“I am a geek,” says Takashi Murakami. On a video call from his hometown Tokyo, the Japanese contemporary artist is contemplating the impacts of recent global events on his personal life, and on his work. “I stay in my studio all day, all the time,” he says. When worldwide travel bans and local lockdowns forced several of his planned gallery exhibitions to be postponed, Murakami rejoiced in the time this schedule-reordering had suddenly freed up. “This is a very nice change,” he says of the pause to his peripatetic lifestyle. “I stepped back.”
And so, instead of boarding long-haul flights, installing shows or finishing new artworks – Murakami creates across painting, sculpture, prints and film – to itinerary, the artist instead caught up on television. Netflix, Amazon Prime and the Disney Channel, he tells me, are among recent favourites. Gaming, the evolution of virtual reality and everyone spending more time in front of screens at home are all developments that have led Murakami to wonder whether to adapt recent artworks to reflect a new reality. “I want to communicate with people.”
One way Murakami has stayed connected is on Instagram. It was via social media that he discovered the work of emerging artists, and that he shared his own news. It’s Murakami’s Instagram posts which reveal that while his schedule cleared up, he continued to create prolifically, and with fervour.
Previously nicknamed “Japan’s answer to Andy Warhol”, Murakami and his…