There are many artists who have contributed a lot to the field of art. The artists have produced different types of art works and the paintings have had different impact on people life. For instance, Takashi Mukarami has contributed a lot in the field of art in Japan. Takashi Mukarami is a Japanese artist who works fine art media like painting and digital and commercial media. Takashi Mukarami artwork has inspired many people in the world. Mukarami was inspired mainly by anime and manga to create his paintings. In addition Mukarami work was inspired by Japanese comics and the cartoon like characters with large eyes and large body parts. Most of the Mukarami work is decorated using different things like flowers and colorful mushrooms. Mukarami work has eliminated barriers to Fine art in the country.
The Japanese art industry was doing badly before the emergency of Mukarami in the art industry. Mukarami helped change the Japanese art industry by introducing low art. Mukarami has employed large staffs who help him in designing his work. Some of the Mukarami work is high priced creations meant for the gallery and art collectors. In addition, Mukarami produces art work for marketing like T-shirts and key chains. Mukarami belongs to many movements. For example, Mukarami is classified as a pop artist as he belongs to the pop art movement. In addition Mukarami belongs to the super flat movement and neo pop movement in the country.
Like many pop artists, Mukarami has been inspired by cartoons, bill board advertisements and consumer goods to create his advertisement. Mukarami has added most of his trademarks into his designs. In addition, Takashi Mukarami blends high and low arts. High arts are kind of artwork seen in the museums and galleries. On the other hand, low art is a kind of work seen in cartoons and advertisements. Takashi Mukarami gets popular theme from the mass media and popular culture and develops the themes into sculptures. Also, Takashi develops the themes into super flat paintings and commercial goods that can be marketed like figurines and phone caddies. This paper analyzes Takashi Mukarami education background, career and works.
Takashi Mukarami has a strong education background and a lot of achievements. Mukarami was born in TokyoJapan in 1962. Mukarami parents and the environment inspired him to become an artist. Mukarami was raised in a household that valued art. For example, his brother, Yuji valued art and he became an artist. In addition, Mukarami was exposed to many features of the American life as his father worked at the American Naval base (Cruz,A.,Mukarami,T.,Matsui,M.,&Centre for curatorial studies museum 1999).
He also learned from the western society and Japanese popular culture. The western society and the Japanese popular culture inspired his outlook. The western society like American popular culture influenced Mukarami career as an artist. He learned new techniques from the movies and Music that were imported. For instance, Mukarami confessed to an interview magazine in 2001 how he had been influenced by Steven Spielberg. For example, he learned how to develop films that incorporate tension (Cruz,A.,Mukarami,T.,Matsui,M.,&Centre for curatorial studies museum 1999).
Additionally, Mukarami learned the way of fine art from Europe and America .He argued that very few people visit the museum as many people visit the movie threats. People consider the museum to be outdated. Thus, this inspired Mukarami to do Fine art. Mukarami got his bachelors degree in fine arts in 1986 from the National Universxity of Fine Art and Music (Cruz,A.,Mukarami,T.,Matsui,M.,&Centre for curatorial studies museum 1999).
After that, Mukarami continued with his studies in the National University of Fine Art and music and in 1988, he got his masters degree. In 1993, Mukarami got his doctorate degree in fine arts from the same university. While studying Nihonga in the University, Mukarami wondered if the style was useful in Japan. Nihonga is a mixture of western painting styles and Eastern painting styles. Mukarami did not believe in Nihonga and he claimed that it was irrelevant to the Japanese life. Mukarami wanted to create something that would impress every one and Nihonga would not help him achieve his dream. In 1990, Mukarami began painting and started teaching students. At the same time, he worked on the traditional style he had studied in the National university for Fine arts and music. During this time, Mukarami was interested in manga and anime and also Kawaii meaning cuteness. He sought different ways to incorporate the styles in his work so as to make valuable paintings (Cruz,A.,Mukarami,T.,Matsui,M.,&Centre for curatorial studies museum 1999).
