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It's a Takashi Murakami Celebration!

  • Takashi Murakami - An Homage to Yves Klein Multicolor, G (detail), 2013
February 1, 2020
A philosophy graduate interested in critical theory, politics and art. Alias of Jelena Martinović.

Often described as the Japanese Andy Warhol, Takashi Murakami combines the most cutting-edge techniques with the precision and virtuosity of traditional Japanese art. Inspired by manga and kawaii culture, he creates art ranging from cartoony paintings to quasi-minimalist sculptures to giant inflatable balloons to performance events to factory-produced watches, T-shirts, and other products.

Murakami‘s fantastic and colorful world is inhabited by monstrous and charming characters, all executed in his Superflat aesthetic. His work blurs the boundaries between popular art and high art, examining the interrelationships between vanguard art, manga, anime and their forerunner, Ukiyo-e woodblock prints.

As a celebration of the artist’s 58th birthday, we have made a selection of his iconic works that you can add to your collection!

Featured image: Takashi Murakami – An Homage to Yves Klein Multicolor, G (detail), 2013. All images courtesy of their respected galleries.

  • Takashi Murakami - Canvas Handbag - Red Skulls : Yellow : Flowers Interior, 2019

Canvas Handbag - Red Skulls / Yellow / Flowers Interior, 2019

In 2019, Takashi Murakami released a one-on-one signed tote bag. It is constructed from the same cotton canvas that the artist uses for his work, and is finished with a reinforced base, polyester lining and cow leather handles. The red bag is covered with an all-over skull print on all sides, as well as a Mr. DOB-style face on the reverse. Lastly, the bag is signed by Murakami himself, with his signature on the pocket in silver marker.

Buy the work here.

  • Takashi Murakami - An Homage to Yves Klein Multicolor, G, 2013

An Homage to Yves Klein Multicolor, G, 2013

Titled An Homage to Yves Klein Multicolor, G, the work references Yves Klein‘s Epoca Blu monochromes. The starting point was Klein’s 1957 exhibition Proposte monochrome, Epoca Blu at the Galleria Apollinaire in Milan, which gathered 11 paintings that were identically painted with Klein’s patented shade of ultramarine pigment – the International Klein Blue. The only difference which set these works apart was the distinct treatment of surface and texture.

Buy the work here.

  • Takashi Murakami - Flower Lamp, 2011

Flower Lamp, 2011

Made of stained glass, lead and electrical components, this lamp features one of the artist’s most recognizable motifs – a smiling flower. When describing the use of flowers in his work, Murakami explained:

At the beginning, to be frank, I didn’t like flowers, but as I continued teaching in the school, my feelings changed: their smell, their shape–it all made me feel almost physically sick, and at the same time I found them very cute. Each one seems to have its own feelings, its own personality.

Buy the work here.

  • Takashi Murakami - And Then And Then And Then And T, 1999

And Then And Then And Then And Then And Then, 1999

And Then And Then And Then And Then And Then is comprised of five offset lithographs in colors navy, blue, red, pink and yellow. It features his most famous character, Mr. DoB. Inspired by Mickey Mouse, Mr. DoB is a sharp-toothed yet playful character whose name derives from the Japanese slang phrase “dobojite” or “why?”. As the artist explained, this question reflects his dissenting view of consumer society as lifeless and empty.

Buy the work here.

  • Takashi Murakami - Homage to Francis Bacon, 2016

Homage to Francis Bacon, 2016

This set of prints is inspired by Francis Bacon‘s emotionally-charged imagery, most particularly portraits of Isabel Rawsthorne, Bacon’s life-long friend and fellow artist, and George Dyer, the artist’s lover. Treated in Murakami’s distinct Superflat aesthetic, the work is comprised of two prints: Homage to Francis Bacon (Study for Head of Isabel Rawsthorne and George Dyer) (Isabel Rawsthorne) and Homage to Francis Bacon (Study for Head of Isabel Rawsthorne and George Dyer) (George Dyer).

Buy the work here.

  • Takashi Murakami - Thoughts on Picasso, 2016

Thoughts on Picasso, 2016

This is another work that references another great artist, this time it is Pablo Picasso. Yet again, Murakami uses his smiling flower motif, but in prevailing pinks.

Buy the work here.

  • Takashi Murakami - Multi Flower 8.0 Skate Deck - Pink an, 2017

Multi Flower 8.0 Skate Deck - Pink and Blue, 2017

The artist’s vibrant, chaotic compositions have become widely recognizable, not only within the field of fine art but also through his collaborations with major fashion designers, musicians, etc. Designed in 2017, these skate decks feature the artist’s iconic smiling flower motif in pink and blue.

Buy the work here.

  • Takashi Murakami - Lime Green - Time, 2011

Lime Green - Time, 2011

In Lime Green from 2011, the mushroom cloud is shaped like a skull with two large eyes, painted against a lime green background. Through his unique aesthetics, the artist explores the themes of peace and war.

Buy the work here.

  • Takashi Murakami - Mr. DOBtopus A, 2017

Mr. DOBtopus A, 2017

The sculpture Mr. DOBtopus A from 2017 features the Murakami’s iconic character, Mr. DoB, this time rendered as an octopus. The artist’s alter ego and his first signature character, Mr. DoB was conceived as a Japanese icon with universal appeal, in the spirit of Hello Kitty and Pikachu, but also characters from Western popular culture. While the first Mr. DOB had a somewhat fierce appearance with sharp, menacing teeth, the character grew cuter and cuter over time.

Buy the work here.

  • Takashi Murakami - HOLLOW MAN (Murakami x Ablo), 2016

HOLLOW MAN (Murakami x Abloh), 2018

This print is a collaboration between Murakami and Virgil Abloh, an American fashion designer, entrepreneur, artist, and DJ who has been the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear collection since March 2018

Buy the work here.