Animism: the attribution of soul to inanimate objects.
This is what I’ve been working on for the past few weeks. It’s a piece for the …ism Exhibition in LA. It’s a pretty open theme, everyone gets to pick an -ism and illustrate it any way they want.
I chose to do animism, which is the attribution of soul to inanimate objects. I’ve been watching a ton of Miyazaki films lately, and I wanted to make something to remind me of my recent trip to Japan, specifically the Fushimi Inari Shrine. It’s dedicated to the goddess of rice, Fushimi. There are mini fox shrines all over the grounds. These foxes are known to be Fushimi’s messenger.
I did some research trying to find the story behind Fushimi’s foxes, but it seems that there is no one consistent tale. There are many different tales where the fox’s portrayal ranges from a helpful messenger of the gods, to mischiveous trickser, to just plain evil.
Finally I found this print by Hiroshige from his “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo” series. It depicts these white foxes, called kitsune, on new year’s day. They would gather to receive their new assignments for the year. It becomes the main inspiration of the illustration.
The exhibition will be on display at the ISM: 10 year celebration at Grand Central Art Center from Saturday, July 7 until Sunday, August 12. If you’re in LA, you should go. Take lots pictures for me.