Also, he was interested in animation and comic as it would change the face of Japanese art market greatly. The traditional Japanese art encourages artists to blend western and Eastern (Cruz, A., Mukarami, T., Matsui, M., &Centre for curatorial studies museum 1999). The western paintings are designed according to the western techniques .The artists use western material’s to design such paintings. Yoga encompasses different types of paintings. For example, it includes oil painting, water colors and pastel. Also, it includes ink sketches, lithography and etching and other techniques that are developed according to western culture (Cruz,A.,Mukarami,T.,Matsui,M.,&Centre for curatorial studies museum 1999).
The term was developed during the Mediji period to differentiate indigenous traditional Japanese’s paintings from western paintings. The European painting were introduced during the late Murochami period together with Christiania missionaries .Most of the religious works developed by Japanese artists were an imitation of works that were brought by the missionaries (Whittaker 2008).
Takashi Mukarami developed western paintings before discovering other traditional Japanese paintings. He changed from Western paintings to traditional Japanese paintings as the anime and manga became popular. This was Japanese styles of animation and comic (Whittaker 2008). Anime is an animation that started in Japan. Anime like manga began in 1917 as types of Japanese animation. The original Japanese animation involved cartoons. During this time anime had a large audience in Japan and in the entire world. Distributors were able to produce anime through televisions, video, in theaters and online. Apart from anime, the manga was also popular during this time (Whittaker 2008).
Manga is a term used to refer to paintings that consists of comic and printed cartoons. Manga started after the second world war and it has been evident for many years in the Japanese culture. Manga includes a lot of things like action adventure and romance (Whittaker 2008). Since, 1950, manga has dominated the Japanese culture and become a major part of the publishing industry in the country (Whittaker 2008).
After the emergency of anime and manga ,Mukarami became disappointed by the western paintings and he became interested in Otaku culture (Whittaker 2008). This is because the Otaku culture was a more modern representation of the Japanese life. This forced Mukarami to establish the super flat style. Most people have credited Mukarami for developing the style. Mukarami developed the style from Poku as he wanted to represent Poku culture. Mukarami argued that animation could help create a new culture in the country. The new culture could transform the current Japanese art scene into a new scene. Mukarami claimed that the Japanese art market was not reliable and sustainable after the war. In addition, he argued that people in the country had low interest in art and this affected the art industry in the country (Whittaker 2008).
Mukarami wanted to transform art into non fine art media. As a result, Mukarami started focusing on the market growth and marketing it overseas so as to overcome the negative effects from the war. In 1990s the Japanese art market was experiencing changes that resulted from Tokyo economic boom in late 1980s. Modern art was focusing on young people aged 20.Most artists targeted the young people as they provided ready market. Most artists like Mukarami wanted every one to enjoy art and he hoped to accomplish this through low art and by transforming the art market. This forced Mukarami to venture into blending high art and low art so as to meet public demand (Whittaker 2008).
Movement which Takashi Mukarami belonged
Mukarami belonged to several movements. For example, Mukarami belonged to pop art movement. Pop art movement was a movement developed in Britain in mid 1950s.The movement also emerged in United States in late 1950s. Pop art is a movement established before the postmodern art. The pop art movement was aimed at challenging traditions that opposed use of fine art. The movement argued that the use of mass media to produce visual goods of popular culture is inline with fine art (Whittaker 2008).
The advocates of the movement argued that pop removes the necessary material from its context and isolates the object. Also, pop combines the object with other objects. Pop culture is made up of several elements. For example, pop culture is made up of mass culture like advertising, comic books and cultural objects. Pop culture uses different popular images to convey the message. It also allows artists to use mechanical means to produce images and other techniques. Most of the pop art is incongruent as the concepts used make it difficulty for many people to understand (Whittaker 2008).
Further, pop art uses imagery used in advertising. For example, artists use imagery to develop product labels and logos. For instance, Andy waholl has incorporated pop culture in his work the “Campbell tomato Juice box” and this has made his work popular (Whittaker 2008). Andy work involves repetition of one image with small changes. For example, Andy has repeated one image in his “32 Campbell soup cans. Apart from repeating the same image, Andy has also used mass media techniques to produce his work instead of using hands. Most pop artists like Mukarami have borrowed images from the mass media like televisions and used them to transform art in the country. The artists have used mass media techniques to produce their work instead of hands (Whittaker 2008).
