In the past, animations were traditionally drawn by hand on transparent sheets called "Cels", short for celluloid acetate. Every second had a range from 6 unique drawings to as much as 12 or even more in a high production animation. Doing the math here, it was necessary to hand draw as much as 7,200 to produce a 10 minutes-long animation. The amount of time and skillful talents needed to hand draw, color, put together drawings and backgrounds, and capture all that through camera to animate those drawings, was no less than 4 or up to 10 times more than the current case of digital animation.
Nowadays, the whole animation production industry has moved into the practice of producing animations digitally; it is faster, more convenient, and cheaper due to its lower dependencies on humans and physical materials.
Before moving into the digital world, animators either recycled animation cels (erased the drawings off of the cel and redrawn new content), or archived animation cels used in production (if the studio was able to afford the very expensive archiving costs), or just gave them away and are now circulating as a collector's art piece.
Today, original production cels became one-of-a-kind pieces of vintage art that can be found in art galleries across North America, Japan, and Europe.
So, if you stumbled upon a gallery that exhibits original production cels, why consider buying one?
Here, I list six reasons to consider buying an original production cel...
Reason #1 : Sentimental value and nostalgia
For many, especially babyboomers and millennials (those who were born anytime between the 40s and all the way up to the mid-90s), they grew up watching those traditional hand-drawn animated pieces of work. A 20-50 years old vintage cel can carry so many childhood memories and can be a significant art piece in a living room that has the power of connecting people through nostalgia and childhood stories.
So, if you saw an original cel that contains one of your favorite childhood cartoons characters, don't let it go, otherwise, another fan will snitch all those memories of yours.
Reason #2 : Appreciation of the craft
Like woodblock printing, or silkscreen printing, and other handmade art production methods that require high craftsmanship, skill, precision, and creativity. Animation production also was a skill the evolved throughout the 21st century to become one of the most demanding art processes, which also led many to receive the most prestigious award in the entertainment business, the Academy Awards (the Oscars).
If you truly appreciate the blood and sweat put into the process behind animating those hand-drawn cels, then here's a chance for you to exhibit one of those art pieces at your home and share your appreciation with others over dinner.
Reason #3 : A Unique and perfect choice in interior design
Like any form of art, cels and animation backgrounds have depleted the entire colors spectrum, and animation artists come from various backgrounds (from conservative by-the-book cartoonists to Avant-grade, to experimental artists). Some artists created trends for others to follow, some artists created entire new genres of animation, some used abstract, some were impressionists, some were minimalists, and many were ahead of their times. Cels can carry extremely high creative and artistic value.
Like choosing a painting to decorate your home or office, choosing an original production cel to be hung on your wall, just for the love of the art that it carries, or just because it matches the color of your sofa, can also be a very legit choice.
Reason #4 : Fulfills your art collecting craze
There are many that enjoy the experience of touring in an art exhibition or museum and only a few that create their own art exhibiting experiences at their homes, offices, and private museums. Some collect sculptures, some collect paintings, some collect hotel matches, some collect band-aids, some collect dolls, and guess what? Some, and my wife and I are one of those, we collect production cels. In fact, we specialize in collecting Ghibli and other Nippon Animation cels, not to be ever exhibited here in our gallery, but keep for ourselves to appreciate and exhibit in private settings.
If you were anything like us, you already know why and where this urge of buying and keeping some of those masterpieces comes from.
Reason # 5 : Another asset that helps diversifies your investments portfolio
Like many other vintage items around the world; A 1969 Ferrari 365 GTS, or the Patek Phillippe Beta 21, or one of the 670 Eames 1956 lounge chairs and ottomans, or a Ben Obe-Wan Kenobe 3 3/4" figure (toy) produced back in 1977. Those items all keep making appearances at auction houses decade after a decade only to be sold back into the market with an exponential appreciation in its value.
Original production cels, those particularly of historical and artistic significance, like the works of Walt Disney, Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, Hanna & Joe Barbera, Osamu Tezuka, Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, Ub Iwerks, and many other founding fathers of their own animation genres. All those works are considered auction house worthy, and owners of those original production cels are fully aware of how much value those assets can contribute to their total net worth.
If you have skipped all four previous reasons, and only think of how much "bling-bling" can production cels get you in the near or far future, then here's your reason why you should consider buying an original production cel.
Reason #6 : One of the most distinguished and unexpected gifts one can give
Last, but surely not least, if any of the previous five reasons made you think of a family member, a partner, a friend, or colleague, or boss, as a person that would fully appreciate a production cel's sentimental or artistic value, or would appreciate help in designing their own homes or offices, or is a committed or seasonal collector, or just looks after future wealth growth, then you should absolutely consider an original production cel as a gifting art piece.
For someone that's needs and desires fits the reasons above, an original production cel can be a risk-free premium gift option that instantly brings joy to their faces. The right cel to the right person at the right time shows a lot about how much you know about your lucky loved one.