Get to Know the Artist — Takashi Murakami
Drawing from traditional Japanese painting, sci-fi, anime and the global art market, Takashi Murakami creates paintings, sculptures, and films populated by repeated motifs and mutating characters of his own creation. His wide-ranging work embodies an intersection of pop culture, history, and fine art.
PANGAIA: How did you create the bee and flower print?
TM: My old friend Loic’s wife, Jasmine, has been involved in projects for a good cause, and she reached out to me with a request to collaborate on the theme of flowers and bees. The bee is an entirely new, original character that we are revealing for the first time.
PANGAIA: What is the importance of the bee print?
JM: To raise awareness on the importance of bees, and their plight. It is very special and quite rare for Takashi to create a new character for a collaboration and we are so honored and grateful for this.
PANGAIA: What/who are your biggest influences and inspirations?
TM: In the past it would have been AKIRA’s author Katsuhiro Otomo and the animation director Hayao Miyazaki, of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, but these days I think I have mostly been influenced by tremendous natural disasters. Both the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011 and the current Coronavirus pandemic have greatly affected my view of life and death.
PANGAIA: Why did PANGAIA choose to work with Takashi Murakami?
JM: Apart from being one of the most important contemporary artists, the flower is a signature motif and icon of Takashi's work. Bees play a key role in, and are not only responsible for, pollinating a variety of fruits, nuts, and vegetables, but also flowers. This collaboration was a great way to share this message in a fun and creative way with one of our favorite artists on the planet.
PANGAIA: What does sustainability mean to you?
TM: I don’t know if this has anything to do with sustainability, but I have been developmentally challenged and have always had a difficult time throwing things away. When my staff accidentally throws something away that I had left on the floor in my room, I would get unreasonably angry. As someone with such a mental problem, it feels a bit strange to see people purposefully recycling things for sustainability.
PANGAIA: What is your favorite color?
TM: Pink, purple, and white.
PANGAIA: What do bees mean to you?
TM: I love honey, and have ordered and tried 20 or so different kinds. Ultimately the kind I liked were those made from milkvetch and apple.
PANGAIA: How has your perspective changed through the collaboration?
TM: To be honest, I have a sci-fi-esque mind and, rather than restoring nature, believe that nature inevitably and constantly changes. Perhaps this is a fatalistic, dystopian mentality, and I am envious of people who have the positive, utopian mindset. Since I can’t change, I simply despair every day. I really wish I could have such hopefulness.
PANGAIA: What do you see as a possible solution to this global problem surrounding the bees?
JM: Increasing awareness and supporting people and organizations that are doing great work for bees.
We partnered with Milkywire in an effort to raise awareness on the plight of bees and encourage real actions and solutions around this global issue. Milkywire has a unique and engaging platform that allows users to support local projects directly and see proof of impact by following their progress on the app.
The Bee The Change fund aims to protect and preserve vulnerable and endangered bee species across the world. No action is too small to make a difference in helping protect this tiny species that gives us so much.