Pop art has become common in many countries like Japan and Italy. Pop art in Japan is evidenced by the regular subjects and styles used by the artists. Majority of the pop artists in Japan have taken inspiration from anime and Ukiyo-e. Additionally, the pop artists have taken inspiration from the traditional Japanese art. Takashi Mukarami is the most popular pop artist in Japan (Whittaker 2008).
Mukarami is also a member of the super flat movement together with his group, Kaikai Kiki. Mukarami group of artists, Kaikai kiki are known in the world for production of super flats. The super flat movement is inspired by the Japanese culture and the anime (Repole 2003). The movement has mainly targeted the youths in the country and has had great impact on the country. The artists in the country differ in many ways. For example, some of the artists are famous for their graffiti inspired art like Yoshitomo Nara. Other artists like Mukarami are famous because of the mass produced plastics. Most of the pop artists in Japan use obscene and shocking images in their work.
The images are mainly taken from the Japanese henntai (Repole 2003). Most pop artists use children as subjects in their work. For instance, Nara and Aya takano have used children as the main subjects in their work. Nara uses children in the work to show anger and rebellion. On the other hand Takano uses children to show their innocence. For example, he uses nude girls to convey his message (Repole 2003).
Mukarami used the term super flat to refer to flattened Japanese graphic arts and animation. Also, the term is used to refer to the pop culture and fine art. It is also used to describe the emptiness of the consumer culture in Japan. The artist has used the term to describe consumer attitude and behaviors and sex fetishism in Japanese culture after the war (Repole 2003).
Additionally, Takashi Mukarami belongs to the Neo pop movement. The Neo pop movement is a post modern art movement that was established in 1980s.The term is used to refer to artists that were influenced by pop art (Repole 2003). There are many artists who were influenced by pop art like Jeff Koons, Sam Havatgoy etc .In 2000, the artwork of Mukarami was also categorized as Neo pop. This is because Mukarami work is influenced by pop culture (Repole 2003).
For example, Mukarami uses anime and manga in his work. The artist also borrows several popular themes from the mass media and uses them to develop his artwork. For instance, Mukarami has incorporated popular themes in his low arts and high arts. Mukarami has included his popular themes when designing T-shirts, Handbags and key chains. The movements have shaped Takashi Mukarami career as a designer as they have enabled him include different subcultures in his work (Repole 2003).
Mukarami started his career as a traditional artist. Mukarami appeared in the Japanese art scene in early 1990s as a member of the Neo pop group. After that Mukarami created works that incorporated the Japanese animation and comic (Repole 2003). Mukarami invented the super flat style of art. The style deals with production of entertainment using the media. The style also shows how culture affects beauty. Mukarami began working in 1991 where he established the Signboard Tamiya which is a huge multi plane canvas. Since 1991, Mukarami has produced both low art and high art. Mukarami wanted to transform the traditional art in the country to new art. The traditional art did not support use of cartoons and comic when painting. On the other hand, low art supported use of cartoons and comic (Mukarami, Schimmel, Hebdige &Museum of contemporary art (Los Angeles, Calif) 2007).
In addition, Mukarami has worked as a fashion designer. Mukarami entered the fashion field after he started working with Marc Jacobs. After joining Marc Jacobs, Mukarami and Jacob designed prints for Louis Vuitton hand bag. Most people have accused Mukarami of blending art and commerce. This is because Mukarami produced his work in toy series, T-shirts and also worked hard to transform the art market .However, Mukarami did not give up, but he continued to develop his work. He argued that people in Japans understood his work, but people in the US could not. People in the west did not allow designers to blend art and commerce, but people in Japan allowed designers to blend art and commerce (Mukarami, Schimmel, Hebdige &Museum of contemporary art (Los Angeles, Calif) 2007).
