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Temples, immaculate streets and heated toilet seats

My name is Rory McCann and I’m an inspired life Ambassador. I work as a wildlife artist all around the world. I love being creative and am hugely inspired by the natural world. Earlier this month, I spent 2 weeks out in Tokyo, Japan, working on a massive mural project of a marine scene.

Japan is a fascinating country – with beautiful forest shrines and temples, immaculate streets and heated toilet seats. Its countryside is stunning, with bamboo groves, titanic waterfalls and crisp-white mountain peaks. I saw too little of the countryside to satisfy my curiosity, as most of my time was spent painting!

The mural project was carried out in the Kindergarten playground area of the Tokyo International School of the Sacred Heart – an all-girl school. During the 2 weeks that I was painting the mural, the kindergarten children would seat themselves in front of the mural at playtime and bombard me with questions. I must have answered well over a thousand questions during that fortnight, most of them prefixed by ‘why’. ‘Why are you painting’ was the most commonly asked question. ‘Because I love it’ was usually my answer! The children referred to me as ‘Mr Rory’ and I became very fond of them all!

The project consisted of painting a mural of an underwater scene, roughly 14m in length and 4m in height. Some days had me precariously balanced in top of a ladder, straining to reach the uppermost parts on the mural, while the wind (not my own) was throwing me around like a rag doll. Amazingly I survived the ordeal and the mural turned out pretty well! Aside from being a ‘pretty picture’, the mural was a major talking point within the school and, I hope, acted as a source of inspiration for the students – showing them the great wonders of the natural world.

I loved working in Japan, with all its quirks and wonderful people. I will jump at any opportunity to return!

If you feel inspired to become an artist, be it a mural painter, a graffiti artist or an animator, my 3 top tips would be:

  1. 1 - Draw something everyday – even if it’s just a quick doodle!
  2. 2 - Try new things regularly – new mediums, new themes, new styles
  3. 3 - Get your work out there, on websites, facebook and in exhibitions – see what people think and take their advice on board!


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