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Takashi Murakami Opening Studio In L.A.

Japanese artist Takashi Murakami will be opening an animation studio in Los Angeles next summer, according to the LOS ANGELES TIMES.

Called Japan's Andy Warhol, and based in Tokyo, Murakami is known for his oversized anime style and already has a studio in New York. The new studio will operate under Kaikai Kiki, his production and artist-management company. Murakami works in painting and sculpture, film and mass-produced goods all under one company.

"Animation and film have always been among my greatest influences, ever since I first saw 'Star Wars' and Hayao Miyazaki's films," Murakami said in a statement. "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."

The studio will be in a building on North Highland Avenue, giving about 6,220 square feet on the first floor and 2,760 square feet on the second to the expected 30 employees, said Daniel Rappaport of Management 360, Kaikai Kiki's talent management firm in Los Angeles.

First up will be an animated feature based on PLANTING THE SEEDS, the shorts that premiered last year at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, celebrating Murakami's mid-career retrospective. The shorts feature the company's cartoon character namesakes Kaikai and Kiki, who travel the world in a spaceship and learn to grow watermelons with the aid of fertilizer (poop, as they cheerfully call it).

The studio already completed work on the Kanye West music video "Good Morning."