Finding the Words: When Artists Burn In Tragedy

This week has been very sad. We lost an Instagrammer at the start, a seventeen-year-old that had the worst luck ever. And we are still in a country that is growing steadily more fascist by the week.

Thursday has not started out great. In Japan, a man set an anime studio on fire, killing 33 people. Kyoto Animation worked on animes such as Haruhi Suzumiya, A Silent Voice, and Violet Evergarden. They also employ mainly women and offer fair labor conditions for their employees. If you can, donate to the GoFundMe set up to help the victims and Kyoto Animation rebuild.

I really have no words for this tragedy. My friend Brandon Chinn does, however, and he agreed to share them with me. Read on, and follow Brandon on Twitter — his handle is @brandonrchinn — or at his website:

“Senseless cruelty and violence have become too much of a callous mainstay in our modern lives. It is impossible to log onto Twitter these days without seeing something anger-inducing, and when tragedy comes along it is never convenient. There is never a time when coming down from a ten-hour shift to find that over thirty people have died in a senseless act of violence is something one can become used to. And day by day this raw feeling of sadness and rage seems only temporarily healed by our favorite past-times and escapes from reality.

It is nearly impossible to swallow the feelings of these tragedies when they affect the creators of our escape.

I’ve seen many different shows created by KyoAni, most recently Violet Evergarden and the film A Silent Voice. Both of these masterworks affected me in specific, powerful ways, and I was struck most by the sheer beauty radiating off them both. The sort of people capable of creating incredible works of art such as these can only be passionate, beautiful souls. They can only be the sorts of people who believe in the human spirit and the capability of our perseverance.

Anytime the life of an artist is snuffed out I feel an incredible loss. A hollowness of indescribable nature. I have a deep fondness for artists, for those who give of their time and energy to bring even a little bit of joy back to the world. The animators and writers and artists and others who worked at KyoAni spent their time putting goodness into the world. Through their works they were able to show the scope of what human beings are capable of. I would like to believe that even now they would agree that there is always more worth in creation than destruction.

In whatever means we can give back, I want to give back. Draw, write, create. Grow, learn. Give. However it is in you or I to make something of this tragedy, we should do it. We should celebrate Kyoto Animation and their incredible body of work, but most of all we should celebrate the very real people behind these astounding marvels of animation and storytelling. What they conveyed to me through their shows and films will always be within me and influence what I create, and I hope that we can all come together and celebrate the lives of these amazing people and never take their work, spirit, passion or time for granted.”



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