He is a Japanese contemporary artist. The main focuses of his artworks are paintings and sculptures. Apart from traditional art, he works in the commercial sectors such as fashion, merchandise, and animation. He is popular for combining high and low cultural art.
He is the founder and president of Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd., which manages younger artists. Born in Japan, he was the fan of anime and manga as well as cartoons and comics. He studied at the Tokyo University of Arts for acquiring the drafting skill necessary for becoming an animator instead he majored in Nihonga (traditional Japanese art and art techniques).
His early works are the depictions of social criticism and satire and the reason behind it is that he was not satisfied with the Japanese modern art and he believed that it is just a manifestation of western art with a different direction.
After completing his Ph.D. in Nihonga he becomes more research-oriented in the art as well as it was the time when he started experimenting with different kinds of arts.
His super flat theory
According to his theory, “Superflat” manga and anime are different from western art due to the approach of surface and flat planes of colors. He used this theory in many of his artworks. Apart from artworks he used this theory for commercial purposes too.
His theory provided him a context for his works and he elaborated it n his exhibitions “Coloriage” in 2002 and “Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture” in 2005. These projects helped him to explore the lesser-known creative culture of Japan to the international level.
He launched the Hiropon Factory in 1996, a production workshop to work on the very large scale and on the diverse array of media. The factory is working on the atelier system that existed for a long time in Japanese painting, printmaking, and sculpture. In 2001, the Hiropon factory was incorporated as Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd.
In 2002, when invited by Marc Jacobs, he began his long-lasting collaboration with the fashion brand Louis Vuitton. His artworks were used in the design of handbags. This series was commercial success. This collaboration helped him to know as an artist who blurred the line between commercial and high art. In Japan, he got a celebrity status.
In 2007 he provided the cover artworks for the rapper Kanye West’s album graduation as well as directed an animated music video for West’s song “Good Morning”.
In 2018, he provided cover artwork for the West’s collaboration album Kids See Ghosts.
He also collaborated with Billie Eilish, J Balvin, and Supreme.
His art comprises of a wide range of media and generally, they are satirical in nature. He has been noted for the vivid color applications, using motifs from the Japanese culture, flat surface, as well as contents that are cute, psychedelic, and satirical.
Widely used iconographies are the Buddhist iconography, skulls, mushrooms, smiling flowers, and characters created by himself.
Two most important and famous sculptures of Murakami are the ‘Hiropon’ and ‘The Lonesome Cowboy’.
Vikash Kalra is a self-taught artist & writer based in New Delhi whose work has been exhibited across India and is held in several private and corporate collections.