Though Mukarami was well Known in United States and his home country, the successful hand bag designs in Louis Vuitton in 2003 made him a celebrity in Japan. Most people appreciated his designs. The Mukarami designs shaped the future and public image of the Louis Vuitton company as many people purchased the handbags(Mukarami, Schimmel, Hebdige &Museum of contemporary art (Los Angeles, Calif) 2007). This in turn increased profits in the company. The number of customers increased within one year. This forced the company to develop more handbags so as to meet the high demand for the hand bags. The sales for the Mukarami bags constituted ten percent of the companies revenue in year .In 2003, the sales in the company were $300 million. Mukarami established various studios in different parts so as to create paintings, sculpture (Mukarami, Schimmel, Hebdige &Museum of contemporary art (Los Angeles, Calif) 2007).
Mukarami has good experience in designing and fine art (Mukarami, Schimmel, Hebdige &Museum of contemporary art (Los Angeles, Calif) 2007). In his studio, Mukarami begins by sketching a design and the scans the design using a computer. After that ,he refines the picture on the screen and selects the colors and adds trademark images. For instance, Mukarami has included the trade marks in various designs like the signboards and handbags. The designer has included the Mushrooms, happy blossoms and eyeballs in many of his designs. The trade marks are selected from a digital clip file when preparing the designs.
After that the designer prints the picture on a paper. Then the designer begins to paint the picture. The assistants in the company use acrylic paints to paint the paintings. Mukarami has worked in his studios as a supervisor and as a designer. Though, the assistants in the studio do the painting, Mukarami also oversees the process. For instance, he oversees the assistants as they paint and put the painting on a canvas. This method has enabled Mukarami to produce images that are flat and two dimensional(Mukarami, Schimmel, Hebdige &Museum of contemporary art (Los Angeles, Calif) 2007).
Further, Mukarami contributed to the designating of the LV logo. The LV logo was printed in signature brown color. Mukarami changed how the LV logo was designed. The logo was designed using bright colors and better prints than before. This changed the face of the lobo. Mukarami applied his trademark to the logo design to make it appealing. For example, Mukarami used bright and fresh colors on the design. He also included some signature images. Like other designs ,Mukarami included the wide open cartoon eyes when designing the logo(Mukarami, Schimmel, Hebdige &Museum of contemporary art (Los Angeles, Calif) 2007).
Apart from being a designer, Mukarami has also worked as an artist. He has produced a wide range of artwork from 1991 to date. For example, Mukarami produced the Tan Tan Bao, Tan Tan Pucking and the Kaikai Kiki. The artist used the artwork to express the Japanese cultured. For example, some of the artworks conveyed messages about tension and misuse of children. Most of the art works were produced using the method described above (Mukarami, Schimmel, Hebdige &Museum of contemporary art (Los Angeles, Calif) 2007).
Moreover, Mukarami has had solo shows in different places since he started his career as an artist. For example, in 2003 he had shows in Marianne Boesky Gallery located in New York. Also, he had shows in 2002 in the foundation Cartier Pourl art contemporain in Paris. Other shows include the shows in the museum of contemporary art in Tokyo and Museum of Fine arts in Boston. In addition, Mukarami is also a curator as he has helped preserve his culture by preserving paintings that symbolize Japanese culture.. Also, Mukarami is an entrepreneur as he has established studios to produce his designs as stated above.
Description of the artwork
Mukarami super flat style is characterized by various things. For example, the style is characterized by flats planes of color and graphic images that involve character styles gotten from anime and manga. Super flat style analyzes the otaku lifestyle and the subculture. It also talks about consumerism and sexual fetishism (Mukarami, Schimmel, and Hebdige &Museum of contemporary art (Los Angeles, Calif) 2007). Mukarami has incorporated different culture into his work. For example, he has incorporated low culture and high culture in his work. Takashi Mukarami like Andy Warhol has taken low culture and repackaged it and sold it to the highest bidders in the art market.
