About the Artist
Born in 1962, the works of Japanese artist Takashi Murakami have inspired both admiration and confusion. Inspired primarily by anime, Japanese animation, and manga, Japanese comics, Murakami's paintings and sculptures feature bright, candy-colored images of cartoon-like characters, with large eyes and exaggerated body parts. His works are often decorated with smiling flowers, round, blinking eyes, and colorful mushrooms. Murakami's creations defy traditional classifications, breaking down numerous barriers. He blurs the line between so-called high art—the kinds of works normally seen in museums and galleries—and "low" art, like that seen in cartoons or advertisements. He also contradicts the traditional idea of an artist toiling away in a studio to painstakingly create one-of-a-kind works. Murakami employs a large staff of assistants who help him churn out his designs. Some of his works are extremely high-priced creations intended for a gallery or art collectors, but he also mass-produces merchandise, such as mugs, keychains, and T-shirts, featuring the characters he has created. Murakami is often classified as a pop artist. Pop artists are inspired by popular culture, choosing subjects from such sources as cartoons, billboard advertisements, and consumer goods. He longs for—and in large measure has achieved—a kind of success that few artists realize: he has earned the respect of many in elite art-world circles while also making a good living and becoming hugely popular with the general public.