Artist Essay: Takashi Murakami

Charlie Valles
3 min readNov 7, 2020

A Marvelous Artist

Artist: Takashi Murakami


Website: (No direct website, Linked his company instead)

Born February 1st, 1962, in Tokyo, Japan. Takashi Murakami has created a name for himself, blowing up in the 1990s after founding the art theory named “Superflat.” Beginning at a young age with inspiration from manga and anime, Takashi already had a passion for animation and art. He attended the Tokyo University of the Arts and majored in Normal Art Composition. The political aspects of art proved to Murakami that he wanted to pursue another concept of art. His new realization involved the influences of contemporary media and pop art. Around 1996, Takashi founded the Hiropon Factory, his workshop to build large scale pieces and create more diverse forms of media. Five years later, in 2001, he evolved his factory into what is now named Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. Also, He was able to expand his brand to Los Angeles and New York as well. These factories handle the promotion and production of Takashi’s work while also managing the careers of young, aspiring artists. Although time brings along new creations, all past locations of Murakami’s art consist of The Palace of Versailles, The Museum of Modern Art, Tate Liverpool, and varying Museums.

When addressing his works, Takashi primarily uses paints and sculpture to create his eye candy. To begin with, his piece “Panda,” made in 2003, is a large sculpture standing around 7.5 feet tall. The sculpture is designed around the “Superflat” format. It varies by culture and consumer market, but generally, “Superflat” consists of flat anime or Japanese pop images that contain multiple layers of color on one flat plane. This layer is then wrapped around a high gloss object to appear three dimensional when it is only two dimensional. The sculpture has the body of a panda-like creature, but with the color scheme of pop. The colors are aplenty with a rainbow color palette which are placed above each other, creating one seamless plane. The piece is round but has sharp corners around the edges of the Loius Vitton trunk it stands above. It possesses large eyes and teeth, with an even larger head. Additionally, the panda itself stands above a Louis Vitton Trunk. The point of the piece is to reflect the idea of luxury and high culture. It is whimsical yet sophisticated in an indescribable way. Conclusively, the work is beautiful to view, but through deep inspection, it represents the high culture the Louis Vitton brand embodies. Secondly, “Supernova,” made in 1999, presents an even more mystical environment. Acrylic paint is the medium of choice on a 413 x 118-inch canvas. The painting consists of mushrooms that vary in size and color, with one large mushroom in the middle. The linework is smooth and jagged, adding texture where necessary. Even though the painting is flat, it appears 3-D when viewing a few feet away. This is perhaps how “Superflat” is meant to appear. The explosion of color is a delight to view. In regards to the message, it brings attention to the bombing of 1945 that took place in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The mushrooms may be perceived as atomic explosions or the result of radiation that came from the Atomic bombs. Either way, the piece is beautiful and mesmerizing. Finally, Murakami has also collaborated with vocal artists. One example would be his collaboration with Billie Eilish to create an animated video for “You should see me in a crown.” The final piece captures the premise of the song, a tyrant ruler who controls their cities citizens. The animation is smooth, and the visual effects are intricate. Physical clothing was also created, starring Murakamis’ recognizable Flower design. The iconic image is undoubtedly a staple in his artwork. Visually, the image is a flower smiling, with each petal possessing a different hue. It symbolizes peace, joy, and innocence. During Murakami’s teaching years in the 1980s, he would bring a fresh bouquet for his art students to replicate every other day. This joy is apparent in not only the animated video he created but also the clothing.

Takashi Murakami is a skilled individual that knows his craft and has perfected it. When I view his art, it brings me a lot of happiness because the color palette is a marvel. Rainbow can become tacky after a while but never bothersome when viewing Murakami’s works. His hidden messages always keep me wondering what else his intentions were with each piece and keeps me in aw. Overall, Takashi Murakami is a gifted individual.



Charlie Valles

I dont know anything about art, but yeah. Stick Figures anyone?