Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg

A retrospective exhibition on Murakami at Vancouver Art Gallery

TakashiMurakami-04.jpg

Takashi Murakami Tan Tan Bo Puking - a.k.a. Gero Tan, 2002 acrylic on canvas mounted on board

Vancouverites, you may have spotted the huge coloured octopus adorning the roof of the Vancouver Art Gallery on your walks along Georgia Street. So what is said larger than life creature? -it's a new major public artwork from Takashi Murakami, a Japanese contemporary artist, whose retrospective is happening right now at VAG. It’s as if Murakami’s work is crawling out of the gallery space enticing us to come inside.

Takashi Murakami Kansei Gold, 2008 acrylic and gold leaf on canvas

Kicking off the spring season in style, Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg is in fact the first ever major retrospective of Takashi Murakami’s work showcased in Canada. Micro Macro, on the hunt for visual intrigue, entered the world of Takashi Murakami for an immersive art experience; just like stepping inside Murakami’s creative, eccentric brain.

Murakami's huge canvases present a massive scale that is truly awe-inspiring, and fills the white gallery space with vibrant brilliant colour, creating a strong impact.

TakashiMurakami-05.jpg

Takashi Murakami Flowers, flowers, flowers, 2010 acrylic and platinum leaf on canvas mounted on aluminium frame

Featuring over 55 impressive paintings and sculptures, the work makes up a colourful frenzy of energy. Taking a closer look at Murakami’s pieces you can truly value the artist’s role as a cultural commentator with works offering a serious engagement on issues affecting Japan and the larger world today, from media culture to globalisation to the threats of nuclear power.

TakashiMurakami-01 (1).jpg

Takashi Murakami 727, 1996 acrylic on canvas mounted on board

We took a journey through 3 decades of Murakami’s art from his earliest mature work right through to present day. It was compelling to see the evolution in his designs. We were particularly taken by the 1990s distinctive, anime-influenced style known as Superflat with signature animated flowers. On your visit, keep an eye out for the iconic character Mr. DOB, a self-portrait, who features in some of the works.

Along with Nihonga-style paintings, we were met with huge menacing demon-like sculptures, cartoonish with flared nostrils, who took an ominous presence in the gallery.

Takashi Murakami Embodiment of “Um”, 2014 FRP, stainless steel, zelkova wood, and acrylic

Takashi Murakami Embodiment of “A”, 2014 FRP, stainless steel, zelkova wood, and acrylic

Takashi Murakami’s dedication to exquisite craftsmanship and fun pop aesthetics made for a unique, dynamic showcase. It was a real pleasure to get an insight into the imagination of this influential and visionary artist.

The exhibition closes May 6th so make sure to get yourself down to the gallery. You don’t want to miss out on this vibrant frenzy of colour, a little escapism is good for the soul!

About Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami was born in 1962 in Tokyo, Japan. He studied at Tokyo University of the Arts, Japan, where he received his BFA in 1986, his MFA in 1988, and his Ph.D. in 1993. He is the founder of the art production and management company Kaikai Kiki, which evolved from its predecessor, the Hiropon Factory founded in 1996. 

Murakami is well known for his high-profile projects with brands such as Louis Vuitton, VANS, shu uemura, Issey Miyake, Lucien Pellat-Finet, Roppongi Hills and ComplexCon, as well as collaborations with musicians such as Kanye West and Pharrell Williams.

 

Images courtesy of Vancouver Art Gallery.

http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/

New York, be my Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day

62a022b8-928e-4086-ab14-877966bea0ba.JPG

So, it’s Valentine’s day…. and whilst the world embraces this commercialized holiday with red roses and chocolates or rather Instagram worthy spa weekends and design-your-own-jewellery, I want to go back to grassroots with a simple old-fashioned love letter, an ode if you will. But who will I address it to? New York City!

Haven’t you ever fallen in love with a place?

My recent trip to New York Fashion Week with Micro Macro was jam-packed with runway events. But in my off- schedule moments, taking a breath between shows, I got to spend time exploring the city and taking in the energy of the place. After decoding the public transport system, it seemed the city was full of open-ended possibility. From trawling through vintage stores to gazing upwards at the gargantuan towering buildings kissing the sky, I found myself in a new world.

The city is like a playground, alive with sound and movement. The activity and commotion on the streets allows for endless discovery. In New York people-watching is like a refined sport, you can get lost in it. I often thought about all the stories taking place across the city in any given moment, all the lives meshed together, tied with the common ground that they share. It's extraordinary.

