A Tree in My Garden
When I create a drawing , I don’t like to know where I’m going, I prefer to be surprised by chance, with the shapes and colours that i juxtapose that will create characters, settings and stories almost by themselves. I cut, I paste, I daub, trying with my pictures to carry people away, children as well as grown-ups! Through this picture, I tried to symbolize both the power of nature and imagination.
I’ve made this very huge tree in this very little perched garden to show that nature is much more powerful than anything else and also to say that it’s very important to create and develop one’s own poetic and dream world, because it’s one of the only thinks we have to escape from our material world often so narrow and restrictive. Children know it, but adults often forget.
With My Neighbor Totoro, Hayao Miyazaki succeeded in showing that nature is the main inspiration for the imagination and that they are both the greatest creative forces of the world. I’d like to thank him for his incredible masterpiece.
Totoro Forest Project
The Totoro Forest Project is a fundraising exhibition/auction that supports the non-profit organization ”Totoro No Furusato National Fund”, which has the Oscar winning filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki as one of its biggest supporters. The event will feature more than 200 pieces of original art, especially created by internationally acclaimed artists in the fields of animation, comic books, illustration, and fine arts.
Anime is one of the most influential forms of contemporary art. Among Japanese masters of animation, Hayao Miyazaki is undoubtedly the most popular and respected. The storytelling, visual approach and philosophical depth of his movies had a massive impact in the world of contemporary filmmaking.
Many prominent animation and illustration artists in the world proudly recognize Miyazaki’s strong influence and inspiration in their own work. This project gives the artists involved the opportunity to voice their appreciation for master filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki and for the inspiration he has given them through the years.
Hayao Miyazaki has been actively supporting the effort to preserve Sayama Forest for more than ten years. This 8750 acre park in the outskirts of Tokyo is also known as Totoro Forest. It’s in these woods in fact that the concept for the film ”My Neighbor Totoro” was born.
In the past few decades, the forest has been subject to urban development. Only continued support to the Totoro Trust Fund can help preserve this much needed island of green in the midst of Tokyo‘s urban sprawl. We intend to donate the entire proceeds of the project to this worthy cause.
This event can also be a symbolic gesture, sending a strong message to the world in terms of environmental and social awareness. Imagine artists from all over the world coming together to donate artwork to help conserve a forest they have never seen.
Daisuke Dice Tsutsumi
Born and raised in Tokyo, Dice moved to NY in 1993. After graduating from the School of Visual Arts in 1998, he started his career as a staff illustrator for Lucas Learning Ltd. in San Francisco. Two years later, Dice moved back to NY to work for Blue Sky Studios as a visual development / color key artist on their blockbuster film projects such as Ice Age, Robots and upcoming Horton Hears A Who. After his long adventurous 7 year run at Blue Sky Studios, he has recently accepted the new challenge to join as an art director at Pixar Animation Studios.
Totoro of Their Own — Our next generation may face this situation where kids have to build their own TotoRobot to protect the ever diminishing life of earth. It may not be the same Totoro we used to see in our childhood, but as long as there is hope, we will always find a way to find him because Totoro lives in all of our hearts.
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
I started my career as a staff illustrator for Lucas Learning Ltd. in San Francisco. Two years later, I moved back to NY to work for Blue Sky Studios as a visual development/color key artist on their blockbuster film projects such as Ice Age, Robots and Horton Hears A Who. In 2007, after my long adventurous seven-year run at Blue Sky Studios, I was invited to join Pixar Animation Studios as an art director.
Why did you start the ”Totoro Forest Project”?
I saw the news about the problems that Totoro no Furusato Fund was having last year. I felt like we had to do something. There are so many people in the animation / comic / illustration field whose work was heavily influenced and inspired by Miyazaki’s work and I literally felt we owed him for all the inspiration. I happened to be going back to Japan around that time and planning to visit Studio Ghibli and I mentioned the idea to them to get their blessing.
As soon as I came back to the States, I brought my friends Enrico Casarosa, Ronnie del Carmen and Yukino Pang into this mix to organize this charity auction.
What kind of a feedback did you received in Japan, during and after the project
I have to say it was a minimal publicity in Japan at first. Even though it was about this forest in their very country, we couldn’t get the media in Japan to be excited about this event as much as the media outside of Japan.
It was only after the successful event that generated a good amount of funds that Japanese media decided to publicize this event.
Of course, people who found out about this project were so impressed though.
How can you describe your experience, your feelings after the project was over?
We raised roughly about $200,000, a sum that went beyond our expectations. Still, we are more impressed that the buzz around this project was HUGE all over the world. It was our mission to raise awareness upon the Sayama Forest in Japan, and also upon the fact that the artists can do so much when they are united through inspiration. The response was really overwhelming. There are so many people from artists to fans, from students to school teachers, from environment activists to art collectors….from all over the world. I believe it is one of those things that everyone always wanted to be a part of or thought about initiating. It would be our dream if this inspires others to do their own good cause project like this.
What will happen next? Will you continue the ”Totoro Forest Project”?
Regardless how much we care about the fate of Totoro Forest, I personally feel there are tons of other things that we, as artists, can bring to the world. Maybe there’s something we can do to help realize something similar, perhaps better and bigger.
I certainly hope we can use this precious experience setting up this project for something down the road in the future.