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Famed Japanese artist Takashi Murakami recently spoke to High Snobiety about his Vault by Vans collaboration, which was accompanied by a showcase at Hotel du Grand Veneur in Paris. Art dealer Emmanuel Perrotin curated a space within his own gallery, to present more than 30 unique pieces featuring Murakami’s world-famous smiling flower and skull designs.

In the interview, Murakami discusses his passion for Vans products, and his wish for the collaboration to inspire adults to “recreate their childhood heart and values, to have that back into their lives”. In the same breath, he talks about the philosophy behind the smiling flower design, and its status as a profound message for children: “every flower is smiling, but it looks more like the sign for a smile. So my message for the kids is ‘please find out what is real’. If your parents are laughing or not laughing…maybe the heart is sad or something different”. Damn Murakami, that’s deep.

He also positions his use of the skull design as a response to others questioning the disparity between his “happy” designs and his perhaps more dour personality, along with explaining the inspiration behind the dog character that features prominently in his new work–it’s actually just a caricature of his dog, who is adorably named Pom.

Finally, when asked which piece of art he’d like in his home, Murakami hilariously responds he’d like a Picasso, but wouldn’t display it where you’d expect him to: “I’d have it hanging on the wall in front of the toilet so I’m relaxed for a shit or a pee. Pooing behind Picasso is rich, right?”. There’s no doubt, this man is a true artist. Check out some of the exhibit in the gallery above and the full interview over here.

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