JAPAN365: A New Art Book from Nomadic Houstonian J Muzacz

Houston native J Muzacz has surfed some couches, painted some murals and survived a natural disaster. Now, he's about to publish himself a real wingdinger of an art book.

For the past year-plus, the 26-year-old voyeur has been working as an English instructor in the small Japanese town of Tango-Hanto, Kyoto prefecture. When he's not posting up in the classroom, he's been working on a project that has "consumed every free moment of my life and then some," he writes from Japan.

The result is JAPAN365. Due for an early 2012 publication date, the bilingual art book will chronicle J Muzacz's daily drawings of scenes that he's seen while living abroad. Monies raised from the tome will be donated to the Japanese relief fund for the disasters -- namely, the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami -- that the country has experienced this year.

"It's not really my drawings anymore, but drawings coming through me," says the University of Texas at Austin graduate, who knows more about the inner workings of the whole couch-surfing phenomenon than most. "Like the old free jazzists claimed to be vehicles of the music, now I often feel just like a discarded piece of metal with ball pen ink strangely spouting from my rusty fingertips."

The artist explains that the drawings, which he posts on his website, have been done with ball pen on paper and that subject matter is normally based from "an actual image, reference from real life or a photograph." Some of the drawings are graffiti- and mural-style, a technique that he showcased on the walls of numerous Austin businesses.

One of his latest creations was made last weekend while the artist listened to psychedelic ensembles ROVO and L.E.D during Asagiri Jam, "a wonderful eclectic outdoor camp-out music festival in Shizuoka prefecture at the foot of Mt. Fuji," says J Muzacz. (Sounds like such a hard life, eh?)

"I like how they turned out, sort of resulted in a less defined hectic mass, as opposed to recent drawings from old photographs that tend to force me to new levels of perfectionism as I try to refine the style."

By the way, the artist/teacher/world traveler is planning to come back to Houston next year but not before struggling to travel the world some more.

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