human animals always feels magical. Like when I when I would crawl into the spinney at my middle school and sit with the damp piece of wood that all the wood lice lived in. I loved watching them and just being with them and smelling the woody, leafy smells in there. I honestly felt a kinship with them and I wanted to stay in there all the time and become one with the insects instead of doing times tables.

Since I never really discussed that feeling of being in awe of all these tiny sensory elements of nature as a kid, it was as if it was a secret magic all my own. I would watch ants crawl up trees by the school fence and feel so delighted and gently impressed, and I would feel as if I had been offered a secret gift by nature, alone in a loud playground full of shouting and running, singularly separated to share my consciousness with the trees and the ants.

Those feelings have never gone away, and I have cherished them all this time as the best thing about living. If you ever meet me at a party, please don't be alarmed if I start crying because of a leaf or something. That's just me. I'm enjoying it.

Go watch some ants, breathe some fresh air, trace lines in the ground with your toes, run though the forest as if you're five years old, make mud pies and draw pictures, organise your kitchen, hang up a painting of a vegetable, look at a flower, make yourself a drink.

I'm gonna go drink a lot water and curl up under a blanket.

Tiny Troll

Here's a troll. I got him for 20p from one of those tiny mechanical vending machines you find outside shops. He's possibly the most beautiful creature that has ever existed.

This guy has given me some strong advice (as well as ceaseless fashion inspiration), and I'd like to express my immense respect for trollkind by passing some of it on. So without further ado, here is the best advice I have received from Mr. Troll:

  • Clothes? Unnecessary.
  • Show everyone your bellybutton and ask them to speak into it when they address you.
  • Shave your head and put candy floss there instead. Much nicer (and more delicious).
  • Try storing gems in your bellybutton.
  • If your hair comes off, just glue it back on.

Pretty great tips here, I'm sure you'll agree. Personally, I feel much more powerful and cool when I have a piece of amethyst in my bellybutton.

Full Of Heart

Paper props are pretty much my favourites for scans. I mean, it helps that they're flat, so they don't go all blurry at the edges, but it's also nice to add a simple cartoon element or some cute paper thing. It just gives my face a bit more personality to surround it with paper hearts.

This reminds me of that one Photobooth setting where hearts float around above your head. A nice analogue webcam effect for my scanner. It just goes to show that sometimes the simplest artistic or visual concepts are the most fun and cute.

Lots of love,


Diary: Spinach Dreams

Hi sunny pals! Here is my diary, this time mostly revolving around walnut cake (because Waitrose walnut cake is amazing). Please send me at least a thousand walnut cakes. I've also been watching a lot of anime lately and my new favourite is Toradora!

I've been eating a lot of pesto and spinach and I love them both a lot. Basically, I love eating leaves, and also cheese. I'm currently illustrating a thing for a future issue of Doll Hospital which I'm super excited about, and trying to use some of my more neglected art materials.

It's still pretty sunny a lot of the time right now and it makes me want to go camping or swimming, but it makes me want to sit inside and make a fort at the same time, so I guess I'm happy whatever. As long as I have spinach.

Scrapbook Of Treasures

I'm using up some paint lately in these blobs that I put together and press. I like the way they seep into each other and outwards. Glittery galaxies on paper.

I decided to dedicate my little red moleskine journal to a particular idea and vibe - one of encouragement and treasure. I decided to make it a scrapbook of tiny happinesses. So I can look inside and find the best things in there. I'm treating it as a precious object from now on, but I like that it started out as a normal journal. It gives it some pre-existing character that I think adds to this scrapbook concept.

I'm thinking of all the fun and cheery and inspiring things I can put in there. Promises and mood boards and pictures that I keep just for myself. Notes and pieces of glitter. Landscapes and dreams. Maybe I'll put some of these blobs in there too. A symbol of endlessly expanding colour.

It's going to be filled with all the most precious imagery and stuff that makes me feel most alive and capable. I might dedicate pages to my favourite musicians, or make monthly mood boards of good things, or tape in receipts for raspberries. Stuff like that.

