Nov 1, 2011

TREND | Superflat/Soflo Superflat

Takashi Murakami, Francis Bacon Study of Isabel Rawsthorne, Acrylic, 1963

A flat and heavy weight of solid colors, edgy while retaining an illusion of depth much like a system or deceiving set of rules. Superflat incorporates a style fused with underlying beliefs and interpretations against the stigma of governed prospects,  as well as the cultural limitations stemming from post-war Japan. Superflat spawned from it's creator Takashi Murakami a Japanese artist with a passion for cartoon-like drawings and animation; who saw a need to change and develope a new culture for Japan through the use of his artistic skill. Unfortunately for Takashi many attempts to provide and spark change in his country were unsuccessful which eventually led to his departure towards the United States.

It was in America that the style Superflat began to pull large recognition nationally and internationally. With a unique and appealing concept use of color and lines Takashi managed to produce a strong use of vibrant and abstract composition through a warped perception of distance. Giving off a cartoonish vibe to the work while retaining a deep context, leaving  many American viewers in admiration and wonder. Much of this art challenged the ordinary concept of innocent and playful cartoonish figures and quite literally threw up the idea in another direction, Tan Tan Bo Puking.

Romero Britto, Best Buddies Friendship Bear, Sculpture, 2011, New York

Superflat began to pick up great momentum in Miami that inspired many artists to apply their own style within Superflat. It was in Miami Florida that Soflo Superflat branched into its own form apart from Superflat. Soflo Superflat had created a very vibrant use of color and ultra flat imagery in pop culture America. It is wrapped around the idea of relieving the 3 dimensional idea of work and almost stamping art in profound ways and shapes. Like taking a preconceived notion and throwing it in view from our realm of reality, we can still view and possibly understand the piece but it will always seem out of our grasp. Notable artists such as Raul Cremata and Romero Britto have adopted this art form in their own respect as an example of producing a colorful message for others. Romero Britto, for example, emphasizes the use of dominant colors that spread across multiple mediums in the world like cars, sculptures, statues, walls and more. Just one example of a growing subculture under the umbrella of Superflat that slowly dominates from southeast United States.

Akane Koide, Show Girl, Acrylic, 2006
Through many of the different variations of Superflat that Takashi helped create there are those that closely follow under his personal company and exhibition "Superflat". A group of talented artists as well as fans that not only learn but also help by contributing to the exhibition within their own works. A few have even developed a name for themselves under the exhibition that now produce work on a professional and even global level such as Akane Koide, who adopts pieces of Superflat and steer her art in mature manners of realistic symbolism. Akane does this by using pictures as symbols for many of her works with the intention of showing a playful and even sometimes depressing manner.

Regardless of the names that many of us adopt like generisk Viagra receptfritt and enjoy, create, nurture and even strive for; I believe that what Takashi has done relates to an idea of impressionism in art and cultural history. Contradicting the norm not because it stands out, but because it needs to. In this there is a generation of spawning artists that are looking beyond illustrations/graffiti/imagery but rather an idea through these means to break the uncertainty of society, blown up media, and entertainment void.

-Joshua Miller


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