Ladies and gentlemen we present you: “The Totoro Forest Project”. A little idea that turned into a major undertaking. What is it exactly? Totoro Forest Project is an international charity effort to preserve Sayama Forest, also known as Totoro Forest. This endangered sanctuary on the outskirts of Tokyo is where director Hayao Miyazaki got the inspiration for his much loved character “Totoro.” Over 200 top international artists from animation, illustration, and comics are donating artwork especially created for this cause. On september 6th 2008 Pixar Animation Studios will be hosting an art auction event featuring all these fantastic pieces of art. All the proceeds of this fundraiser will benefit the Totoro Forest Foundation. On top of the auction we are producing a wonderful art book of the auction pieces and we’ve also managed to secure an exhibition at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco.
Miyazaki San has been (and continues to be) such an inspiration to so many of us — a huge influence on me that’s for sure — so we thought it’d be nice to give something back for all the years of wonder and magic he’s given us. That’s how we came to this project. The website just launched (thanks to talented Erena Shimoda) and it’s already filled with amazing art! We will keep on updating it in the next few weeks till we have everyone’s totoro inspired artwork on it. You’ll find all sorts of information there.
Lastly I would like to give a major pat on the shoulder to my great friend Dice Tsutsumi, he’s really been the architect of this amazing effort, together with Yukino Pang, they’ve been burning the midnight oil to make this upcoming benefit a reality. This is an idea Dice and I thought of on our commute to work almost a year ago, we could’ve only dreamed then of the event this is turning into. There’s still a lot of work ahead but we are very proud we finally get to share some of this news with you all. Many thanks also to the other committee members and other fantastic friend Ronnie del Carmen. And a huge thanks to all the artists who donated their work! You absolutely rock! This is an amazing, never before seen together kind of collection. It gives a heartwarming sense of community to see you all answering the call the way you did to help save Totoro Forest. We hope all of you out there will want to participate in supporting this cause with us.