“To become a living example of the potential of art.”
Murakami, 'the Warhol of Japan', is most well known for his use of colourful anime and manga cartoons in a contemporary pop style. Smiling flowers, iconic characters, mushrooms and skulls are amongst his most recognised images. He uses a wide range of media and his work is noted for the use of colour and the incorporation of typically Japanese motifs.
With an impressive body of work that includes paintings, sculptures, drawings and animations, it was Murakami’s work with fashion powerhouse and luxury brand Louis Vuitton that brought him worldwide recognition. The team worked to re-create the famous LV monogram on what became a hugely popular handbag and accessories range. The widespread fame that followed also led to Murakami’s notoriety as an artist who blurred the line between ‘high art’ and commercialism.
“Japanese people accept that art and commerce will be blended; and in fact, they are surprised by the rigid and pretentious Western hierarchy of 'high art', Murakami says. “In the West, it certainly is dangerous to blend the two because people will throw all sorts of stones. But that’s okay—I’m ready with my hard hat.”
The term ‘superflat’ was coined by Murakami, referring to the aesthetic characteristics of Japanese tradition with post war Japanese culture and society. Murakami has described his own work in this way and has published various theories about the style.
Murakami has worked with stars such as Kanye West and Pharrell Williams and has exhibited around the world.