Murakami Tells io9 About His Secret Love For J.J. Abrams

We had a chance to see the amazingly eye-blistering @ Murakami exhibit in Los Angeles a couple of months ago before they packed everything up and headed to Brooklyn. The same exhibit is now on display at the Brooklyn Museum until July 13th, and is definitely worth checking out. We nabbed a few moments with Takashi Murakami and found out about his influences, his impressions of the show, and how his brain works when he's creating something. Check out our interview down below.


The @Murakami show in Los Angeles had huge numbers of visitors, were you surprised at the large turnout? The line on the final weekend stretched for blocks.

Yes, I was very pleased. It's all thanks to the chief curator Paul, as well as all the others involved. I'm praying that everything goes the same way at Brooklyn too. The expectations of the audience are exploding now, much like in the music industry in the 1970s. In order to meet their expectations, I've got no choice but to keep on running.

You've worked with many medium: sculptures, paintings, animation, the Vuitton purses, etc. What do you enjoy working with the most?

The collaboration I did with Mr. Marc Jacobs was really fun. "Monogrammoflauge," the most recent collaboration, came out of a conversation that I had with Marc Jacobs where I said that I'd like to do something original for the retrospective. The exchange of idea; the process that yields something real in the end. Everything is exciting.

There is a chance to experience an unfamiliar work process when you collaborate with a different industry, and therefore it is extremely exciting. I'm having fun working on my animation right now. That's because I'm excited about the completely new working process of controlling time. Work that takes you into worlds of new media or products. In that moment, as a creator, you are able to experience the pleasure of synapses in your brain linking together in a matter of seconds.

Do you have any specific science fiction influences to your work? Any movies or television shows you grew up watching?

I loved "Galaxy Express 999". When I saw the scene depicting Planet Maetel's collapse, I was moved from the bottom of my heart, and made the decision to work in the field of anime. Also, the amount of influence that the appearance of Star Wars exerted on my generation is tremendous.

I felt sympathetic to the revolution that George Lucas started, and my work has become a re-enactment of that sort of revolution in the art scene.

The S.M.P.ko² piece looks very anime-inspired. Did you draw from any particular project for that?

S.M.P.ko² was a continuation of my figure project, which included Miss ko², Hiropon and My Lonesome Cowboy. All of these characters were thickly wrapped in what I see as particularly Japanese psycho-sexual complexes.

The Tan Tan Bo piece is huge in scale, how did you conceive that piece and finally finish it?

In New Year's of the year that I finished this piece, I was struck with my first spasm of gout. The joint in my toe hurt so much it felt like it had been struck by a hammer, and I truly felt death and the aging of my muscles.

In that moment, I saw the art world's insistence on contextualization as something completely unnecessary, and felt that I needed to make a more honest work that was closer to me, and decided to project myself onto DOB, my imaginary character, and express living pain through him.

The My Lonesome Cowboy and Hiropon pieces stand out as shockingly sexual among your other works. What has been the reaction to them?

It was so positive you'd be surprised. I feel that the fact that I was able to make my debut in America is thanks to those pieces.

Has there ever been any talk of adopting any of your pieces of art into film or tv projects?

I'm already working on one right now. It's an animation called "Kaikai & Kiki." Two episodes of the animation are now on display at Brooklyn Museum as part of the exhibit. I'm also working on a live action movie.

What artists do you enjoy?

Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Hayao Miyazaki.

Where do you do most of your work?

I work at both Kaikai Kiki's office and studio in Japan, and at our office and studio in Queens.

Has anything changed in the show from Los Angeles to Brooklyn? Will anything be different?

There is a new episode of the Kaikai & Kiki animation, new designs in the Louis Vuitton shop, and some new wallpaper and floor paper, created especially for the Brooklyn space.

Main image is:

727-727, 2006
Acrylic on canvas mounted on board
3000 x 4500 x 70 mm (3 panels)
Courtesy Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
©2006 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.