Growing up, very seldom did I hear artist names that were not Anglo-Saxon or Slavic in origin. But one of the exceptions, that I probably heard as often as I heard Ai Wei Wei’s name, was Takashi Murakami.
I mostly heard his name in songs, where rappers used his name to prove that they were cultured… I guess. Frankly, I don’t remember other sources that would mention him, but point being: he was a big deal.
To me personally, even though his style could be swept under the rug as too cartoon-resembling and childish, I think that it’s brilliant and innovative. Yes, maybe the comical exaggeration sometimes milks the Japanese anime craze, but really it’s all about the philosophical “Superflat”.
From what I understand, the idea of “Superflat” is his commentary on the state of the art market and its lack of proper influence on modern societies. He argues that people don’t know what good art and what trash art is anymore. So, to prove a point, he takes elements of the “low arts” and makes them “high arts” and vice versa. I could not agree with the message more, and I appreciate that it’s done in a vibrant up-lifting kind of way rather than the opposite, which could be seen in the works of Ai Wei Wei. Cough-cough.
Watch this, it won’t be a waste of time->
As mentioned in the video, he did collaborate with Kanye West on the “Kids See Ghosts” album cover. I think that most people don’t even realize that the cover was done by Takashi haha. He also had collaborations with Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs. I think to the western reader that is a more understandable dimension then his collaboration with Issey Miyake (a Japanese fashion designer).
Also, fun fact: he is 56 years young!
Anyway, here is a link to buy some of his works: https://www.artsy.net/artist/takashi-murakami
Kidding… They’re not affordable.
The works below are just some of my favorites, but I encourage you to check him out on your own too!
Last fun fact: his Twitter is @takashipom