Tomoyuki Tanaka, Creator of GODZILLA. I remember as a kid watching a commercial for what was Godzilla vs. Mothra and seeing Mothra in creepy larva form crawling down the street spewing webs and being blown away. Then I heard Godzilla’s roar and saw him for the first time. My jaw hit the floor, it was love at first sight, I was hooked. Tanaka created Godzilla in 1954 in an effort to illustrate the terror Japanese felt after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki but that changed in the mid 60s. This was during his “friendly look” phase when he became the “hero of the world”, fighting off The Smog Monster, King Ghidora, Gigan etc. punching em out Ali-style, doing victory dances, throwing off attitude, hanging on Monster Island, raising his son. I love the whole man in suit genre, has so much more character and soulful realism then most CGI effects. Yeah, it looks fake, but then again so does CGI. Realism wasn’t the point though, the point was to make it look cool, and Godzilla was most def cool. Thank you Tanaka and the whole Toho crew for giving us GODZILLA, King of ALL Monsters!
Whereas the first three entries in this series where well known creators with plenty of reference to choose from, this small, grainy photo is the only picture of Tanaka out there that I could find, despite all my deep googling and reference hunting. Cropping/enlarging around his face only made it blurrier and grainier, not a lot of visual info to go on. So I instead I focused on illustrating my opinion of his essence, The Mob Boss/Master Creator from Planet X!
This is the 4th in a series of portraits I am doing entitled “Influences”, honoring all of the great artists that have inspired my work and imagination growing up. (1. Suess, 2. Sendak, 3. Disney) They’ve all touched me to the core, and this is my way of saying thank you. The group includes writers, illustrators, video game creators, animators, painters, puppeteers, comic book artists and film directors, some of them many of these things rolled into one. So far I have 20 portraits lined up, and will release a new one each week or so for the next couple months. At the culmination of this collection, I will be launching a new website showcasing the world I’ve created inspired by their works. A fantastic & dangerous place, full of funky creature-folk, shrill despots, fantastical beasts, militant chancellors, innocent souls & magical beings. Stay tuned!