Superflat or Superflat Pop is an aesthetic that rose to popularity in the 2000s-2010s. The term Superflat was founded by the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami in 2001 and was used as the name for his postmodern art movement. The Superflat aesthetic has many distinct characteristics, including manga characters, neon/pastel color pallets, a 2D (flat) art style, fantasy imagery, bold lines, and geometric shapes.
Along with Takashi Murakami, there are several prominent artists that contributed to the Superflat aesthetic. These artists include Chiho Aoshima, Mahomi Kunikata, Aya Takano, and Kōji Morimoto.
As a Japanese art movement, Superflat is heavily influenced by Japanese art and painting styles, however, its influences are not limited to just that. The flat style of Superflat is derived from the flatness of traditional post-war Japanese manga and anime art. Superflat is often thought of as Japan’s Pop Art because of how it draws many of its influences from modern pop culture. Manga and anime are also both really large influences that this art style draws from.
Superflat went on to become larger than an art movement, morphing into an international sensation in all aspects of lifestyle such as music and fashion. Collaborations of Takashi Murakami’s art extended to fashion giants Louis Vuitton in their 2012 collaboration, and musical artists such as Pharell Williams, and Kanye West for his album Kids See Ghosts. Additionally, the Superflat Aesthetic became extremely popular within the streetwear and skater communities due to collaborations with Vans and Supreme.
Takashi Murakami, Tan Tan Bo a.k.a Gerotan: Scorched by the Blaze in the Purgatory of Knowledge
Chiho AOSHIMA, ‘Haruna in a shower meteor’
PARIS: AYA TAKANO, THE JELLY CIVILIZATION CHRONICLE
Takashi Murakami for ‘Kids See Ghosts’
Takashi Murakami, Pharell Williams – The Simple Things
Takashi Murakami for Supreme
Ali, this is so cool. As you said, Kanye West has used this art style in pervious album covers and whatnot, but I have never heard of what that art aesthetic actually was until now. Your blog post is super in-depth and was really enjoyable to read. Along with art, you mentioned Superflats impact on clothing in particularly the skate community, are there other areas where this aesthetic is present? Such as architecture, furniture, etc.?
Happy to hear you enjoyed the post and thanks for your feedback. Yes, there are many examples of Superflat art in furniture, sculptures, and high fashion goods, however, I do not know of any examples in architecture.
I love the aesthetic you chose. It’s very thought provoking. I also like the way you formatted the blog post. The broken up sections make it much easier to read. I would have liked to read more about your personal feelings about the aesthetic, in addition to the description and history of the style.
I appreciate your feedback and I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I personally enjoy this style, I actually thought of it because a have the ‘Kids See Ghosts’ album vinyl in my living room. I did not have much knowledge about the aesthetic before researching it for this post, but I appreciated it more after I did.
I enjoyed reading through your post about the superflat aesthetic. There’s a wide variety of art styles within this genre and you did a great job tying them together under the category of superflat. I’m interested in why you think so many major companies have adopted this aesthetic into their products. I think that it could be that the intricate 2D designs lend themselves well to being printed on clothing and apparel. What qualities of superflat do you think made it so popular in streatwear?
Thanks for your feedback! I am glad you enjoyed my post. I believe that this style became so popular in streetwear because it somewhat combined high and commercial art. Although the designs are made by significant artists such as Takashi Murakami, they possess many elements of pop culture that translate well into popular apparel.