Once more into the Anime Art Contest fray

August 4th, 2011

One of the highlights this year for me thus far has been joining nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi in judging entries for the Liliha Library Anime Art Contest. The talent level of young artists inspired by anime locally is quite high, and to see what they can produce is simply amazing.

So when librarian/contest organizer Linda Mediati asked if we could help her judge the new batch of entries from the summer edition, we quickly accepted. Arrangements were made, dates were set. And last Thursday, a sunny summer afternoon, we returned to Liliha Library, ready to choose prize-worthy art pieces. The winners would be recognized at an awards ceremony, which we scheduled for this Saturday at 1 p.m. in the library’s conference room. (Again, I welcome you to join us! The library’s at 1515 Liliha St.)

But first, there was … well, let’s start with a quick flashback. Back in January, you may recall that we entered the conference room with this scene greeting us.

There were 100 art pieces crowding the table then, a nice little group of entries. It certainly didn’t seem like a “little” group of entries back then, because we were certainly blown away by the volume and feeling overwhelmed at the task that awaited us. But “little” is really the best way of describing it … especially considering what awaited this time.

Namely, these tables.

And this table.

Oh yes, and this table.

All told, more than 60 artists entered close to 200 pieces. And our task was to fill these blank spaces on this clipboard with names. There were nine spaces total — one grand prize winner and four winners each in the sixth-to-eighth grade and ninth-to-12th grade divisions, divided into black-and-white and color categories.

Which meant that we were giving out the same number of honors for nearly double the number of entries. Lesser mortals would have run out screaming “KYAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH I CAN’T PICK A SELECT FEW OUT OF SO MANY THEY’RE ALL SOOOOOOOO GOOD JUST GIVE EVERYONE PRIZES ALREADY.” We, being the consummate professionals that we are, stood our ground. Granted, we were also probably thinking of bolting, but we didn’t actually express those thoughts out loud or act upon them. You have to give us credit for that.

And besides, Linda gave us cookies.

And so, around the tables we went. And around. And around again. And again. After the break: some of the highlights from what we saw.

Like last time, there was a nice blend of fan art and original work in various media, with people turning in more color pieces than black-and-white pieces. (For those of you considering entering next year’s contest, keep the second half of that last sentence in mind. Also, we noticed that there were a lot of girls turning in entries compared to boys … where y’all at, boy artists?) Some of them were simple, like this picture of Togepi by junior Tabitha-Rhodes Nakahara.

There were quite a few Pokemon fan pieces, actually, like “Pokemon Make Funny Faces” by sophomore Cherise Spotkaeff …

… and “Pokemon and Me” by eighth grader Camelia Lai.

The contemporary anime world was represented by freshman Brianne Higa’s “Vocaloids at the Park” …

… and sixth grader Grace Francisco’s Shugo Chara-inspired piece, “Rima Mashiro & KusuKusu.”

And, of course, no anime art contest would be complete without an appearance by everyone’s favorite ninja, Naruto, rendered here by eighth grader Taylor-Anne Kim.

Meanwhile, classic anime — well, as “classic” as you can get with school-age kids these days — were represented by Nicole Nguyen’s Cowboy Bebop piece, “Goodnight Julia.”

Then you had complex pieces like “Friendship is Magic” by junior Ming Qi Vinci … so complex, in fact, that I couldn’t even recognize the source material at first glance. Audra caught it right away, though: “They’re inspired by My Little Pony!” she said. And thus my status as “not a ‘bronie,’” that subset of twentysomething and thirtysomething guys who adore the new My Little Pony cartoon, was revealed.

And then there was the familiar piece.

Those of you who have kept up with my art posts this year will recognize the piece on the left as “My World” by senior Michelle Siu, part of the MangaBento “Kakimochi” exhibit in February. (The piece on the right, “Itsumo Tomodachi,” is also by her.) Here the picture from back then as a refresher.

There were also a few nods to Audra’s work, like “Kana and Nemu” by seventh grader Megan Uchida. (Note to Megan, if you ever read this: Send a copy to Audra at the nemu*nemu site. She’d love to share it there.)

And then there was “I Read, I Watched, I Sketched” by 11th grader Nikki Oka, where Anpan and Nemu are just two of the many characters flying out of the book. Bonus points for anyone who can identify them all.

But a good number of the pieces that caught our attention this time were original works … or, at the very least, works in which I didn’t recognize the original anime source material (which, I must confess, is a steadily growing pool). Some artists created art about creating art, like “Inspiration” by eighth grader Jasmine Wong …

… or “Basics” by junior Simone Lai Schinde.

Others had a Japanese cultural flavor to them, like “Kimono Doll” by junior Sarah Kashiwabara.

Many of the “originals,” though, fell squarely into the “fantasy worlds and characters inspired by anime” category. There were single-character studies, like eighth grader Joelle Lee’s “Phoenix Fox” and “Blue Cat Girl” …

… senior Alyssa Yomes-Takushi’s “Swirls of Mother Nature” …

… eighth grader Joelle Pang’s “Red Eyes” …

… junior Joelle Takayama’s “Rainy Days” …

… freshman Alyssa Rodrigues’ “Music to Me” …

… and Simone Lai Schinde’s “Drizzy.”

Group shots? We had those, too. Here’s “The World Beyond the Cover,” by seventh grader Suky Zhao …

… “Love Letters and Hot Chocolate” by seventh grader Sivalei Haiku …

… “Daydreaming” by freshman Eva Armsden …

… “Halloween” by seventh grader Isabella Iwasaki …

… and “Night Sky Frenzy” by junior Kinohi Caravalho.

Yet as good as all of the pieces shown here were, they weren’t the best of the best. We had to whittle the numbers down somehow. For some categories — i.e. the black-and-white pieces — it was easy. The ninth-to-12th grade color category, though? Not so much.

But after much hand-wringing and hemming and hawing — roughly two hours after we began — we finally had our winners. Check back here tomorrow, when I’ll reveal the really good stuff.

4 Responses to “Once more into the Anime Art Contest fray”

  1. Roy Chang:

    Great job to all of them!

  2. Stephy:

    They all are wonderful art pieces…Great job everybody…it make me feel like picking up a sketchbook and drawing again…

  3. SkySky:

    Aaah, they’re all spectacular~! So much talent <3 Great job, everyone =w=

  4. Otaku Ohana - Hawaii News - Staradvertiser.com:

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