'My Neighbor Hayao' Is Filled With Whimsical Art Inspired By The Works Of Hayao Miyazaki

In 2017, Spoke Art Gallery held its first annual Hayao Miyazaki-inspired art exhibit in San Francisco, featuring art from over 250 artists who celebrated the legendary filmmaker with creations that brought guests into the whimsical worlds created by Miyazaki. Now, Spoke Art has collected the Miyazaki-inspired art into a book, My Neighbor Hayao: Art Inspired by the Films of Miyazaki, which goes on sale today.

In the introduction for My Neighbor Hayao, curator Ken Harmon Hashimoto cites a scene from Kiki's Delivery Service in which woodland artist Ursula gives a distraught Kiki some words of wisdom: "I realized that my art up to then was a copy of someone else, things I had seen somewhere. I decided I had to discover my own style."

Though the 250-plus artists who contributed to My Neighbor Hayao painted familiar scenes and characters from the filmmakers' beloved Studio Ghibli films, they all follow Ursula's advice — putting their own personal artistic spin on the worlds created by Miyazaki. The impressive hardcover book features original paintings, embroidery, sculptures, and limited edition prints first exhibited at Spoke during three highly popular group exhibitions held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City.

Miyazaki has a singular art style that he developed as a TV animator and filmmaker starting off in the 1980s, and which has informally established the unique Studio Ghibli "house style." It's an art style that helps distinguish itself from other anime, but in turn can make any attempts to imitate it look like empty copies. But the art featured in My Neighbor Hayao never look like carbon copies of Miyazaki's art style, with many artists putting their own interpretations on the beloved characters. We can exclusively share an art piece, titled "My Neighbor Totoro," by George Townley, which is a sweet, dreamy riff on Miyazaki's 1988 classic.

The curator and owner of Spoke, Ken Harman, wrote the preface for the book and the introduction comes from Jorge R. Gutiérrez.

Curated by Spoke Art Gallery, My Neighbor Hayao features work from more than 250 artists in celebration of the acclaimed Japanese filmmaker and animator. Showcasing a diverse array of original painting, embroidery, sculpture, and limited edition prints that were first exhibited at Spoke during three highly popular group exhibitions attracting more than 10,000 attendees, this beautiful book grants fans of Miyazaki another creative avenue to explore his inspired worlds through interpretations of characters and themes found in iconic films including My Neighbor Totoro, Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke.

My Neighbor Hayao is on sale now.