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Murakami animation studio coming to L.A.

November 25, 2008 |  5:00 am


Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, whose giant Buddha, bug-eyed monsters and magical mushrooms packed in huge crowds last year at the Museum of Contemporary Art, is putting down roots in Los Angeles. A multifaceted artist who embraces painting and sculpture, film and mass-produced goods as part of a single enterprise, he is planning to open an animation studio here next summer.

Often called Japan's Andy Warhol and headquartered in Tokyo, Murakami already has a studio in New York. But he has decided that Hollywood is the place to expand his filmmaking capabilities. The new studio will operate under the umbrella of Kaikai Kiki, his production and artist-management company.

Murakami3_5 "Animation and film have always been among my greatest influences, ever since I first saw 'Star Wars' and Hayao Miyazaki's films," Murakami said in a statement. "This studio represents a great step in the evolution of Kaikai Kiki and gives me a closer proximity to the community of artists with whom I hope to collaborate as I continue my explorations of animated and live-action film."

The company has leased a building on North Highland Avenue, to be adapted to the studio's needs. With 6,220 square feet of space on the first floor and 2,760 square feet on the second level, the facility is expected to accommodate about 30 employees, said Daniel Rappaport of Management 360, Kaikai Kiki's talent management firm in Los Angeles.

The studio's first project will be a feature-length animated film based on "Planting the Seeds," the shorts that premiered at Murakami's mid-career retrospective at MOCA, Rappaport said. It also created the Kanye West video for "Good Morning." The shorts also appeared last spring at the Brooklyn Museum's version of the exhibition and, more recently, at the 2008 CineVegas Film Festival in Las Vegas. The digitally animated works feature Kaikai and Kiki, the company's cartoon-character namesakes, traveling the world in a spaceship and learning to grow watermelons with the help of fertilizer, or "poop" as they gleefully call it.


-- Suzanne Muchnic

Stills from Kaikai Kiki Animation Episode 1, “Planting the Seeds”
©2007 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 
Animation production by OLM
OLM Digital

Comments () | Archives (3)

This is great - maybe Mr. Murakami could donate some money to MOCA - the museum that gave him a giant expensive exhibition last year? The show included a Louis Vuitton store for which the museum received neither rent nor a share of the profits. Perhaps if MOCA were smarter they would have collected the money they earned? Since they didn't - I suggest Mr. Murakami thank this city by donating to this valuable institution.

What about all the cash from admissions?

Either way I will def be sending my work in! Awesome tip!

I partly agree with Teenage Robot, but Mr. Murakami will be paying his dues by opening up a small business here in LA, hiring up to 30 persons, and paying tax and rent on a building in Hollywood. He will more than make up for not sharing his profits with MoCA. This isn't one worth arguing about. Before Murakami, it's still the MOCA board members who should contribute more. We're all waiting to hear their response from last night's dinner pow-wow. Getting overly wealthy people to be philanthropic in this city is perhaps the most difficult and frustrating thing this city faces.


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