A tale of six degrees of separation for you. Before I get to that however, why don't I let you know about a sweet (free) exhibition happening at Tokyo's MOT gallery.
One of my favorite Japanese Comic artists, Takehiko Inoue - writer and artist on Slam Dunk, Real and Vagabond is having another exhibition (I missed his 2009 one - a shame because it was on a much grander scale than this one). And, as luck should have it, I have already been to scope it out for anyone able to get down and take a peek. I am happy to report it is fantastic.
Here is a photo of MANY that I was able to take before security got to me and asked me to put my camera away. How many snaps did I manage? I got a shot of every single peice in there. So much for security huh? For those who know, the above art is based on his long running series about historical figure Miyamoto Musashi. A Ronin Samurai who... well, kicks peoples asses. It's an absolutely gorgeously made series and the art is some of the best out there.This picture (inks on paper - just as the comic pages are done) - is HUGE. standing next to it, my head barely reached the sword he holds. An exclusive video of the process is shown at the museum. How long did this take? Two days. Two days dammit. This is a guy I want to take a few lessons from. In being a fan, I guess in a way I am getting some lessons.
The exhibition shows cases his ink brushwork and story telling - the exhibition itself a story about the Musashi character. I think. It could almost be about the artist himself, but that is one of his many story telling skills. Inoue knows how to tell a great tale and we can see those skills on display even here. Inoue worked on a popular basketball comic book before Vagabond which is where I come back to my six degrees of separation story.
About a year or two ago now I was lucky enough to work on a DVD filled with street ball events - held in a way - most awesomely akin to a street fighter tourney in random places about Tokyo. I did the motion graphics on two of the seasons' DVDs which came up quite well I think.
It so turns out that one of the players on the 'Legend' basketball DVDs was a school buddy of Inoue and was actually the inspiration for the main character in his 'Slam Dunk' comic series.
I am constantly amazed at just how small a world we live in. Could it be that creative circles are even smaller? We will see as going freelance has seen me stepping out more and more into the wilds.
For anyone in Tokyo please do take the time to go and see the exhibition, Its fantastic and even more inspiring when you see a comic artist being treated like a rock star. I was so impressed I walked away with a 2DVD boxed set of footage of him planning, sketching and inking comic pages. Hours of it. And I've already seen the DVD. THAT is just how captivating his art form is.
For those not in Tokyo, check the web. Google and youtube. Ask you local comics guy about him. You will be glad that you did.