A look at the Warhol-like creations of Japan’s artful marketeer Takashi Murakami

It’s a cliché to call Takashi Murakami “Japan’s answer to Andy Warhol”, but there are some inescapable similarities between the hip Japanese artist and the iconic US figure. Warhol took everyday objects and repackaged them as high art. So does Murakami. Warhol had The Factory; Murakami has the Hiropon Factory.

Where they differ is that your average joe (or joan) can’t, for love or money, afford a Warhol. You can, however, own a piece of Murakami. Key chains, T-shirts, and, most famously, Louis Vuitton bags can all be bought with his distinctive designs. (You can even spot his work on Kanye West’s album, Graduation.)

Louis Vuitton bags can all be bought with his distinctive designs

“Superflat” is the name given to Murakami’s style. His output features paintings, sculptures, installations and films inspired by Japanese manga comics and anime cartoons.

Among the exhibits at one of his retrospective shows is the famous (or is that infamous?) Hiropon (1997), a figure of a Japanese girl jumping a rope created by milk spurting from her huge breasts.

Of course, not everyone is a fan. The Guardian critic Adrian Searle once described Murakami’s art as “self-consciously cute and nasty”. But as Murakami’s work becomes ever-more popular and commonplace, you can judge for yourself.

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Takashi Murakami’s colourful anime for Louis Vuitton