'Neighbor' inspires artists

4:33 PM PST 08/27/2008 by Carolyn Giardina, AP

Work will benefit the Totoro Forest Fund

Film animators, comic book artists and illustrators have come together to create original works of art inspired by Hayao Miyazaki's "My Neighbor Totoro."

The work is for an auction to benefit the Totoro No Furusato (Totoro's Homeland) National Fund -- also known as the Totoro Forest Fund. It will be held Sept. 6 at Pixar Animation Studios.

The Fund aims to preserve Sayama Forest, a large park outside Tokyo that inspired Miyazaki's film. The area has been the subject of preservation efforts since the '70s. The Fund was established in 1990 following the release of "My Neighbor Totoro" and the attention the film drew to the Forest.

Pixar artists Dice Tsutsumi, Enrico Casarosa and Ronnie Del Carmen, and Yukino Pang of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, lead the charity auction organizing committee.

Said Tsutsumi: "The auction is a wonderful opportunity for artists to help preserve this historic forest for future generations of children and pay tribute to Miyazaki-san and the film that has been so inspirational to their art."

More than 200 artists from around the world have created nearly 210 original paintings, illustrations and sculptures for the auction. A book featuring all the works of art will be available for purchase at the event. A selection of the artwork will be featured in an exhibition, Sept. 20-Feb. 8 at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco.
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