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Takashi Murakami

Tokyo, Japan

Today’s Featured Face comes to you from a very small village in central Japan:  Tokyo.  While there is very little known about this miniscule rural municipality, we can assume that its downtrodden economy is primarily agricultural with very little regional activity.  Of course, we kid…Tokyo is undoubtedly one of the primary command centers of the global economy with an estimated population of just over 13 million people and vast resource network that is on par with any city in the world.  Today’s Featured Face, Takashi Murakami, has been representing the capital city of Japan since 1962.  He is the supposed originator of the Superflat style, utilizing imagery and symbols from mass media and pop culture and drawing heavily on the Japanese stylings of anime and manga.

Murakami was trained in the Fine Arts by the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and eventually pursued doctoral studies in the field of Nihonga (artwork utilizing traditional Japanese artistic conventions); however, Murakami soon became disenchanted with the field on the grounds that it was a poor representation of post-war Japanese culture.  Being a proud nationalist, Murakami chose to embrace the obsessive otaku culture (see anime and manga), which he argues is more socially relevant in modern Japan — we at Ballista tend to agree.

Murakami’s devotion to the present has resonated with the international artistic community and has garnered a great deal of global acclaim.  His clout within artistic circles is most blatantly evidenced by his placement on Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” list of 2008, where Murakami was the lone visual artist.  His work is socially charged, thoughtfully composed, and brilliantly executed…a true gem of Eastern art.

There are very few resources to find more on Takashi Murakami, but there are a variety of tribute sites that provide galleries and biographical information on the artist.  Your best bet for information would be to check out KaiKai Kiki, and art production company that Murakami founded in 2001.  KaiKai Kiki also is responsible for the organization of the GEISAI festival in Japan, a showcase for young emerging talent (much like Ballista, but on a far grander scale).  We sincerely hope you check him out and have a happy Monday!

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