Takashi Murakami is known for his many popular collaborations, ranging from luxury designer Louis Vuitton to late rapper Juice WRLD. However, this newest endeavor will see the “Japanese Andy Warhol” apply his craft in the currently unpredictable and untamed world of cryptoart.
“Yesterday, I released my first NFT. After it became much talked about with Beeple’s @beeple_crap auction the other day, I have been contemplating the right approach myself…” he posted on his official IG page. This particular venture sees him team up with video game programmer and director Yoshihisa Hashimoto to begin auctioning his tokens via the digital marketplace OpenSea. Hashimoto is known in the gaming universe for directing Sega’s impressive Hedgehog Engine technology, first used in Sonic Unleashed and for other titles as recent as Sakura Wars.
Murakami shared how his own kids’ engagement with video games opened his eyes to the future of online communities and a new space for his art as well. “The transformation of the reality of virtual world for me occurred during this pandemic when I saw the way my children interact with Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” he captioned. “They were watching some fireworks display within the game while talking with their school friends, who they could no longer meet in person, through Zoom, admiring how beautiful it was. I saw the reality of the shifting values when I realized that these children could discern beauty within a virtual world.”
Murakami says he plans to release 12 NFTs a day until all his 108 “signature flowers” are ready for auction when he will “ring the gong—to mark the start of the auction.” (The number 108 represents earthly desires in the Buddhist tradition.)
Murakami produced the crypto art with inspiration from a theory of art he proposed at the turn of the third millennium called Superflat. From their appearance to their creation, everything about the flowers is meant to provoke thought about the flatness, or shallowness, of the times. “I am starting this experiment because it amounts to digging down into the nature of art within the realm of VR that are recognizable as such, and further diffusing it,” he wrote on OpenSea. “Is this merely a slight fluctuation of interest? Or is this the first step towards future values that we don’t yet begin to understand?”
For now, over the nine-day period, as more flowers are released, you can pore through the collection and take up Murakami on his thought experiment about where the world is head with its crypto craze. And stay ready to pounce on your own NFT once the auction starts and he rings the gong.