In 2003, the work of a goateed, often bow-tie wearing Japanese artist became the most sought after in the world, according to Art News.
Takashi Murakami was a Warhol for the modern age, blending high and low art as he pleased and then selling it on the market as paintings and sculptures but also key chains, watches, and T-shirts. Murakami drew inspiration from Japanese art forms like anime and manga to create a style called Superflat, which combines flat graphic imagery and colors to produce highly patterned images.
In 2007, Murakami was asked to design Superflat-style cover artwork for rapper Kanye West’s album “Graduation,” and by 2008, he was included in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.
Now, Murakami has been commissioned to create today’s Google Doodle of the summer solstice, the day in which the Earth and Moon are most tilted toward the sun.
Also known as Midsummer, the solstice holds spiritual significance to many neo-pagans, new agers, and curious travelers, some of whom travel all the way to Stonehenge to celebrate. Murakami’s doodle is called “First day of summer,” even though the summer solstice is the longest day, and shows colorful flowers smiling around anime-style gaping-mouthed heads.
See photos of the summer solstice here, and more of Murakami’s artwork below: