Japanese Pop Art

Interested in popular art from Japan? Read on to get the info on Japanese pop art as we take a look at some of the most important works of Japanese artists.

Pop art is a relatively new phenomenon that sprung up in Britain and U.S.A during the 1950s. This form of art took its inspiration from the popular mass culture which was quite an unorthodox approach as compared to the elite art world. Today any form of art that is influenced by the mainstream culture is referred to as pop art.

The question is what does pop art have to do with Japan? Well while Andy Warhol was busy creating pop art soup can labels in the U.S some Japanese artists began to take inspiration from this new school of thought and started their own pop art culture that was truly in a league of its own.

Perhaps the most prominent name of the pop art era in Japan is that of Keiichi Tanami. He graduated from the Musashino Art University and took up a job as a designer. His engagements in other activities forced him to leave his job and he became dedicated to exercising his creative muscles. He experimented with different mediums such as illustration, animation, lithograph and editorial design.

It was during the 60s that Tanami managed to get to New York where he met the pop art initiator Andy Warhol himself. It was clear that Tanami’s main source of inspiration was the work of Andy Warhol; especially the silk screens. Tanami then moved towards a more colorful and psychedelic style of pop art as he moved to San Francisco. He even got the chance to design an album cover for the famous band known as the Jefferson Airplane.

His psychedelic work drew inspirations from the dreams that he used to have or memories from his childhood. Some of his work was quite gruesome yet it attracted the interest of many people from all around the world.

Takashi Murakami is one of Japan’s more recent pop artists. He is specifically known for super flat art which blends traditional art with new concepts. Manga and Anime seem to be the main source of inspiration for Takashi. His work consists of flat planes with colorful images.

Contrary to the ark work of Andy Warhol who turned consumer products into works of art Murakami was turning art into consumer products. The fact that led him to do that was that not many Japanese people could afford high end art work despite their love for it hence he sought to create art work that was affordable for the masses. His artwork encompasses a wide array of mediums such as sculptures, paintings, toys, dolls, mannequins, videos, T-shirts and other such readily available products for customers.

Another prominent pop artist from Japan is Yoshimoto Nara who also derives his style from the same source as Murakami. His work is based around graffiti like painting. The characters in his art work are cute and childlike but at times they possess dark characteristics as well.

Needless to say pop art continues to be a commercially viable genre in today’s times as the Japanese artists continues to explore this psychedelic school of thought.

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