Learning to be innovative dreamers from Hayao Miyazaki
Yesterday I was reviewing my notes from the week and I came across what our teacher Liat Rogel said about creativity, quoting one of the most creative Italian designers, Bruno Munari. Creativity doesn’t come out of nowhere, but it is actually a pure reflection of our knowledge; the more we know, the more we can be creative, and that creativity can develop into innovation.
I couldn’t agree more, and that’s what designers should always keep in mind. Design is not an art attack, it’s not that you have a blank page in front of you and suddenly you just start filling it with extraordinary ideas.
That reminded me something I read some months ago about Hayao Miyazaki, one of my favourite animators of all times. I consider him to be not only an animator, but actually a great designer and innovator; the ones who have watched his films know what I am talking about.
From the no-face monster (Kaonashi) of Spirited Away to the turnip-head of Howl’s Moving Castle, his stories are full of allegories that tell you deep principles with a simple but ‘straight to the point’ style.
Miyazaki is a profound expert of the themes he talks about. Flight is a recurring one. His father was the owner of Miyazaki Airplanes and that had a big influence on Hayao, who wanted to become a pilot since he was a child. Many of his movies tell about his passion, from Porco Rosso to Castle in the Sky, to My Neighbor Totoro. Especially in the first one you can really see how technical he can go when illustrating the airplane’s production, always using that dreamy pattern that keeps our imagination alive.
He never forgets where he came from, because inspiration lurks there. One’s past can be used for creative fodder, and hopefully, stir others to look into their own culture and history themselves. Miyazaki put a great attention on children and childhood, he sais ” the paradise resides in our childhood memories”.
He is a feminist. Women play important roles in his movies, and they often are the protagonists. They have strong personalities and go against the gender stereotypes which are very common in the Japanese animation. Women repair Marco’s airplane in Porco Rosso, women work at the thermal bath installation in Spirited Away, women work at the furnace in Princess Mononoke.
There is always a reason for what he puts into his films and nothing is left to chance. The constant criticism to war (Howl’s Moving Castle), the recurring call for an ecological consciousness (the spirit of the polluted river in Spirited Away), all those aspects come from Miyazaki’s past, from which he always gets inspiration for creating his stories.
I really think that we should be inspired by such an amazing creative person. I believe that his films got so much successful because from every single sequence or detail you can deeply feel how much culture and personality there is.
In the end it is all about being yourself and do what you like, and work hard to make it visible and clear to others.
For those who have never seen his movies, I heartily recommend you to start now. They will open you up a whole world, and they will suggest you how to free yourself from mental limits. They truly awaken the sleeping child within you.
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