While working on this project I’ve been reading this incredibly inspiring book on ancient Japanese manga dating back to the 17th century. In the book it’s said that manga imagery was mostly categorized into “satirizing manners, customs & situations. Satirizing society and politics and satirizing human nature.
It amazed me that this use of humour mixed with surreal imagery dated so far back and clearly had such a impact on how manga, cartoons and animation would develop even 100s of years later in the animation that would inspire me growing up. It also got me thinking about this connection that humour seemed to have with surrealism. Both rely on setting up an expectation of something ordinary, then divert it entirely in a way you never expected. The way the manga illustrations could go from bizarre and comical to exploring the inner demons of the human psyche is something I always loved. As I feel humour keeps both the artist and viewer grounded and level with each other, allowing it to feel more human and relatable when the artwork shifts into the heavier subjects. It’s inspiring to know something that didn’t always take itself so seriously was still respected as a art from. The artwork in the book seems to be pushing the boundaries of the artists imaginations as if they were testing to see if there was any limit to how creative they could be.