Film Quest

I've started a film quest. A quest to watch films. Lots of them. For a while I've been keeping a long, growing list of films I'd like to see, and one day recently I got the film-watching urge, so I watched a few, and I remembered how transformative they can be. Not very long ago I watched Forrest Gump for the first time, and I was sitting on the floor with wide, glistening eyes, drinking in everything, and it was amazing. I might have done a big, shuddering cry. Maybe.

I love Forrest Gump.

Daniel Radcliffe in Horns.

I also really love analysing films and thinking about them contextually and looking at how they purposefully use colour and symbolism and all that kinda good stuff, and I'd like to finally get to some recommendations I've been sitting on for a while. So it's time for a quest.

Dead Leaves.

I think my favourite films and films I really enjoy watching can be grouped into some clear categories. My most keen interests are in these roughly grouped areas:

1. Weird. I like odd concepts and stuff like time-warping and dream worlds. Often spooky-creepy weird stuff too. Stuff like Heavenly Creatures, Daisies, The Happiness of the Katakuris, Uzumaki, Spirited Away, and The Blair Witch Project.

2. Funny/Silly. This often overlaps with the weird element. Stuff like Drop Dead Fred, and again The Happiness of the Katakuris.

3. Sentimental. I'm easily irritated by romance that feels forced or overly schmaltzy and without depth, but when it's my perfect type of sentimental, it is so perfect. Things like Forrest Gump, Onegin, and Cloud Atlas will destroy me (in a good way).

Practical Magic.

This post is illustrated by some stills from films I watched as I was deciding to do this quest. Practical Magic, because I love witchy narratives and aesthetics. Horns, because a film that includes Daniel Radcliffe growing horns out of his head seemed like a good idea. And Dead Leaves, an animated film about two people who wake up naked and without memories, because why not?

There are so many weird and/or wonderful films to see, and I can't wait to see 'em.

Magazine Collages: NICE TO MEET YOU

I tore the pieces of these collages instead of cutting them, because sometimes that rough edge creates this odd calm. The softness of the edge is nice. The fuzzy tapering of an image instead of clean lines. It's human. It lends itself nicely to a gentle collage aesthetic. And it just feels right to rip things apart with your hands sometimes.

Themes here are florals, meadows, shadows, and curls of hair. Lots of things I come back to a lot. Lots of things that bring a certain kind of peace to me.

Little torn up things are so representative of life, I think. We're all little torn up things. Rough-edged little multitudes.

Knife EP (& Musical Influences)

On 5th April I made a new 4-track EP available (you can get it here), and shooting the cover art was a blast, so I thought I'd upload some of the extra pictures. There's something very satisfying about putting a butter knife in a big blob of glitter paint - or is that just me?

As for the music, I've remembered how much I love experimental things and weird things and synthesizers. Beautiful, wonderful, creepy, full, symphonic synth sounds. I love synths so much. I love the way they allow me to make and arrange music without having to first deal with how to move my small hands the right way around an instrument. I love guitars too, but synths feel like home.

I was up late one night recently, and I remembered, all of a sudden, that Schnell Fenster existed. A sort of spin off from one of my favourite bands ever, Split Enz, Schnell Fenster are also super 'wacky' and silly and wonderful in their own way. It got me thinking and remembering that there are so many odd and wonderful bands I love so much. I was just sitting in bed being super glad that bands like Schnell Fenster and Masakosan and Picky Picnic exist. And I was so happy that whilst reviewing my EP I could hear some of that influence.

In closing, here is a list of some synth-focused and/or experimental and/or odd bands I love a lot:
P-Model, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Einstürzende Neubauten, Thomas Dolby, Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Scritti Politti, Fad Gadget, John Maus, Pet Shop Boys, Talk Talk, The Pop Group.


Here is, simply, a list of nice things.

