Collectors may not have been clamoring for his work at the fall contemporary sales, but Takashi Murakami isn’t planning Damien Hirst-style layoffs. Instead, he’s announced the further expansion of Kaikai Kiki, his global art empire. Next stop? Hollywood, where Murakami will open an animation and film studio. “This studio represents a great step in the evolution of Kaikai Kiki and gives me a closer proximity to the community of artists with whom I hope to collaborate as I continue my explorations of animated and live-action film,” said Murakami in a statement. Among the most anticipated and labor-intensive works shown in the retrospective that debuted last year at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) was kaikai & kiki, Murakami’s first major animated film.
The new West Coast arm of KaiKai Kiki, which currently has operations in Tokyo and Long Island City, New York, will employ approximately 30 people. The Los Angeles Times got the scoop on the new digs: a two-floor building on North Highland Avenue that will offer nearly 9,000 square feet of space. “The studio’s first project will be a feature-length animated film based on Planting the Seeds, the shorts that premiered at Murakami’s mid-career retrospective at MOCA,” notes the LAT. “The digitally animated works feature Kaikai and Kiki, the company’s cartoon-character namesakes, traveling the world in a spaceship and learning to grow watermelons with the help of fertilizer, or ‘poop’ as they gleefully call it.” Click “continued” for a video of the dynamic duo in action.