ancco : “Jello Ghost,” a glass work, and her first exhibition in 4 years


Photography : Koichi Takagi

Translation : Jonathan Ealey

Behind the scene___11.20.2020

A solo exhibition by painter/illustrator ancco, “MILK LAND,” which ran through November 7 at CALM & PUNK GALLERY, was an intersection of the world of online drawing boards, where she found the joy of creating, and her roots growing up on a dairy farm, with she described as having “the richness of nature at my side, and a parallel world of ruminating imagination.” I asked her about the backstory of this exhibition, which also made an attempt at new media such as ceramics and 3D sculpture.

How did you come to hold this exhibition, including the new 3D works?

I had been working on “Milk Land,” the collection of works shown in this exhibition, for about a year, but it took me a long time to make the lithographs and do color adjustments, so I had the thought that if I wanted to follow through with this, I needed a place lined up to display them. I was invited by Calm & Punk Gallery, and since it was my first solo exhibition in four years, I thought it would be great if they would challenge me with something more than just a book, so I decided to try my hand at ceramics, 3D modeling, pastels, and other materials that I had been wanting to try. I needed to try something new.

The knit figures were kind of like the Sylvanian Families toys, I did the 3D modeling myself, and then ask an artisan to manufacture them. I found a knit shark and octopus magnet I bought at a time-worn aquarium that seemed stuck in the 80s, and when I looked at the back of the magnet, it had the artisan’s name on it. I think they have been doing this for quite some time.

Static electricity gives the fabric its fuzzy texture before being applied.

My only experience with ceramics is making a pot once when I was in elementary school. But the mechanism is similar to 3D modeling, the software used in 3D modeling deforms a sphere to make a butterfly or a chair, and this feeling and technique has been used in ceramics as well. However, glazing and other coloring techniques were difficult. It was hard to create strange textures that looked like they were melting instead of simply applying color. …… The teacher of the pottery class that supported me was a passionate and kind person who helped me get to this point.

Unglazed pieces getting baked 3 times.

As you can said, you are aware of your roots growing up on a dairy farm, which is evident in the exhibition space. Did the grass and milk cans come from your home?

This is not my parents’ grass. When I talked to my father about putting grass on it, he advised me that, “the grass we use now is yellow-brown. You should buy some more expensive and better green grass, which would look better,” So I bought some horse feed online and it arrived in a day. The milk cans were given to me from a dairy friend of my father’s who was using them. Each one has a connection to me, and it has become a space that is my starting point. I’m going to give the grasses to my parents after the exhibition.

Some of ancco’s paintings have demons in them, torn fabric, and parts of the room are broken. Why do you plant disturbing elements despite the color palette?

I think it’s the desire to break the screen, to break up a closed space. If it’s too pretty, it’s not interesting, so I want to create some kind of incident or happening in the space. Also, when you hear the word “barn,” you might think of a tranquil farm, but in reality, my parents’ barn was built by my grandfather, so there are cobwebs on the ceiling and broken trees in some places. I think those things are also factors that influenced me.

Tell us about your glass piece “Jello Ghost,” which you are selling at SUB-ROSA.

When I was asked to make glass pieces, the first thing that came to mind was something different from the dragon pieces, which has a different purpose. So the silhouette started simply, with a vase as the base.

This glass material looks like a jelly, and since some of the pieces in this show have a gummy or jelly-like expression, I decided to make it one of those “jelly ghosts”. It looks delicious, doesn’t it? But Kakizaki-san (*glassmaker, also in charge of the work with Okubo) had a tough time. If you use clay for pottery, you can wet it and save it, but this is glass, so it’s a one-shot deal. And because I had to revise quite a few details each time, I wonder how many times I had to have it redone. ……

I was very particular about the color and intensity of the color, and the gradation of the “Tinted-glass” piece, and in the case of the face, I had to fine-tune the distance between the nose and the mouth. I spent a lot of time on the hips and form-filling part of the work. I feel like this exhibit worked in terms of the “end point” of this piece. I have so many prototypes at home, I really want to show you the whole process (laughs).

Due to the limited nature of “Jello Ghost”, it will be limited to 20 pieces and will go on a first-come, first-served basis. To get them, please visit the SUB-ROSA Store.


With illustration at the core, ancco has worked as an artist, editorial designer, and graphic designer for both local and international brands since 2011.

Jello Ghost (Tinted-glass)


Based on the sketches made by ancco, Hitoshi Kakizaki, a craftsman at glass studio 45 Studio, created each piece by hand using ...


Jello Ghost (White)


Based on the sketches made by ancco, Hitoshi Kakizaki, a craftsman at glass studio 45 Studio, created each piece by hand using ...