About Asphyxia

Through my work, I hope you’ll find inspiration. I want to inspire you and your children to live the creative life YOU want, to embrace simple living and become more resilient.

I am the author of Future Girl (in Australia) and The Words in My Hands (in North America) which won the Readings Young Adult prize has been selected as Kirkus’ best YA fiction for 2021, as well as scooping up many other awards. The book is the art journal of Deaf sixteen-year-old Piper, an instructional call to arms, and an exploration of Deaf experience. I am also the author of the much loved junior fiction series, The Grimstones, I am an artist and writer who lives on a small farm near Byron Bay, Australia, where I combine food growing with art, creating a magical aesthetic with plants and natural elements. Since writing my first book at age twelve, I have also been a ballerina, a circus performer and puppeteer.

Deaf since the age of three, I learnt to sign when I was eighteen, which changed my life. I am now a Deaf activist, sharing details of Deaf experience and raising awareness of oppression of Deaf people and what we can do to change this. My free online Auslan course has over 15,000 students.

I invite you to step into another world, one filled with quirky characters and a touch of magic. You’ll find dolls and toys that have been loved and abandoned. I love to escape everyday life, and my imagination is filled with other worlds that I realise and share with you through paintings, dolls, assemblage pieces and stories. Dolls offer the opportunity for us to recreate ourselves and our lives in another dimension. I paint their portraits over and over, looking for the edgy, raw or introspective moment. 

I also like to paint pieces that represent those of us who are different. For me, it’s deafness. For some it’s another disability or an illness. My paintings validate the lives of people living with a disability, and remind us that we all need to make the effort to accommodate everyone.

I am passionate about DIY, and you’ll find protests to consumer culture in my work, as I believe this is the opposite of finding our inner creative pathway. I was born in Melbourne, which is famous for its wonderful graffiti, a source of inspiration for me. Graffiti is the authentic voice of protest, an image of beauty that is not about money. It’s proof of the DIY ethos of an individual who has not bowed down to the “experts”. I paint graffiti on reclaimed wood to bring inside, where the images can give us pause to think, and remind us how we really want to live.

I minimise waste and resource use by choosing simple, versatile tools and scavenged materials. The imperfections of reclaimed objects become a part of the finished work. I further age them with layers of paint, often slashing and sanding them back to reveal vulnerabilities below.

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