6 Things We Learned About Takashi Murakami From His Weekend at ComplexCon

Though he owns hundreds of them, he's not actually a sneaker fan.

Takashi Murakami and Pharrell at ComplexCon. Photo via Beats by Dre's Twitter
Takashi Murakami and Pharrell at ComplexCon. Photo via Beats by Dre's Twitter

Takashi Murakami is no stranger to the bizarre quote, and speaking at this year’s inaugural ComplexCon—a weekend conference and festival by Complex magazine celebrating art, music, and sneakers—Murakami revealed even more about his particular views on life.

As an official host of the heavily branded convention, Murakami sightings were high throughout the weekend. The artist had much more to say than just announcing, alongside his friend Pharrell, his upcoming collaboration on a colorful edition of portable speakers.

The magazine ran a feature on Murakami after the festival, and to make things simple, we picked out some of the choicest quotes to provide a window into the mind of the contemporary art master and genius entrepreneur.

1. Murakami owns between 300 and 400 pairs of white Vans, yet claims he is “not a sneaker fan.” He just “loves Vans,” which comes as no surprise following his successful 2015 collaboration with the skate brand.

2. Murakami treats his collection of slip-on sneakers like art. He wears each pair for one month and then puts them into storage, because: “When I’m dead, I want to show them in my museum.” We wonder, is there a recommended atmosphere control for sneaker storage?

3. Temperatures in Tokyo, where Murakami has his studio, can reach up to 90 degrees in summer, yet due to his coworkers’ love of air conditioning, the artist wears a down jacket all year round. “The whole year, I wear the down jacket. With air conditioning—young people are always hot, hot, hot. I have to work with young people, so it’s always freezing.” You’d think he’d be more worried about global warming.

4. He favors silence while drawing, but dance music while painting. “When I’m making a drawing, there’s no sound. It’s better,” he says. “But when choosing a color [for a painting], my brain has to move. So, I need help to pick that.” That said, he takes a laissez-faire attitude to the specifics. He makes musical discoveries by typing “best dance songs” into YouTube, and hoping for the best. “I cannot remember the artists’ names, but they sound like space-y techno,” he adds.

5. Despite providing the cover art for Kanye West’s Graduation album, and having long-standing friendship with Pharrell, Murakami claims to know little about hip-hop. Maybe he should type “best hip-hop songs” into YouTube.

6. Nevertheless, he remembers the rise of Snoop Dogg (but can’t remember Kurt Cobain’s name): “When I came to New York in 1994, his name was already big,” he recalls. “The Nirvana guy was dead. Smashing Pumpkins came, and a bunch of the hip-hop [artists] came up. That moment is very [connected] with American sounds,” he adds.


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