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MURAKAMI, KEIICHI
Keiichi Murakami  

 
Keiichi Murakami was born in 1949 not long after the Second World War into a Japan that was no longer the ancient closed society of traditional eastern culture and values.  Murakami thus grew up in a country that was fast absorbing western sensibilities and a more open outlook.  By heritage he was inextricably linked to the exoticism of Asia; but his upbringing and modern, post-war environment thrust him headlong into western art and western ways.
 
As a young man in his twenties, Murakami quickly gained recognition in the world of commercial illustration.  He combined scholarly Japanese printmaking techniques with modern airbrush methods of applying brilliant colors.  Consequently, his works radiated an electric vibrancy while still retaining that purity of spatial serenity so characteristic of ancient Japanese art.
 
As he matured as an artist, Keiichi Murakami broke away from his commercial interests to pursue a fine art direction.  With his increasing interest in western culture, he began to find inspiration for his work in western literature, art, music and film.  Through a series of select commissions in his own country, Murakami became one of Japan's premier artists.  And by bridging the worlds of both east and west, he managed to achieve a wonderfully bejeweled style that holds universal appeal.
 
Murakami created a series of limited edition prints for release in the United States.  His first work, entitled "Day Dream", a startling amalgam of oriental and occidental art techniques.  It depicts two figures, each representing a sublime mixture of western and eastern features.
 
The resulting design is thoroughly contemporary while at the same time drawing heavily upon the rich art nouveau and art deco traditions.  His central figures are surrounded with a sumptuously rich decorative element of stunning beauty.  From his extensive studies of both Indian and middle eastern art, Murakami also incorporates beautifully exotic elements of colorful ornamentation reminiscent of the Arabian nights.
 
Keiichi Murakami is a master colorist.  His colors radiate and shimmer.  Their power is immediate like flames shooting skyward.  Yet Murakami's work provides far deeper meaning than mere surface gloss.  There is a tantalizing ambiguity to his work, perhaps arising from the artist's eclectic, cultural upbringing and artistic interests.
 
Does "Day Dream" reveal two lovers like Romeo and Juliet or Scheherazade and her prince?  Or are we perhaps looking at the duality - part male, part female - that exists side by side in all of us?  The androgynous nature of the two people, the juxtaposition of the western and eastern features (two different people or one person holding a mask?), the ornate art nouveau filigree adorning their clothing, and the provocative sexual imagery of the flowers, all swirl around in one magnificent, heady elixir of intellectualism and sensuality.
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Daydream
Daydream
Lithograph
38.5"w x 30"h