47c4b85a-295f-4f16-a942-24a4f19a81ae.JPG

Although this was just a blip in time, the lively atmosphere of the city gave a lasting impression. The rush, the sounds, the people...New York, I love you.

Images by Ryo Nozaki

NOBODY IS PERFECT

An Italian eatery in New York.

IMG_8419.JPG

New York Fashion Week is a hectic time. Darting about from runway to runway can often leave you feeling tired and in need of a quick pick-me-up. During our fashion week frenzy we made a happy discovery of a cozy East Village brunch spot to refresh and renew in between shows.

The strength of the menu really caught our attention- a choice of a Classic or Bottomless brunch with all you can drink Mimosas and Bloody Mary's! From Buttermilk Pancakes, Brioche French Toast, to Brick Oven Purgatorio Eggs, there is a wide selection of mouthwatering bites to choose from. The Eggs Scandinavian was a delight with smoked salmon, tangy dressing on salad greens, and eggs with beautiful molten yokes and creamy sauce. The food is fresh and tasty, reflecting the company’s ‘farm to table’ approach. In house Italian chef Pasquale Osterico was born and raised in Napoli and is dedicated to celebrating natural flavours and delivering fresh ingredients to the table.

The fun staff and bottomless drinks make for a warm, lighthearted atmosphere. If you find yourself in East Village, Manhattan, we recommend a quick bite at 235 East 4th Street. The décor is homely and eclectic with mismatched dining chairs and exposed bricks, fully expressing the concept of perfection in imperfection...after all Nobody is Perfect.

 

https://www.nobodyisperfectnyc.com/

Images by Ryo Nozaki.

FILM REVIEW: A PERFECT 14

A film about women reshaping the world.

Where? A film preview at the historic Cultch Theatre in Vancouver, a red carpet event with local influencers, media, film industry and fashion models including the main subjects of the film.

What? The first film of its kind, a feature length documentary about plus-sized models.

With a focus on 3 plus-sized models from around the world (Elly Mayday -Canada, Laura Wells- Australia, and Kerosene Deluxe-The Netherlands), A Perfect 14 follows personal journeys whilst taking a broader look at the harsh beauty standards in the modelling industry.

At some parts cutting and emotional, the film really makes you feel for these women and the struggles they overcome. A Perfect 14 grips you in showing you elements of culture that you're not normally exposed to, going behind the scenes and shedding light on issues prevalent in the industry.

A Perfect 14-Still-002.png

Being excluded from the world of ‘human coat hangers’ or the industry standard of 34"-24"-34", these women have faced discrimination in their work and personal life, but as their stories unfold we watch them overcoming ever more challenges. As the filmmakers Giovanna Morales Vargas and James Earl O’Brien explain at the preview event, their shooting style is very raw and unscripted, so they were not entirely sure what to expect or what drama was going to unfold in A Perfect 14.

During the filming Elly Mayday, a Canadian Plus-sized model from Saskatchewan, was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer. As viewers we get a glimpse into her journey from recovery to runway. It is incredibly inspiring to watch Elly embrace the baldness and the scars, really solidifying her mantra to be happy with your body the way that it is, and to believe in yourself. The film ends with Elly fulfilling her dream of becoming a model in New York. Her story feels so touching as it’s so genuine, and plagued with difficulties.

A Perfect 14-Still-019.png
“Women are as strong as hell”-Elly Mayday
A Perfect 14-Still-021.png

Another palpable feeling we sense in watching this doc is frustration. Ironically, plus-sized model Laura Wells explains how on shoots she often resorts to wearing ‘fat pads’ to fill out her size 14 body to a size 16 (UK), adding to her stomach and thighs. On these occasions, her body isn’t deemed large enough for ‘plus size’. This sense of irony is also illustrated through Elly’s story, when as her cancer treatment takes its toll, and she loses weight, some plus-sized model fans condemn her, exclaiming through social media that she is now too skinny. Through this turn of events, the message of the documentary runs clear, you have to foster your own source of self-love. As plus-sized model Kerosene Deluxe explains ‘we don’t need validation from other people to feel self-worth’ encouraging the audience at the Cultch, to practice ‘radical self-love as a form of anarchy’.

A Perfect 14-Still-007.png

A Perfect 14 is an incredible reflection of the strength of these women, showing us how to be warriors, how to be strong. We see the beauty of imperfection fully realised. The film also demonstrates the positive side of Social Media as a network to boost our sense of personal wellbeing, to look out for one another, and to come together to make a change for a more inclusive industry.

Kerosene Deluxe’s top tip for a boost of self-love- 'make a list of things that make you, you!'

How do you foster your feelings of self-love?

Film stills courtesy of http://www.aperfect14.com/