"The film itself was inspired by the wonderful sketchbooks of Hokusai. When I saw them I realized that this artist was indeed a true animator at heart... he just didn't have the knowledge or the technology to be one in his lifetime. I therefore sought to bring his drawings to life for him, as homage to his genius."
Also, check out Tony's other films posted on YouTube, in particular "Endangered Species" a love letter to hand-drawn animation and an impassioned vision for how hand-drawn can continue to exist in the "digital age" .
Here is Tony's introduction to "Endangered Species" telling how and why he came to make the film :
Very important observation about the apprenticeship system and how traditional animation skills were "traditioned" (which literally means: "passing down to") from one animator to another :