He has also made the repackaged low culture available to all other markets in different ways. For instance, the low culture is available in form of paintings and sculptures (Mukarami, Schimmel, Hebdige &Museum of contemporary art (Los Angeles, Calif) 2007). It is also available in form of videos, T- shirts and cell phone caddies. In addition, the culture is available inform of key chains, mouse pads and plus doll. Lastly, Mukarami low culture is available at Louis Vuitton handbags. Mukarami has sold his low arts in store fronts like Claes Oldenburg sold his low art and high art pieces in his store front in 1960s (Mukarami, Schimmel, Hebdige &Museum of contemporary art (Los Angeles, Calif) 2007).
Mukarami produced his low arts using different methods from other artists. Also, Mukarami does not sell his work in one store front like many artists, but he sells them in many stores. For example, Mukarami displays his work in toy stores, candy aisles and comic book stores. He also displays his work in the French design house of Louis Vuitton. Mukarami has marketed his work in the western countries and Japan in from of Kaikai Kiki and GEISAL (Mukarami, Schimmel, Hebdige &Museum of contemporary art (Los Angeles, Calif) 2007).
Mukarami has developed different types of artwork. For example, Mukarami developed the Kanye west album graduation. Kanye west collaborated with Takashi Mukarami to design the cover art for the album that was released by Kanye west in September 11 2007 (Mukarami, Schimmel, Hebdige &Museum of contemporary art (Los Angeles, Calif) 2007).The artwork is characterized by cartoon creatures that appear friendly and happy at fist and then become dark. The album artwork expresses Mukarami interest in anime and manga as it has colorful image (Yamaguchi 2007). The art work has incorporated an education theme that was expressed by Kanye west in a previous album. The artist has used visual plotline of the images and line notes to show the graduation ceremony that took place in a fictional college located in the universe city.
Mukarami claims that the cover of the album is based on Kanye life as a student. This is because students in school have various dreams and have to over come problems to achieved the dreams. Also, students experience problems and meet other races. Kanye has also experienced similar problems like other students. Thus, the reason he used the pictures to show Kanye life in school (Mukarami &Cartier 2002). The story line of the Kanye west graduation artwork revolves around the “Dropout bear”. The Drop out bear has to overcome many challenges so as to arrive at the campus in time for the graduation ceremony.
In this case, the “Drop out bear” represents Kanye West as he tries to struggle to arrive in school early for the ceremony (Mukarami &Cartier 2002). The dropout bear” leaves the house to the car on a rainy day and it does not make it to the ceremony as the car engine fails. The “Drop out bear” looks for alternative means of transport like a cab (Mukarami &Cartier 2002).Also; the “Drop out bear” misses the rail. Despite all the problems, the “drop out bear” arrives at school and attends the graduation ceremony. The story ends when the drop out bear is released to the sky. This is shown on the back cover of the album. Hence, the artwork shows the combination of amines and manga (Mukarami &Cartier 2002).
Takashi Mukarami work has inspired many people in the world because of high quality. Mukarami has helped transform the traditional Japanese art to fine art. The artist argues that the traditional Japanese culture does not allow artists to use cartoons and comic. The low art allows artists to use comic and cartoons in their work. Mukarami interest in low art was inspired by the emergency of the anime and manga styles. This forced Mukarami to study Yoga in the university. Though many people did not value fine art, Mukarami did not stop studying fine art. Also, Mukarami was inspired by his family to become an artist. His father exposed him to American movies and music. This in turn helped Mukarami gain knowledge about fine art. After finishing his studies. Mukarami worked as a designer in the Louis vention. He helped design different kinds of bags. Mukarami incorporated his trade mark when designing the handbags. This in turn increased the sales in the company as the demand for Mukarami handbags increased.
In addition, Mukarami helped design the LV logos by changing the colors. Mukarami replaced the original, colors with brighter colors. He also added his trademarks in the Logo. For example, Mukarami added cartoons as trade marks in the logo. Mukarami has also good experience in art. He has developed various types of art works like the Tan Tan Bao and the Tan Tan pucking. Mukarami designs have become acceptable in different countries as people have started appreciating fine art. He is also a member of several movements like Neo pop, Pop art and Super flat.