Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Artist research #3

Artist research on Takashi Murakami

            Takashi Murakami is a Japanese artist dealing with sculpture, digital media, performance and even factory-produced textiles. He is a well-trained artist receiving degrees in Art from The Tokyo National University of Fine Arts. He is world renowned and especially famous in Japan.” Takashi Murakami's work has been exhibited in prestigious museums all over the world, including the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and a recent solo retrospective exhibition at the Bard College Museum of Art”  In class specifically we have seen two of the ads he worked on as well as a few sculptures. “In 2000, Murakami curated an exhibition of Japanese art titled Superflat, which acknowledged a movement toward mass-produced entertainment and its effects on contemporary aesthetics.” It seems like in all his work I have viewed there is a mass production, industrialized side to it. He is most famously known for his collaboration with Marc Jacobs to create hand bags for Louis Vuitton.

            He is known for his main character Mr. Dob. This character appears in many of his works digitally and in physical form. This character as well as others appear in the line he created for Loius Vuitton and in the advertisements for the new hand bags. The New York times reported in 2003 that the handbags were flying off shelves and that the supply was not keeping up with the demand. “Waiting lists in stores from San Francisco to Berlin still number in the thousands, and People magazine recently lamented (or celebrated?) the fact that the only humans who actually seem to be able to get their hands on his totes which sell for more than $5,000 apiece are ‘A-listers’”. Murakami was not exactly happy with all the hype that had happened as a result of his collaboration. He saw himself as an artist not as a fashion designer or hand bag maker. He was quoted by the New York Times saying:  "I need to rebuild the wall between the commercial art and the fine art I do," he says. "I need to focus on the fine-art side of me for a while." He knew that his new found fans knew him as a hand bag designer, not as the artist he wanted them to know him as.
I find this very interesting because even though he was a famous artist prior to the collaboration, the Louis Vuitton gig made him famous world wide. He even thought that his artwork was selling for too much now that it was not worth that much. He enjoys being an artist not a fashion designer and seems to me like he is not in it for the money. I myself have been struggling with the whole idea of doing art for me and doing art to put food on the table so to speak.

Murakami’s sculptures and artwork is very striking when first viewed. It seemsto appear childish at first but when looked at more closely you begin to see the puns and darkness of his work. Big bubble characters with large eyes and bright appealing colors eat other helpless characters in the scene. Or a sculpture of an anime looking man holding on to his genitalia and a stream of white spiraling around the person. Although his work appears to be geared toward children because of the colors and bubbly figures, it is not something I would show my eight year old sister. The New York Times said “Murakami purposely engineers a neo-Pop Art universality to his work, making his art both effortlessly accessible and intellectually provocative an ingenious feat. His sometimes sincere, usually ironic, often disturbing plays on the empty smiles and bright colors of cartoon cute are designed to appeal to the preteen in Tokyo”. I wonder if the preteens in Tokyo have seen his sculptures of anime people such as “Hiropen”?

I like his work but also am still trying to figure out a lot of it. I also like working with very bright vivid colors. I know that bright colors are often associated with children and pre-teens, but I still use them. I am not directly trying to target that age group with my art and I feel that Murakami is not either. I am also getting in to the fashion side of art more recently and Murakami is best known for his collaboration with Louis Vuitton. I wish to target a different type of fashion. Rather then a $5,000 handbag that only “A-listers” can get their hands on, I would like to design graphics that will go on athletic clothing. Under armour my main inspiration.

Murakami seems to be a very interesting person and artist and I do want to explore further into his different types of work and see what he will come up with next.  

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