article & photos by Meaghan Alfonso for ArtsEarth
One of Japan’s greatest animation directors, Hayao Miyazaki, has been an international inspiration. As Co-Founder of Studio Ghibli, his career has spanned for over five decades as this masterful storyteller. From “Kiki’s Delivery Service” to “Spirited Away”, his movies have touched so many hearts. He is what they call, the “Japanese” Walt Disney.
I have visited the Spoke Art Gallery in San Francisco a few times, because my younger sister’s dorm was right next to it. When I found out that Spoke Art is having a tribute to Miyazaki and his films, I was super excited! Might I say though, I did not expect what was going to happen the day of opening reception. Underestimating how many fans would be there, let alone on a Saturday night, I wasn’t able to see the show. The number of people lined up to see the artwork was mind-blowing. The line literally went around the entire block! It would have taken hours until I would finally get to see the show. So sadly, I had to wait until Tuesday when they were opened up again. But, it was well worth the wait!
Spoke Art has over fifty artists from around the world that are contributing to the show. They had paintings, sculptures, and prints of each artist’ interpretation of Miyazaki’s stories and characters. I loved all of the different styles that contributed, especially the adorable vinyl toys by Zard Apuya. Every single “munny” doll was a tribute to one of Miyazaki’s films. The collection of all the Miyazaki inspired Japanese food that he placed in this “bento box” was so creative! The little sculptures were simple, yet together they all looked deliciously good enough to eat. My favorite: The “Miya-zuki Buns & Matcha Shaved Iced”. I now wish they had a restaurant that sold these cleverly named treats. Another exciting part of the show was the Susuwatari dressed walls, which ran across the door hinges and corners.
I don’t want to spoil the rest of the show for you, but the event is a definite must see! All of the pieces will definitely make you smile and feel nostalgic. There was a great amount of talent on the walls, and leaving the gallery made me want to watch all of Miyazaki’s films.