Friday, December 01, 2006

Mighty Inspiration : Narrative and Street Performers

Point Number One: In conversation with Tessar, we got to talking about how after a certain point, it almost becomes counter-productive to look at the work of others in your field. If all we do is look at the work of other illustrators, then we can't help but regurgitate the same old tired ideas.

Point Number Two: For the folks who stick around long enough, the fourth year in illustration offers a class that is focused on Narrative. Its a chance to let students stretch their story-telling muscles. I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying it! You could say that I really feel at home with that class.

So how do these two points tie in? Today's post is about story-tellers who work almost completely outside of the realm of typical illustration.Maybe you can take a bit of inspiration
from these fine folks?

The kindly old man at the top of the post is Tamaeharu Nagata one of the few remaining Kamishibai-shi, or traveling story tellers in Japan. Basically he cruises around on a bike with his stage and props and performs for a couple of kids, narrating the story as he presents the images in order. He doesn't paint the images, instead he has a massive collection of illustrated manuals, the art in them is deliciously good/bad. The ultra-awesome PingMag has a great article on Mr. Nagata and this unique form of story telling.

Check it out here.

I started thinking about how unfortunate it is that Kamishibai-shi has now become outdated, and if there are any new ways to bring it back. The best solution can probably found in Royal de Luxe and their massive performance 'The Sultan's Elephant'.

It's a gigantic puppet stomping around jolly-old-England. I love it. YouTube has a clip of it here, and if that wasn't crazy enough, look whats going on in Iceland. HELICOPTERS.

So yeah, thats the kind of thing you fine folks can expect from me, inspiration that isn't strictly illustration related. Hopefully these posts will stir something in you to go beyond what we've been taught, I think theres a lot more to us then pictures on paper.

Cheers and Rocket Ships,
Rey O

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