Writespiration: Takashi Murakami’s “Kansei Korin Gold”

Living in Chicago means you can see something spectacular on any given weeknight. Tuesday night was the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Takashi Murakami exhibit. For a casual art lover and music fiend like myself, the main attractions were the work he did for Kanye West’s “Graduation” album (see below); the multiple recreations of D.O.B., his twisted Mickey-Mouse-esque mascot (also below); and his full-wall murals that combine elements of traditional Japanese artists like Hokusai with modern creators like Hayao Miyazaki and Jim Henson in complex cities of activity.

But, as was probably intended by the curators, I left with a far different impression of the avant-garde Japanese artist’s work — and a new favorite that’s still got me thinking a day later.

Takashi Murakami's "Kensei Korin Gold," a circular screenprint with multicolored leaves and flowers.

Takashi Murakami’s “Kensei Korin Gold,” as seen at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

“Kensei Korin Gold” (above) is is far more spectacular in person than in a photo. The gold leaf background is textured with blobbish smiling skulls, and the black waves sparkle with orange glitter, as if Murakami colored them in with one of the Glitter Crayolas from my childhood. Each flower has a slightly different facial expression such as joy, dismay, sluggishness, shock, etc., which turn this from a standard ornamental Japanese print to something with fantasy and personality.

That’s the kind of detail, diversity and dichotomy I try to inject into my own work. Instead of screenprinting, I use screenwriting (and prose-writing, poem-writing, etc.) to try to create things that are, like “Kensei Korin Gold,” attractive from afar and downright mesmerizing up-close. Seeing how easily Murakami does this is both challenging and inspiring.

Takashi Murakami's art for Kanye West's "Graduation" album

Murakami’s cover art for Kanye West’s “Graduation” album. That small image glowing on my iPhone screen is nothing compared to the glossy original currently hanging at the MCA.

"Tan Tan Bo" by Takashi Murakami

“Tan Tan Bo” by Takashi Murakami — A version of his mascot, D.O.B., who is a visual combustion of Japanese and American animation.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s