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An artist named Takashi Murakami has been creating art in the form of paintings, statues, prints,toys and just about anything else he can put is images on to market. Murakami is the prominent name in the world of fine art that draws it's inspiration from anime and

Murakami was influenced by anime from the 1970s and 1980s and used the look and feel of anime in his work as opposed to what might be a much more traditional source of inspiration for Japanese artists, the classic woodblock print. Murakami attended the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and majored in Japanese art.

Soon therafter the Poku concept was born, a phrase created by Murakami to describe the blending of pop culture references he percieved in America and Japan. Technology, video games, movies, television, including commercials, are some of the sources of his influence for his creations.

Dob, i.e. a futuristic, android Mickey Mouse is a Murakami invention that straddles the line of art and commercialization just like Mickey did from the early 1930's to the present. Murakami learned from the master himself, Mr. Disney of course.

The Superflat movement, Murakami's name for his two-dimensional style as well as a comment on otaku culture, media and Japanese culture in general evovled out of Poku, Dob as well as his statues and even an animated short film. Fashion, Louis Vuitton for example, as well as keychains and magnets, balloons and toys all comprise the world of Murakami's pop art and merchandising world.

Murakami's show at the MOCA Los Angeles, with it's Warholian atmosphere solidified his place in the world of post-modern contemporary art. Irony at it's best for the leading critic of the "superflat" society to succeed using the same concept of art he so derided.

Fine art inspired by animation and comics is nothing new. Roy Liechtenstein, Andy Warhol and many others have been influenced by comics.

Now Range Murata, Yoshitoshi Abe and Hayao Miyazaki as well as many other anime and manga artists define the concept of anime as fine art.

Cynthia Goranson and Randy Patton
Painting by Randy Patton

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