Jun Cen’s animated Sumo illustrations for Grantland
A susinct summary of a fascinating project for Grantland, in Jun's words:
I was commissioned by Grantland ESPN to create a series of illustrations (Including an animated opener and two chapter head illustrations) to accompany a long form non-fiction feature The Sea of Crises written by Brian Philips. The story is about a calm and intelligent young sumo Hakuho who is originally from Mongolia, a novelist Mishima with warrior spirit who achieved his glorious death by operating seppuku. The characters in the story were my main inspirations. What interested me is that “sumo is a sport of refusing to die”, while the novelist Mishima pursued immortal by committing suicide. They are as contradicted as the Sword and Chrysanthemum which is the symbol of the traditional Japanese culture. In the illustration for the opener, a man is standing in front of a series of Tori grates. It is unknown that whether this is a path to life or death. The style is inspired by oriental wood block cut printing. elements were separated on different layers so it was able to be animated in After Effects.