How did Clone X – X Takashi Murakami NFT Come to Life?
RTFKT Studios, a non-fungible token (NFT) studio that produces digital collectibles, including virtual sneakers, have always been ambitious about bringing “hype” in the world of NFTs. With Nike recently acquiring them and recent collaborations with famous designers like Jeff Staple and crypto-artist Fewocious , it’s no wonder that RTFKT has become the premier virtual fashion NFT brand.
With progress and continuous success in mind, RTFKT has collaborated with Takashi Murakami, one of the most important Japanese artists today. Murakami has a rich history of collaboration in multimedia art and is known for collaborating the aesthetics of Japanese culture with today’s pop culture.
Takashi Murakami has been in the art world for over two decades. With his many collaborations, high-profile exhibitions, and unique style, he’s considered to be one of the most important figures in contemporary art today. He was born in Tokyo in 1962- when Japan was still rebuilding itself after WWII – and spent his early years in both Tokyo and in Kobe. In 1978, he moved to America where he studied filmmaking and art history at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Thereafter, he returned to Japan in 1983.
Murakami gained recognition for his paintings which deconstructed anime and otaku subcultures by juxtaposing them with abstract form and color. He later has pushed this exploration further by blurring the boundaries of his own culture with Western pop culture. For example, he had a solo show at a New York City gallery titled “Political Pop,” which highlighted this style. In response to criticism of insensitivity and cultural appropriation, Murakami has noted “Because I’m Japanese, people think I can get away with doing this, but they’re wrong. I’m very aware of what I’m doing.”
Adding to his legacy is the artist’s ability to combine high-end fashion with pop culture; earning him an invitation from Louis Vuitton as artistic director for their global flagship stores. He also designed album artworks for musicians like Kanye West and Pharrell Williams.
Takashi Murakami is often identified with his “superflat” theory of art, where he discusses the process in which many Japanese subcultures evolved; maintaining their uniqueness while also penetrating global culture. These subcultures include manga, anime, and tokusatsu (Japanese for special effects). The “superflat” theory is also the foundation of Murakami’s many projects.
Working with RTFKT, Takashi Murakami has designed a virtual sneaker called Clone X -X that is highly customizable, including color palette and pattern choices. This collaboration explores his concept of “superflat” through an avatar system where users can have their own stylish subculture.
Takashi Murakami’s career in contemporary art has transformed many times over the course of his 30+ year career, making it no surprise that this is just another change for him to explore.
This partnership marks a milestone for both Takashi Murakami and RTFKT. The NFT industry was once dominated by digital artists, but collaborations with fashion designers is how it’s grown so big in recent years. This may be the start of a new trend where the biggest names within the fashion industry partner with NFT studios to create virtual items that can be traded on the blockchain.
CLONE X – X TAKASHI MURAKAMI on open seas