One of the perks of living in a big metropolis like Tokyo must be the wide and wonderful choice of art exhibitions. Over my 3 years of stay here I have been fortuitous enough to attend some truly breathtaking ones like Mucha and Pixar’s 20 Years of Animation, certainly not exhibitions that strut by your house everyday.
Kazuo Oga, as the exhibition poster succinctly states, is “The guy who painted Totoro’s forest.” – a formidable credit to any background artist’s name; only he is much, much more. Kazuo-san has been involved in most of Miyazaki’s best works like Kiki’s Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and my personal favourite Princess Mononoke. Now that’s only the short list. This exhibtion is the first ( and probably the only ) time that one can get to view Kazuo-san’s entire body of background illustration works, both Ghibli and personal, numbering about 600 pieces in all.
Kazuo-san’s background art is the soul to every successful Ghibli animation film. Words can do little justice to the sublime beauty of his work, and no, its not quite the same as looking at the pictures from any of his published artbooks – this one you really need to see the original works up-close to truly appreciate their technical and aesthestic brilliance, right down to every deftly applied brush-stroke.
Ghibli fan or not, if you are lucky enough to be in Japan right now, or are planning to come within the next 2 months, ( it runs till the end of September ), this is one event you simply cannot miss; it might very well turn out to be the best highlight of your entire Japan trip.
The prints you are looking at are some samples from the special collectible book released only for this exhibition, containing all of the 600 pieces on display. No photography is allowed within the artwork gallery section, so these prints are the next best thing I can show.
Availability of book – You can purchase a copy from Amazon Japan.
I also highly recommend the “making of” dvd/blu-ray documentary from Amazon Japan, which contains digital scans of all 600+ pieces of Kazuo Oga’s works shown at the exhibition – Read my review of the dvd on this post.
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