by Marlan M., staff editor, Inside AX – Anime Expo
Inside AX: What inspired you to start the Gallery of Fantastic Art (GoFA)?
Michitoshi Isono: GoFA actually started as an art show at museums and department stores. It was limited to only major artists and characters. I wanted to introduce some young guys, some of my favorite artists, so I thought it better to start my own art gallery instead of doing a show for others.
IAX: Are there any artists you’d like to feature that you haven’t had a chance to feature yet?
MI: GoFA has featured many artists as well as their artistic processes over the last 16 years from both manga and animation. We’ve shown how manga is made and how anime is made, but not much of the final product. For our fifteenth anniversary, I thought that we should start showing some final products, like some movies or animation. So I spoke to [manga artist] Kei Toume, and she has four paintings based on the four seasons. These paintings inspired me, so I decided to make a stop-motion animated film, Yuki Usagi, based on those paintings. I then met with the artist SONIC, who is also a big fan of Kei Toume, so he helped with the stop-motion doll animation for the film.
IAX: Has it been difficult going from showcasing art to creating it?
MI: The hardest part is time management. I’m used to managing other artists’ time and process, but this is the first time for me to be directing a film and managing an entire project. Managing myself is the hardest part. Also, when filming stop-motion, it can take a day of work to get seven seconds of film. It just takes a lot of time, and its hard to see the goal. I do feel great, however, and put a lot of effort into this project.
IAX: Knowing how difficult it can be to film stop-motion animation, are there any other creative areas you’d like to expand into?
MI: GoFA is getting into fashion and we’ve also produced a bicycle and other items. Right now, GoFA holds a fashion show at our gallery. All of the fashion we produce is created by manga creators and animators and are designed to be worn by everybody. At least that’s what I hope for! We’re also thinking about doing galleries that aren’t just pictures hanging on a wall, but galleries that an audience can experience – not just see.
IAX: Do you have any plans of expanding GoFA outside of Japan?
MI: Actually, we’ve been asked to open galleries in the U.S. and Europe. And, you know, if someone is really interested in collaborating with GoFA, we are open to that.
For more info on Yuki Usagi and GoFA, you can check out our first look at the project here.