In these upcoming posts I will point out some particularly interesting parts of the film that tie into important aspects of Japanese aesthetics and techniques of art-makingOf all of the Japanese animation film studio, Studio Ghibli’s films, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is arguably the most rooted in Japan’s secular and religious history. Full of references to traditions in both artmaking and society, it not only celebrates Japanese religious and secular culture but also looks at and brings up important questions about certain less than perfect parts of that culture.
I also will address the broader philosophical ideas that shaped Japan’s culture, connecting these concepts from the film with quotes from the textbook Art Beyond the West by Michael Kampen O’Riley. The film Princess Kaguya is a visual masterpiece created appropriately in the popular Japanese anime style, an animation style which incorporates many historic Japanese illustration tendencies and traits of the past. This seemingly small yet incredibly effective choice for the movie, as well as the Studio's other films, makes it clear that this film’s intent is not just to look at and analyze the past but also to examine the present and elude to the future. While the movie may take on more complex meanings to those familiar with the artistic traditions and culture of Japan, Kaguya also lets those who have no such context appreciate and connect with the film and come away with new enlightening ideas about the world, life, and being human. I will begin by examining the Chigir-e torn paper artistic technique, then take a look at the Haboku (Broken Ink) painting technique, and finish with Pureland Buddhist imagery and philosophy. Together these different historic and cultural tie-ins will highlight some interesting aspects of the film, providing a fascinating context for The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.
For the first Silverfists blog entry, I wanted to give a bit more context for the company and its imagery.
During high school art class, I started sketching a logo that featured a smudged fist holding a pencil. Inspired by the way my hand would routinely be covered in graphite after a drawing session, I developed an image to suggest that creative abandon. At that point, I wasn’t sure what I would use it for – perhaps a symbol for a future design firm? Fast forward 20 years and the logo finds life as the central symbol for the Worshipful Company of the Silverfists.
This time the original logo is joined by two additional fists. They clutch a non-photo blue pencil, a micron pen, and a watercolor brush, suggesting sketching, inking, and coloring, steps in the illustration process. The multiple fists also point to the collective nature of the company – illustration isn’t an individual effort.
Our shield includes the previously mentioned graphite smudged fists trefoil, holding the illustration tools.
It is complete with primary colors, harkening to red, yellow, and blue as the building blocks of all color.
Our supporters include our cats, Momo (dexter supporter) and Mooch (sinister supporter – sorry, Mooch).
They are rearing in battle as is unfortunately too often the case. They stand on books, linking the silverfists with both illustrated story and sketchbooks.
The mantle that wreaths the helmet includes both a walnut and oak branch. They are local floral for us in Iowa, and both are sources of beautiful drawing inks via walnuts and oak galls.
The Helm is a rendition of Keith Kogane’s paladin helmet from the Netflix series Volton: Legendary Defender.
The crest perched on the helmet is an homage to Momo the flying lemur from the series Avatar: the Last Airbender (the namesake of the previously mentioned cat).
The Silverfists firmly agree that both Voltron and Avatar are classics of modern animation in both imagery and story - more on that in a future post. We anticipate both the silverfist helm and crest changing at points to reflect the wide variety of our cultural interests.
Finally, beneath the shield is the banner that contains the Silverfist motto.
Though I took Latin class in highschool, that was too long ago, so I am trusting google that this phrase roughly translates to proclaim...
Proudly We Bare Our Silver Fists!
Each of the Silverfists take turns sharing their thoughts about illustration found in graphic novels, games, album art, and more...