“Before the advent of photography, demand for realistic art was high. But now, in addition to photography we have digital video everywhere too. I don’t see the meaning in a human trying to imitate that at this point. (…) Brushworks, pen strokes, handprints. Those vestiges are what’s really important, and yet they’re generally frowned upon. There’s a tendency for people to welcome someone erasing them all and polishing the work up neatly. It’s a sad thing, isn’t it? I believe hand-done art is an expression that’s possible as the result of steady manual work and touch-ups, supported by talent, of course, and repeated over and over. If you try to make something flawless, I would imagine you’ll move in the direction of neatness and down-to-the-last-detail accuracy. This world is so overflowing with information. If you chose to grab and hold on to all of it, you couldn’t do a thing, could you? Casting things away is important.
We by no means ignored representational art, but we drew in a way that was very heavy on abbreviation. It’s probably easiest to understand if I use speech as an analogy: basically, it’s abstraction. If you explain something in a long, rambling string of words, your point won’t necessarily get across. It’s important to say things clearly, in simple words. You want to tell all sorts of things, and really pour your heart into it; that’s the way humans are. But the question is, how much can you eliminate from that telling? In expressing something, I believe abbreviation is absolutely critical. Otherwise your art will run off at the mouth too much, and that can become a crutch that soothes your feelings temporarily without being useful in the long run. Explaining everything and doing it all neatly is welcomed, but I don’t think that necessarily means it conveys your ideas clearly.”—shichiro kobayashi, revolutionary girl utena: the black rose saga production notes