Takashi Murakami

Kid Cudi, Takashi Murakami, and Kanye West at the artist’s studio.
Photo courtesy of Takashi Murakami via Instagram

Takashi Murakami knows how to have a good time and he knows how to share the cheer. He’s done album covers for Kanye West and Kid Cudi, teamed up with renowned companies like Louis Vuitton and mentors young artists through his Kaikai Kiki company.

Murakami has just announced his collaboration with the Japanese icon, Hello Kitty.

The Panda paintings of Murakami are some of his most recognizable works. Murakami is known as the Warhol of Japan because of his mixture of high and low art. It’s probable that his Hello Kitty collaboration will include fashion and accessories, much like his Panda works.

His superflat style, the style he created, has a universal appeal. Superflat Monogram: Panda & his friends is one of his featured works in our gallery.

Sam Francis in Japan

Sam Francis in Santa Monica, 1986
Photo by Jerry Sohn

Called “the hottest American painter in Paris” in a 1956 Time Magazine article, California-born artist Sam Francis traveled the world and had studios in Paris, the south of France, Tokyo, Mexico City, Bern, and New York. He was married five times, twice to Japanese artists. In 1970, Francis opened his own printmaking shop in Santa Monica.

His work had a profound influence on abstract and color field painters in America, although, unlike most other painters, he immersed himself in the culture of Japan and lived and worked there throughout much of his life. In 2010, a 1957 painting titled Middle Blue was sold at auction for $6,354,500, a record for the artist.

Francis died in Santa Monica in 1994, at age 71, the same year he was elected to the National Academy of Design.

A new book by art critic and curator Richard Speer looks at the influence that Japanese culture had on Francis’ work. The Space of Effusion: Sam Francis in Japan was published in conjunction with the upcoming exhibit of Francis’ work at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Sam Francis and Japan: Emptiness Overflowing  was scheduled for 2020-21, showing over 60 artworks. Because of the ongoing pandemic the show has been postponed.

Yoshitomo Nara

Also postponed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is a retrospective of the art of beloved Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara, whose works are available at VFA.

Yoshitomo Nara. 2016

Nara grew up as a latchkey kid in rural Japan. Music, especially Western punk rock, was the background of his childhood.

Yoshitomo Nara
Doggy Radio, 2011
Polymer Plastic Sculpture/Radio-Touch Sensitive Volume, Nose Tuner Dial
Bluetooth/USB, Yamaha Lab Speaker System
13H X 17W X 8.5D inches
Edition of 3000
For sale at VFA

He collected American albums and, although he didn’t understand the lyrics, he loved the music and was fascinated by many of the album covers. His rise to fame, in both the U.S. and Japan, led to commissions to do the cover art for bands including Shonen Knife, R.E.M. and Bloodthirsty Butchers.

The Works of  Takashi Murakami, Sam Francis and Yoshitomo Nara at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Takashi Murakami, Sam Francis and Yoshitomo Nara at VFA.

Kaitlyn McInnis. You Won’t Want To Miss This Takashi Murakami x Hello Kitty Collaboration. Singapore Tatler. July 16,2020.
Cosmopolis. Sam Francis in Japan. July 12, 2020.
Christie Chu. 6 Things to Know About Sam Francis on His Birthday. artnetnews. June, 25, 2015.
Nick Marino. Yoshitomo Nara Paints What He Hears. The New York Times Style Magazine. July 24, 2020.