Takashi Murakami, Mr. DOB (set of two), 2016. Courtesy of EHC Fine Art.

Takashi Murakami: Mr. DOB

Mr. DOB is Takashi Murakami’s alter ego and first signature character, appearing in his works as early as 1993. With this smiling creature, Murakami hoped to create a Japanese icon with universal appeal, in the spirit of Hello Kitty and Pikachu. To do so, he drew inspiration from characters in Eastern and Western popular culture, including the adorable Japanese manga creature Doraemon and Walt Disney’s iconic Mickey Mouse. While the first Mr. DOB had a somewhat fierce appearance with sharp, menacing teeth, the character grew cuter and cuter over time, setting the stage for all of Murakami’s iconic “Superflat” motifs such as his smiling flowers and jellyfish eyes.

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