Studio TRIGGER illustrator Shigeto Koyama spoke to The Natural Aristocrat alongside fellow CCMS artist collaborator Tsuyoshi Kusano about Koyama’s NowHere NYC solo art exhibit.
The exhibit is presented as part of Sony Music Entertainment Japan’s new “Art x Entertainment” project and is titled SHIGETO KOYAMA CCMS experiment OBAKE.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT (NIR REGEV): One of the most impressive pieces I saw today at the exhibit was the Evangelion centerpiece. It’s hand drawn in yellow with the character doing an X with his arms on his chest and labeled C857 B1. Can you describe what went into that artwork?
SHIGETO KOYAMA: Usually in animation for Evangelion, the animators would have to fill out the detail, but there are parts where they can’t fill out the details.
So they pass it over to me to do ‘Genga’, which is kind of like key animation. Where I go in and not only do I do the key animation, but I also kind of draw over and fill in all the intricate, complicated details on the shot. Because sometimes that’s something like a normal animator wouldn’t do.
For that movie in particular, Evangelion, what’s unique is how detailed it is. So I had to supervise all the details to finish that action shot.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: Speaking of detailed work, I loved the artwork for New Type magazine you did of the girl on the right wall over there. Actually, I liked the original drawing more than the cel shade right next to it. I was wondering if you could elaborate on that piece?
SHIGETO KOYAMA: I think so too! With the original drawing, it’s better because human eyes can catch the small details. The original drawing has more depth than the film transparency, it’s more 3D, and human eyes can catch that.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: What’s the story behind the Dokuro, the skulls over there with the candles? Is there going to be a novelty, miniature version of that mass produced and sold in stores at some point? I saw the original over there is $1,300.
SHIGETO KOYAMA: The Dokuro skull actually shows up in ‘Obake-chan’. It’s a a skull with a candle on it. She uses it as a bedside light or a lamp. It follows the theme of Obake, like a ghost.
It was specially made because the way it lights up, what’s inside is specifically made for the product. So if you have something that’s mass produced or like a novelty size, it won’t have that.
But I would love to have it mass produced! Since it’s a special technique it would be really hard to do though.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: There’s a story on the right wall there about the Mobile Suit Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino approving your book cover photo of him only because it was done in orange and silver… But if it had been red, he wouldn’t have gone for it.
What made you choose his face as the striking photo of the cover rather than the Gundam artwork?
SHIGETO KOYAMA: When the publisher came to me to do the cover of the book, obviously they wanted Gundam, but for me, I wanted to do Tomino because to me, Tomino’s face is what was interesting.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: Can you describe the color technique that you have displayed on the right wall for Promare on the before and after televisions?
SHIGETO KOYAMA: At first when the film was done, they looked at it and then the director went in and said, ‘Where can we improve? Where can we add more color or where can we do something for that specific shot?’
That was my responsibility, I would go in and kind of look at it shot by shot. Animation is like connecting shots together and you’re kind of like, ‘Oh, what can we apply here? What colors can we change?’
So for example, if you watch the movie, there’s a character in black behind a dark background, the director will come in and go, ‘Okay, so what can we do here to improve it?’
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: A couple of years ago, Funimation threw a gallery type night event for Tokyo Ghoul in NYC with the anime visuals projected on the well and various artworks. It took place around the time of New York Comic Con.
Then this great concept disappeared for a few years. I was wondering how your partnership with Sony Music Entertainment Japan to bring this kind of ‘Art x Enterainment’ event back to New York City came about?
SHIGETO KOYAMA: It came about because Sony Music wanted to do it. (laughs) what’s different about this one is that I wanted to show more work in progress artwork and not the final piece.
I also wanted to show more of the independent stuff that I was working on. And usually in the case of other Japanese artists, they wouldn’t want to do that.
And that’s what I wanted to do, to show the work in progress. That’s why this event is called an experiment (SHIGETO KOYAMA CCMS experiment OBAKE).
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: Thanks Shigeto!
SHIGETO KOYAMA: Thank you!
– Be sure to read our our Studio TRIGGER interview on DARLING in the FRANXX!
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