★ the simplicity of parts of the body, lines and light, health and no bruises, dim sunlight, rising sun, dusk

★ softness and warmth, clear water, an old jumper, organised drawers, a mascot to cheer you on, watercolours, bright colours and glitter, torn pages, seeing flowers, breathing some fresh air, dimples, curling into a ball

★ bells and bluebells, the word "dappled", your fingertips, chilled milk, faded scars, emerging from a haze, meadows, friendly cows, hilly landscapes, sunset time lapses, tying a bow, buttoning and unbuttoning

★ collected thoughts, instant pictures, "cup" as a verb, baby trees, plaiting someone else's hair, shower gel smells, fresh bread, stew, plump bumblebees, little spoons

★ bones, bark, breath

Silly Journal Fun

I have been doing some silly journalling lately and it's making me feel so myself, like the scribbly imp I truly am. I wrote my name a lot, first of all, because I became really fascinated by my own handwriting for a while. I love this page full of my name because it reminds me of all the scribbling I used to do in the margins of my school books.

At the moment I am enjoying sticking a lot of things in and scribbling all over pages with thick, colourful markers.

These collaged pages are pretty representative of my interests, actually: Brian Molko, pigeons, and hot cross buns. My favourite things.

I think maybe the best thing about art school was that you had to journal and annotate and experiment so much that you were forced to do stuff faster than you could really think about it. Or at least, I was. I always miss that rapid build up of material and constant rearranging of images and ideas and inspirations when I'm not doing it. That's why it feels so great to just do stuff in a journal as fast as I can, and whatever I can think of.

I always end up loving some of the silliest stuff I do the best anyway. After all, I am a David Shrigley devotee.

Diary: Sunlight, Cat Heads, & Endless Hair

Sunlight has nestled into our lives like an intrusive house guest and I am reliving my teenage years by wearing blazers, squinting uncomfortably, and solemnly mourning winter. I've always been more at home with the colder months, mostly because the sunlight beating down on me on hot days actually hurts and is a unique and relentless discomfort. I'm not really a huge weather-whinger, but sometimes it feels like the sun is on a personal mission to fatigue me and make me constantly anxious that I'm going to get burned (for the record, I've never been sunburned and I'd like to maintain that lack of experience). I am pleased I can start wearing light jackets again, though, so there's that.

I dedicated a whole page of my diary to cat stick figures, because, well, a diary doesn't just have to be about writing down your day. Sometimes it just needs to be cat heads. I think that's a good motto for life, actually.

Sometimes it just needs to be cat heads.
- Lil Ashton (cat-themed philosopher), 2016

I also thought about my hair for a while, because it's getting so long now and I love imagining it at hip/knee/ankle length. I wonder how long it's actually possible for it to grow. Hair is amazing. It's incredible that it can grow so endlessly. I'd like to have all the hair, please.

As far as reading goes, I have been reading a bit of non-fiction this week and I'd really like to read lots more, because there's so much and it often feels like eating or absorbing a book to become filled with knowledge and ideas and thoughts, like a big bowl of education-o's (a great cereal that I just invented). I'm just really excited to learn about stuff! Learn me all of the things and grow me all of the hair.

Minimalist Collaging

I made some super simple magazine collages with very few actual components, and I guess it goes to show that you can make art with very little, and I like that. I like to think that even armed with just a twig and a regret, I could make some kind of an art.

So really I just have a little bit of text and a chopped up smile (and the single piece of colour is from a blobby painting I made). I love cutting up part of my collage materials as I scan. There's something very satisfying about seeing my collages disintegrate as I progress. It's like a cleansing.

I think part of this is that it creates texture and space, and it allows me to rearrange stuff and make it all weird and choppy and interesting, but also I just like to destroy glossy editorial/marketing images and repurpose them into something organic and roughened.

Curls & Gems

Here is my face again. I always like how my hair falls into curls when it meets a flat surface. It's pretty straight, with a gentle wave, but the scanner bed makes it loop and fold so nicely. Hair is so malleable and fluid. I love that about it. It's so mesmerising. I love watching the way everyone's hair moves.

Also a delight are these gem stickers, which I decided should be my scanner prop today. They're so shiny. Sadly they're not flat enough to keep their definition when scanned, but that gives them an ethereal look which I think suits them.

I am enjoying these spooky gems.