Wednesday, July 1

Kawaii Master

A style of art and design prominent in Japan since the 1970's, known as "kawaii" (Japanese for cuteness) has become hugely prevalent in Japanese culture in everything from advertising to clothing, furniture, even behavior. It is a style that has widely embraced by both the young and adult.

In art, probably the most famous of artists working in this style is Takashi Murakami. His paintings, done in a technique called "super-flat", can almost take on a digitally printed look, but are brush painted in acrylics often on a massive scale. Murakami's works show a surreal kawaii cuteness, but range from the cuddly to an ironic violence.

His work has attained world wide fame and has led his design company "KaiKai KiKi" to high profile collaborations such as handbag patterns for Louis Vuitton. In 2008 he was listed in Time Magazine's "100 most influential people".

I was lucky to see one of his giant paintings at the Museum of Fine Art, Boston and I was blown away by the beauty and boldness of the piece. I love Murakami's art for the endless variety of imagination it represents.

{top image is from, bottom image from}

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