Monday, July 20, 2009

Visual Influence of the Week: Takashi Murakami

**HEY GUYS: I just wanted to apologize for my wonky images. I've since removed them, but I hope that my good words about Murakami will inspire you to look at his work. :-)

A name that is reaching great acclaim in the United States, Takashi Murakami is the known artist behind the famous "teddy bear" Kanye West album cover and the "cutesy" Louis Vuitton bags. Here in America, he's not an artistic icon by himself, but rather a pop culture mini-planet that circles around big-name celebrities.

But in his native Japan, Takashi Murakami is a profound visual artist who is often compared to the great Andy Warhol for his talent of blending pop culture imagery with the world of fine art. Murakami is known for the Superflat movement, which consists of imagery that embraces Japanese traditional Nihonga flat deminsions and mixes it with Otaku* iconography. The results are vibrant characters with zero visual depth, but a strong emotional impact for the viewer.

*Otaku refers to the Japanese culture of obsessive gamers and cartoon enthusiasts. This culture is not often praised as it seems to promote counter-productivity.

Murakami continues to grow in worldwide fame. His company, KaiKai Kiki LLC, continues to blur artistic barriers between high and low art in Japan. And, his art continues to grow in the market and now sells for millions of dollars!

What I've shown here is only a TINY part of his portfolio. His work is cuteness captured, even with his more adult themes.

What do you think?
-Kateri Joe

(P.S. I've been having formatting problems with this post, so my apologies if the font sizes are wacky!)

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