Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Toonseum is a new museum of cartoon art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is currently hosting an exhibition of art from the animated film Akira.
Akira, set in twenty-first-century post-World War III Japan, was directed by comic artist Katsuhiro Otomo. Released in the USA in 1990, Akira was one of the last feature films created with traditional hand-painted cel and painted background technique.
On display are stunning perspective layout drawings and renderings of science fiction cityscapes, as well as effects animation cels and character designs. All of the art comes from the collection of Joe Peacock.
Toonseum is one of only two museums in the USA dedicated exclusively to art from the comic strip, graphic novel, comic book, and animated film. Earlier museums in Rye, New York; Boca Raton, Florida; and Northampton, Massachusetts are sadly no longer in operation.
Toonseum is very small—the size of a gallery or shopfront, but it’s fun to visit because it’s run by artists. They encourage you to sit down and draw on an actual worktable from one of Disney’s early animators.
They even granted me the geek dream of holding an original drawing from “Gertie the Dinosaur” by Winsor McCay.
And they talked me into doodling on the hall-of-fame group sketch.
Toonseum is located at 945 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA. It’s open from 9 to 3 on most days, Wednesday through Sunday. The Akira exhibit will be on view through July 18.
YouTube interview with Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo