Routinely dubbed Japan’s Andy Warhol, Takashi Murakami has built his career upon a determined manipulation of cultural boundaries and the high-low totem pole has long been at the heart of Murakami’s aesthetic playground. Since rising to fame in the ‘90s, his graphic anime and manga cartoon style has gone on to span paintings, sculptures, drawings, animations and of course, very lucrative collaborations. It was Marc Jacobs, then creative director of Louis Vuitton who first tapped Murakami for his signature, fresh, youthful, and pop-inflected expression. Murakami was tasked to rework the monogram, and it was a colorful collaboration that continued for thirteen years.
Since then, Murakami has gone on to collaborate with the likes of Supreme, Vans, COMME des GARÇONS as well as bonafide fashion icons such as Kanye West and Pharrell. If you’re interested, take a look at the aesthete’s best collaborations here.
In a new interview with GQ Style, ahead of his latest career retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, titled “The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg,” the artist expands on his storied career at the juncture of art and fashion.
Peep an excerpt from the interview courtesy of GQ Style below and then head over to the magazine’s website to read the rest.
“As the most prolific collaborator with Louis Vuitton, do you feel you laid the groundwork for the Supreme x Louis Vuitton line?
I don’t think it was me, I think it was Marc Jacobs doing a collaboration with Steven Sprouse. That’s when the gate opened for these kinds of collaborations.”
“You mentioned that your collaboration with Louis Vuitton [under Marc Jacobs’s creative direction] came about by coincidence.
Right, just around that time I was doing a show in Paris at the Cartier Foundation, so Marc Jacobs saw the show and then contacted me. Probably it wasn’t that he was thinking about me for a long time and then approached me, but just that he was thinking about a broad idea and then saw the show in Paris, and that’s probably why he contacted me.”
“I’m curious if you still keep in touch with Marc, Kanye, and Pharrell.
Yes, the relationship is maintained in its own way in each case. With Pharrell we’ve been working together for a long time, just last year in November I worked with him on Complexcon, and then also aside from my relationship Pharrell has been working with [my gallery] Kaikai Kiki artist Mister, and that’s been a continuous collaborative project. As for Kanye, if I have a show somewhere he will go see it and then have a one-line message saying, Oh this is fresh!”
“I read somewhere that your Vans collab came around because you mentioned you wanted to do it in an interview. What do you want your next fashion collaboration to be?
I tend to be a little bit passive in terms of doing these kinds of projects, so I don’t actually have active desire or idea right now, but I love the collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Supreme, so I want to put my own character or something on that bag. Or I just want to have that bag.”
- Cover Image: GQ Style