performing arts

Star Trek improv

I went to watch Phasers on Stun a Star Trek improv group in San Francisco and I absolutely loved it! The actors was so versatile, playing starship crewmembers, aliens, animals, and sometimes even playing two characters on stage at once.uss-golden-gate-clour-copyThis is the crew of the USS Golden Gate, exploring new sketched throughout the show, trying to capture the strange situations, wonderful conversations and fantastical characters. star-trek-little-copyMy very favourite drawings are these little simplified characters I made of all the actors...startrek-characters-color-copyTry and go and see them if you can, they have more shows this month. Live long and prosper!


I've been invited to join an exciting online design project organised by the Singapore based OuterEdit. Their website hasn't launched yet, but have a look at their facebook page. It's a chance for 5 designers/illustrators to work together to create various designs which will then be produced on clothes. There'll be several different sessions during the year, and I can't wait to take part. My 'collab' will be in September. I'll keep everyone updated so you can watch the designs online as they happen, and even influence the outcomes...

The OuterEdit film team came to London to interview all the UK-based designers for a short promotional piece, and I think mine went ok. We'll see, when it goes out online closer to the time. I was asked to draw a little logo during the filming, and this is what I came up with...

Here's a section of the info kit, with my bit and also my friend Kahori's:Their tagline is 'Together we make Awesome'. I love collaborations, so I couldn't agree more.

just a minute

I went to a recording of  'Just a Minute' (my favourite radio show ever) last week, at BBC Broadcasting House in Portland Place, London. We had to wait in line for a long time, but it was worth it. Nicholas Parsons was jovial and dressed smartly in his usual stripy blazer, the panel was almost ideal: Paul Merton was droll, Jenny Eclair sharp, Ross Noble a bit obscure and crazy, and Gyles Brandreth was totally OTT. I loved it!

I used to listen to the show with my dad, when I was a child in HK, when it was broadcast on the world service on sundays. When we moved to the UK when I was 12, dad and I went to a live recording with all the original panel: Kenneth Williams, Derek Nimmo, Clement Freud, and my favourite, Peter Jones.

It was so amazing to see another recording, so many years later. Nicholas Parsons is still the chairman, and has been for the whole of the 45 years it's been going! Amazing...

Stephan Said album artwork

In my last NY blog I mentioned that I went to a gig of a friend of a friend (Stephan Said) and did some sketches... well, my friend showed him the sketches, he (Stephan) loved them, and asked me if I could do some more for his new album. So I did.We discussed the album, I watched videos of his live performances, listened to the songs, and then worked out a concept for the album cover: I drew each of the main band members, and the image wrapped around the front and back of the CD packaging to show them all.I did extra sketches for the inside of the booklet, and also did most of the hand-lettering in the same loose pen style, for the titles and track names. I think it holds it all together well.

Here's an interview with Stephan on PRI, and you can listen to the single 'Take a Stand' on the Huffington Post, and of course you can find out all about Stephan on his own website.

The album was released yesterday, September 21st, International Day of Peace.

New York visit

Hello again, here are a few items of Mariko news from NY... I went to see my ceramic products on display in Tiffanys on Fifth Avenue. Hurrah! They’d sold out of the mugs, which was great to hear.

I painted another mural (an alien this time) for Sparkhouse Kids toystore in South Orange.

They're using the ‘Sparky’ character I designed as the store mascot and logo now too. You can even get mini stick-on tattoos with him on!

I went to Pennsylvania to visit some friends in the countryside,

...went to a cool gig of a guy called Stephan Said, who had all sorts of interesting-looking people accompanying him,

and finally, enjoyed wandering in the Union Square farmer's market, looking at pies. A wonderful end to a wonderful trip.