Shinji Murakami

“Growing up, Murakami was obsessed with Nintendo video games, with a particular taste for titles such as Legend of Zelda and Donkey Kong. When he wasn’t thumbing through the pages of game strategy books, he would often re-imagine the world around him as parts of his favorite games. It was only a matter of time before he began creating artworks based on these childhood fantasies.” – excerpt from Alex Garkavenko for Architizer Journal

When the maps first began, Shinji Murakami simplified cityscapes or imaginary scenes into palatable, symbolic 8-bit dimensions. Using a collection of stamps, the Murakami reinterpreted recognizable maps into fields of pixelated, game-inspired icons.

The works evolved with time, stamps were replaced by hand-painted symbols and characters, and Murakami rendered strikingly flat surfaces. What did continue was the imaginative interpretation of spaces, at times historical ones, and at others those close to home, like his American home city, Brooklyn.

Central Park (right), 2012, stamp ink and resin on claybord, 36 × 18 in

Random Sempione Park 002 (Arch of Peace), 2012, stamp ink and resin on clapboard, 5 × 5 in | 12 × 12 cm

Random Tokyo Imperial Palace 002 (Princess & Crown Prince), 2012, stamp ink and resin on clapboard, 5 × 5 in.

Chippewa Square, 2012, acrylic and resin on wood panel, 48 × 48 in | 121 × 121 cm

Edo Japan, 2013, acrylic and resin on wood panel, 48 × 48 in.

Confetti NYC, 2014, stamp ink, confetti, and resin on clapboard 4 × 4 in | 10 × 10 cm

Galaxy (light blue, blue, red, pink), 2014, acrylic and resin on wood panel, 24 × 24 in each | 61 × 61 cm each

NYC (Jewish, Black People and Yellow Cab), 2015, acrylic and varnish on wood panel, 36 × 36 in