5 Facts About Takashi Murakami

Google First Day of Summer 2011

Google First Day of Summer 2011

The Japanese visual artist is behind Tuesday's Summer Solstice Google homepage doodle.

The work of visual artist Takashi Murakami was exposed to a global audience Tuesday when his Summer Solstice doodle was featured on Google's homepage. The piece, called "First Day of Summer," features a rainbow of brightly colored smiley faces/flowers and two wide-eyed, open-mouthed characters flanking a pink coiled sun.

The image, along with a Southern Hemisphere version, was produced over a three month period by Murakami's Kaikai Kiki Gallery.

Murakami was born in 1963 in Toyko, and received his BFA, MFA and PhD from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music.

He has had recent solo shows at Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York (2003); Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris (2002); Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2001); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2001); and Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris (2001), according to his website.

1. Murakami's signature character is Mr. DOB.
The character changes forms and colors but it's basically a giant-eyed, grinning face with two ears -- one which has the letter D, one with the letter B.

2. He's founder and president of art collective Kaikai Kiki.
The business has studios outside of Toyko in Hiropon and in Brooklyn. Its goals as an enterprise, according to its website, include the production and promotion of artwork, the management and support of select young artists, general management of events and projects, and the production and promotion of merchandise.

3. He was one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" in 2008.
Murakami was the only visual artist to make the cut that year, notes Art Info.

4. He is credited with creating the style known as "Super Flat."
Influenced by manga and anime, the style features flattened forms in Japanese graphic art, animation, pop culture and fine arts.

5. Murakami collaborated with Marc Jacobs to create handbags and other products for Louis Vuitton.