Often referred to as the Andy Warhol of Japan, Takashi Murakami’s works are flooded with his iconic cute, grotesque, and erotic invented characters. Working in traditional media such as painting and sculpture as well as commercial media, including fashion and animation, Murakami successfully blurs the lines between high art and low culture, East and West, past and present.


Murakami initially studied ‘nihonga,’ traditionalist Japanese painting, at the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music where he earned his BA, MFA, and PhD. Though he originally resented nihonga, it later would join ‘otaku,’ a young person who is obsessed with computers and popular culture, as fundamental to his work. A lover of anime and manga from a young age, Murakami’s aesthetic is a combination of otaku and the tenets of contemporary art.

Murakami’s entry into his art career began young, when at 10 years old he fell into a hole and consequently broke his skull. Unable to leave his bed, he fell behind in school and was unable to apply for universities, leaving him no choice but to apply for art school where grades were not considered. Star Wars was first released in Japan during this period and would become crucial to the development of Murakami’s artistic aesthetic; he would later name George Lucas an important mentor.

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