Known for his ocular aesthetic and pop-art-inspired wall installations, Japanese mixed-media artist Murakami brought his feature filmmaking debut “Jellyfish Eyes” to the Film Independent at LACMA film series last Spring. Watch the eye-popping, insane first trailer for the film, which kicks off a museum rollout on May 1, below.
Like his contemporary visual art, Murakami’s colorful film — which name-checks Spielberg‘s “ET” — juxtaposes cute-and-cuddly with the grotesque. Blending CGI and live-action, “Jellyfish Eyes” follows a young boy who moves to a small city in the Japanese countryside. But Masashi soon discovers that inside the apartment he shares with his mother lives a tiny monster, and that beneath this strange city is a sordid bedrock of conspiracies, cults and evil experiments.
Murakami has storied collaborations with other contemporary artist and, most notably, hip-hop celebs Pharrell and Kanye West. Murakami gave “Happy” singer Pharrell a cartoon makeover for his forthcoming music video, a remix of the theme song from “Jellyfish Eyes.” Check out the animated Pharrell below. (More on that via Entertainment Weekly here.) In 2009, Murakami and Pharrell created a multimedia sculpture that sold for $2 million at Art Basel.
In 2007, Murakami designed album artwork for Kanye West‘s album “Graduation,” and applied his signature animation style in directing West’s “Good Morning” video (watch below). West vaingloriously proclaimed that his song “Runaway” made Murakami cry.