Artist Q&A with Shinji Murakami
Shinji Murakami’s work springboards from the philosophy of Gunpei Yokoi, the famous inventor of Nintendo’s Game Boy, Lateral Thinking with Withered Technology. Withered technology in this context refers to a mature technology that is cheap and well-understood. In contrast, lateral thinking refers to finding radical new ways of using such technology. Yokoi held that toys and games do not necessarily require cutting-edge technology; novel and fun gameplay are more important. Murakami does not believe that profound human understanding has necessarily caught up to the explosive evolution of modern computer technology. Still, the pixelated expressions of 8-bit video games at the root of his work are one withered part of this evolutionary process. Murakami interrogates lateral thinking of this pixel. Working in wood, alkyd paint, and LED light, Murakami focuses on communicating his ideas to a broad audience. With the precision of a master craftsman, he renders universal motifs – flowers, puppies, hearts – in minimalism and pop, re-interpreting the aesthetics and context of each genre and reassessing their role within contemporary art. His practice is an ongoing search for simplification, removing more and more unnecessary elements and moving works into more ephemeral formats.
Who is your favorite artist of all time?
I love two great pop artists, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, and they are two of the biggest influences on my work. I am a self-taught artist who never attended art school or took any special classes. In my early twenties, I found a series of TASCHEN books in a bookstore for about $10 and bought books by those two, Mondrian, Picasso, and Basquiat. In those … Click here to read more