We all remember the cover to one of Kanye West’s most popular albums, Graduation. But, do you know who the creative mind was behind that compiled artwork within? His name is Takashi Murakami.
Fostering a palpable and inimitable style of creativity, Murakami in his younger years was a fan of anime and manga and attended the Tokyo University of the Arts to enhance his skills and fulfill his desire to become an Animator. However, he became a major in Nihonja (traditional Japanese painting) and earned a Ph.D. in the artform. Having been dissatisfied with the state of contemporary art in his country, he slowly developed his own form of art, developing signature figures and icons representing both his style and personality.
Murakami’s dissatisfaction also led him to build a new type of art market which he would take from Western influence and import to Japan, showcasing Japanese culture and history, but still remaining rooted to his origins. His focus therefore reverted to both elements from Japanese high art and low culture, respectively, with influences from anime and otaku cultures. Murakami would later coin the term “superflat” to describe the legacy of flat, 2-dimensional imagery from Japanese art history in manga and anime. It also describes a post-war class differentiation of high and low cultures by melding the two and creating something fresh and original.
Murakami has also worked with several notable figures such as designer Marc Jacobs and has had a long-lasting collaboration with the fashion brand Louis Vuitton. He has also been active in producing sculptures, directing music, producing feature films, and displaying high class exhibits.
Some more examples of Murakami’s work are below.
Check out more of Murakami’s work on his personal website by clicking Here.