‘Akira’ Creator Katsuhiro Otomo Designs Gigantic Ceramic Mural
As one of many thousands of people who keep a vigilant eye out for anything Katushiro Otomo -- author of the seminal Akira, Domu, Memories, and more -- does, it's always interesting to see what projects he does choose to become involved in. I loved the collaborative illustration catalogues he did with Japanese fashion house Comme des Garcons and British comic publishers, Nobrow, although that was mostly with the use of older images, and then there was that amazing Astro Boy cover he produced for an anime magazine, but Otomo is generally known for carefully selecting his work, often with gaps of years before something news of something new crops up.
And it looks like he's decided to go big for his next piece: 258 square feet big. Due for completion in March 2015, Otomo's currently working on a vast, as of yet untitled, ceramic mural that will be displayed in the lobby of the terminal building of Japan's Sendai Airport. While Otomo has designed and illustrated the artwork seen here, it is being converted into an actual ceramic relief by a team of 10 people at Creare Studios. The illustration combines Otomo's stylization with elements of traditional Japanese art: those rolling waves are especially impressive. I like how it's a little quirky, too- not something you'd normally associate with Otomo; the central image of the rotund, curiously coiffed, be-spectacled boy riding atop a cybernetic fish instantly reminded me of Tetsuo riding his motorbike, arms similarly determinedly folded.
The artwork was proposed by the Japan Traffic Culture Association, who have a remit to install public art works in transport stations and airports throughout Japan, and was funded by the Japan Lottery Association. It will be unveiled upon completion in March, although there's no indication yet if it will be a temporary or permanent feature.