The 41st Tokyoten art festival was held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in Ueno, Tokyo from Sept. 9–16.
At this year’s Tokyoten there was the newly introduced Comic Art category, and Tokyo Otaku Mode Special Creators Yoshiro Ambe, Siina Motiduki, yuki*Mami, K.Kanehira, Fuzichoco, Foo Midori, and katofumitaka exhibited their works.
Tokyoten, first held in 1975, is a yearly fine arts festival, with previous exhibitors including Osamu Tezuka, Tetsuya Chiba, and Sato Sanpei. This year’s event featured four categories of exhibited works: Fine Art, 3D which included figures, Picture Books, and Comic Art/Illustration.
The exhibitors in the Comic Art category included both invited artists and general participants, with the invited artists being K.Kanehira, Fuzichoco, and Foo Midori. Twenty nine people were also chosen to exhibit as general participants, which brought the total exhibitors to 32.
There was a vast amount of illustrators each with different techniques and themes exhibited in the newly formed Comic Art category at this year’s Tokyoten. This year also saw the revival after two years of the project “Internet & Modern Day Artist Exhibit” in this category in which internationally renowned artists Osamu Tezuka and Tetsuya Chiba originally exhibited.
Excluding invited artists, the 29 general exhibitors in the category were all chosen through a public vote, and each artist had one or two works on display. Even including those recommended or referred, the category was quite unprecedented in that works by so many artists were collected, and at the same time as having the feeling that expectations are huge for further developments in this category from hereon, we also got the feeling that there is hidden demand for the category as a “vessel” for artists.
The works displayed this year ran the gamut from elaborate illustrations packed with detail that use the advantages of digital art, to vivid, colorful works on large fabric canvases, to illustrations with story-like qualities that mixed fantasy and reality—it was an exhibit that gave a feeling of the depth and vast amounts of expression inherent to digital art through a lineup of one plentifully unique work after another.
In addition, there are plans to continuously grow the Comic Art category in years to come as one of Tokyoten’s four main categories, so make sure to keep Tokyoten on your radar from hereon.
Project Outline (Excerpt)
The “Internet & Modern Day Artist Exhibit,” related to the establishment of the Comic Art category, held last year and the year before received favorable praise from all over.
Regarding the fine arts festival Tokyoten, it originally had a category for manga and anime, but this was buried in the trends of the time. Nevertheless, the illustration environment with regard to manga and comics changed completely with the diffusion of the internet and especially with the foundation of sites that anyone can participate on, and this outlook has spread large with a focus on young creators.
Previously, comic-style art was resigned to a branch that represented the word “otaku,” but nowadays it has become largely familiar to young people, having spread into the mainstream culture that represents Japan. It is now commonplace and is used, for example, in the advertising effort labeled “Cool Japan” by the Japanese government.
There are three reasons for the establishment of the Comic Art category in the fine arts festival Tokyoten.
① Mission to constantly introduce new art (there is plenty of fine art all over the world.)
② Anti-authoritarianism (with manga dispersed through the general public, inevitably there is an inherent trend toward anti-authoritarianism)
③ Revival of a category that originally existed (previous exhibitors include Osamu Tezuka, Sato Sanpei, and Tetsuya Chiba)
Tokyoten has a unique existence as a public organization and will be pushed forward from hereon by taking a good look at the trends and becoming an exhibit that extends its wings and is always fresh and exciting.
Furthermore, the fine arts festival Tokyoten will be incorporating an artist judging system. Motivated artists, please energetically sign up for this category beginning next year.
(Please obtain a written exhibitor request available to either download from the Tokyoten homepage or pick up from the executive office. Results will be posted in the days following an impartial deliberation held by the managing committee.)
Tokyoten isn’t just a personal event for all current exhibitors, it’s also a “vessel” for young artists who will participate in the future.
It is our endeavour to continue to grow Tokyoten as a socially conscious organization.