Love, thieves and fear make ghosts
In 2003 I completed my Masters of Multimedia, got my wisdom teeth removed and then packed up all my stuff moved out of my rental, broke up with my boyfriend (almost) and went to live in Japan, just in time for the Japanese Summer.
Why? All I know is I felt like a stranger in my home country. I was lost and I needed to get out. It still remains that best decision I ever made.
Summer in Japan is a time for ghost stories. It is said they are told on warm summer nights so that the goosebumps you feel on hearing them will cool you down. I immediately became fascinated by the ancient Japanese ghost stories, or kaidan.
For me something happened that first summer. A part of me awoke, that had lain dormant for a long time. I found stories within me that I finally wanted to tell, I found a sense of humour I wanted to share, I found a way of expressing these stories in the months and years that followed.
I started seeing ghosts, everywhere. On journeys in trains and on bike rides through my local town Chiba I would be see ideas and pictures everywhere I went, characters floated with me, my ears slowly started to understand the language and from it emerged a way of seeing and story telling that still feeds me today.
There are some things that cannot be explained and then there are some stories that tell you more and more on each retelling. These characters you see in my work are inspired from traditional ghost stories and folklore of Japan told through an Australian woman’s perspective.
I had gone to live in Japan for only a year but I would not return until over three years later and even then I was reluctant. When I did return, I found I had become a professional illustrator. My work has now been featured in newspapers, books, magazines and advertising, but I always come back to the ghosts, and Japan.
Over the years I’ve often been haunted by comments that my work would make great clothing designs. Chiba Ghosts is the realisation of that haunting.
You are all my little ghosties, and I thank you.
-Andrea Innocent 2018