Riffing Miyazaki: an art exhibit

Riffing Miyazaki: an art exhibit

by Michelle "Ms. Geek" Klein-Hass

Internationally, Hayao Miyazaki has to be the most beloved animator, cartoonist and manga-ka who has ever emerged from Japan. Here in the United States of America, this is very clearly the case. Where a lot of people here might scratch their heads when looking at a picture of an Osamu Tezuka character like Astro Boy; show them Totoro and most will recognize the friendly beast with a knowing smile.

In some respects, the Miyazaki world is more traditionally Japanese than that of Tezuka's animated series and manga stories. Rooted in the landscapes of Japan even when venturing to the imaginary Europe of movies like Kiki's Delivery Service and Porco Rosso, there is a sensibility that is completely foreign to the West. Miyazaki has never been apologetic about this: he insisted throughout his career that his work was for Japanese audiences first, and any audiences he got outside of Japan was gravy.

Miyazaki has retired, but his influence is all over the place. When you look at the works of 22 young American artists, most of who are Asian-American, you can see that Miyazaki will be influential for decades to come. 

The huge crowd attracted to the event was a surprise and a delight to the organizers.

The huge crowd attracted to the event was a surprise and a delight to the organizers.

Erin Chow and her Totoro series of paintings.

Erin Chow and her Totoro series of paintings.

Kiki and Jiji in flight...

Kiki and Jiji in flight...

A very traditional looking Haku the River Dragon

A very traditional looking Haku the River Dragon

A Miyazaki mashup...

A Miyazaki mashup...

Soot spots before your eyes.

Soot spots before your eyes.

Totoro time...

Totoro time...

It wasn't just drawings and paintings, painstaking miniatures were also on display.

It wasn't just drawings and paintings, painstaking miniatures were also on display.

Including this one of Mononoke Hime and the Wolf Goddess.

Including this one of Mononoke Hime and the Wolf Goddess.

And this work of art was by Nature Herself. The art exhibit was put on to benefit Welcome Home Sanctuary, an animal rescue.

And this work of art was by Nature Herself. The art exhibit was put on to benefit Welcome Home Sanctuary, an animal rescue.

All photos (c)2016 Michelle Klein-Hass, All Rights Reserved.