Takashi Murakami, (born February 1, 1962, Tokyo, Japan), Japanese artist and entrepreneur widely recognized for his ability to adapt the aesthetics of Japanese traditional art to operate within the context of popular culture.
Murakami studied Japanese painting at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1986 and a Ph.D. in 1993. After completing his studies, he increasingly displayed his works in solo and group exhibitions, making his European debut in 1995 in “TransCulture,” held at the 46th Venice Biennale. The following year Murakami’s paintings and sculptures were featured most notably at the second Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane, Australia.
Trained in traditional Japanese art, Murakami saw similarities between the flat composition of Japanese painting and the simplified aesthetics of anime (Japanese animation) and manga (Japanese comics). His style, which emphasized two-dimensional forms and bold, striking imagery, gave birth to an artistic movement known as Superflat, which not only acknowledged but glorified the interaction between the commercial and art worlds. After curating an exhibition in 2002 at the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art in Paris, Murakami collaborated in 2003 with Marc Jacobs, artistic director of the Louis Vuitton fashion house, to produce fashion accessories. He earned celebrity status in May 2003 when his Miss Ko2 (pronounced “ko ko”)—a life-size fibreglass sculpture of a large-breasted blonde waitress in a petite uniform—was auctioned in New York City for $567,500; the price set what was then a record for a work by a contemporary Japanese artist.