Takashi Murakami’s multicolored flowers have made a lasting impression on art, fashion, and street culture. It is one of the most recognizable designs in the modern-day contemporary art world. These colorful flowers have shown up on Kanye West Album covers, Drake hoodies, Kid Cudi chains, and everyday items like pillows. Since the flower’s famous debut in 1995, the design has really taken over modern art and fashion culture.
Who is Takashi Murakami?
Takashi Murakami is a Japanese artist born in Tokyo, Japan on February 1, 1962. He is a contemporary artist that works in fine arts like paintings and sculptures as well as fashion, animation, and merchandise. He is also the founder and president of Kaikai Kiki Co. Ltd., which is an art production and management company. Takashi Murakami received his BFA from Tokyo University of the Arts in 1986 and his MFA from the same school in 1988.
Takashi Murakami’s Art Style
Takashi Murakami is known for his vibrant, super flat style. His work includes paintings, sculptures, and installations that often incorporate motifs from popular culture like Hello Kitty and anime. He also is extremely well known for his signature flower design that we go in-depth in this article. Takashi Murakami’s art is influenced by both traditional Japanese art as well as western work from Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons.
What do Takashi Murakami Flowers Mean?
Murakami’s Flowers motif came from his studies of Nihonga, or traditional Japanese painting. “Setsugetsuka,” which means snow, moon, and flowers is one of the themes in Nihonga. Although Murakami attempted to paint flowers in this style, he instead painted 50 blooms per stem on two to three leaves, resulting in the birth of the Murakami Flowers motif. While his flowers appear carefree and charming, Murakami’s smiling floral figures have darker purposes. In a 2005 article from the New York Times, the artist stated that the smiling Flowers represented suppressed, paradoxical sentiments and Japanese locals traumatized by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings of 1945.
How Have These Flowers Impacted Popular Culture?
While prints and originals of his actual paintings and sculptures can sell for millions of dollars, like his “My Lonesome Cowboy” sculpture that sold for $15.1 Million in 2008. His flower design has become a staple in streetwear and high fashion realms. The design has been used by some of the most iconic brands and artists in the world. In 2006, Kanye West commissioned Takashi Murakami to do the album artwork for his Graduation album. This was a huge deal because it brought Murakami’s work to an entirely new audience and really solidified his place in popular culture.
More recently, in 2018, Takashi Murakami collaborated with Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton for their menswear spring-summer 2019 collection. This was a highly anticipated collaboration as both Takashi Murakami and Virgil Abloh are two of the most influential figures in the fashion world. The collection was very well received and became an instant hit with the custom handbags and keepalls. Also in 2018 Murakami collaborated with Drake and his OVO (Octobers Very Own) brand to release a collection of t-shirts and hoodies featuring both the colorful flowers and OVO’s signature owl logo. Lastly, a popular collaboration was when MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) worked with Murakami to release a limited number of plush pillows in the shape of the famous flowers for $150.
Creating the Flower NFTs
Since April 2021, Murakami has been a part of the NFT world. However, the artist quickly withdrew his first project, “Murakami.Flowers,” owing to a lack of understanding on the subject. It was stated that the concept for NFTS originated from his near bankruptcy during the early stages of the pandemic. In November 2021, he worked with RTFKT Studios, a Nike-owned firm, on CloneX avatar projects.In January 2022, he wrote on Twitter that he was working on the aforementioned project “Murakami.Flowers” again. The release date has been predicted to be by the end of 2022, according to official sources. The flower NFT #0000 has a buy price of 144 ether (ETH), or about $260,395 in US currency, making it the most expensive one to date. Project Clone X is currently ranked #5 in terms of NFT price floor.
In conclusion, Takashi Murakami is a very famous and influential artist. His flower design has become a staple in popular culture with everyone from fashion brands to musicians collaborating with him. His work often carries a deep meaning and his artwork is some of the most valuable pieces for a modern contemporary artist.