Shinji Murakami

The rise in popularity of Emoticons in the West has followed the same course as how Ernest Hemingway describes a man going broke: “gradually then suddenly.” Now, Emoticons seem to be everywhere from Hollywood movie billboards to, well, the Oxford Dictionary but Shinji Murakami the world is just catching up to his love affair with the pictograms originally developed by Japanese mobile phone operators in the late 90s.

Using the idea of Emoticons as pixels and, in turn, pixels as building blocks, Murakami masterfully sculpts his objects from wood creating perfect replicas of the ideograms we now so casually send.

Emoticons, 2015, wood, glue, and alkyd paint, 15 × 13.5 × 4.5 in. (4 left) 15 × 15 × 4.5 in. (right end)

:), 2014, plywood, screw, and alkyd paint, 40 × 36 × 12 in

:/, 2016, wood, glue, and alkyd paint, 15 × 13.5 × 4.5 in