The following is what I understood about the nature of GoFa, the Gallery of Fantastic Arts, after talking with Michitoshi Isono, the Chief Director of GoFa:
Modern Japanese pop mediums such as anime and manga have blurred the lines between what can be considered products and what can be considered art. There is, in essence, a form of art within such works as anime that can be approached from two different directions. One of these directions is that of the traditional artist, who might use styles and conventions of anime to produce artwork. This direction might be exemplified by an artist such as Takashi Murakami, and it is easy to see works produced from this direction as being art due in part to the fact that they were created by a single individual artist.
The less noticed direction is that of the creators of such works as anime, manga, and video games. These creators are not necessarily setting out with the goal of creating “Art.” They are often focused on creating a product that can be sold to a mass market. In doing so, however, they often produce what is increasingly considered to be art. This art is akin to architecture; a building is designed to meet the needs of a client, and an architect does not build their own building. Likewise, creators do work for a company, their client, and the works they make often require a production phase involving voice actors, other artists, etc. Nevertheless, just as a building can, while meeting practical concerns, still be artistic, the works produced by the creators of anime, manga, video games, etc. can be artistic even as they are designed for a client and/or to appeal to a mass audience.
However, creators’ works, when seen in such forms as a complete anime, manga, video game, or the like, still retain a quality of being a “product” and not a work of art that might contribute to a new body of Japanese culture. It is at this point that GoFa enters the picture. GoFa exhibits singular creative works such as character or background art, the sorts of things that have their origin with one artist. By showcasing the work of creators in this fashion, GoFa encourages the recognition of the fact that creators are just one part of a production product aimed at making merchandise, but are also artists who are producing works that comprise the most up-to-date, contemporary expressions of Japanese culture. This raises global awareness not just of Japanese anime, manga, etc. but of the cultural and artistic potential of these mediums. This is in part achieved by placing focus on the works of an individual artist/creator, thereby reducing the “product” like nature of the things exhibited and making them more readily recognizable as traditional art.