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Sep 12

The Totoro Forest Project at the Cartoon Art Museum

The Cartoon Art Museum has a multi-faceted art exhibit coming up starting on September 20th. The show will actually appear in segments with the fist one opening in a week. So by December the show will encompass 1/3 to 1/2 of the museum. The art work was created as part of a fund raiser for the Totoro Forest Project.

Now you might be asking yourself, what’s a Totoro?

Totoro is a mystical forest creature that appeared in the delightful Japanese animated movie by Hayao Miyazaki, my neighbor Totoro. Here is a clip from the movie:

The Totoro Forest Project is an a group who have set out to protect the forest that inspired the movies setting and story. To help raise money many of the artist who have been inspired by the movie and it’s talented director donated original art for an auction that was held at PIXAR animation studios a week ago.

Sayama Forest is one of the most remarkable urban forests in Japan, located just outside of Tokyo. This forest is said to be the inspiration for legendary animated film My Neighbor Totoro. With Japan’s rapid urban development in the 1970s and 1980s, the forest has been diminished to a small fraction of its former self. In 1990, Miyazaki helped set up a national trust, Totoro no Furusato National Fund, to preserve the park and promote awareness of environmental issues.

It is estimated the PIXAR art auction raised about $201,236.00 to protect the forest. Much of the artwork will be on display for the museums show. You can see all of it at the official website, Totoro Forest Project.

I will be teaching the drop-in cartooning class at the Cartoon Art Museum on the same day the show officially opens, Sept 20, 2008 and I am trying to create an art project to tie into the exhibit. My idea is to take a painted blog and turn it into our own version of the Totoro. Here are some experiments I did below, inspired by a kids art lesson where they turned fingerprints into people.

What do you guys think?

As a bonus, here are some short animations made from the art that was part of the fund-raiser…

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