Pharrell Williams has been animated by contemporary artist Takashi Murakami as part of a musical collaboration between the two, timed to the upcoming U.S. release of Murakami’s live-action feature film Jellyfish Eyes.
EW has an exclusive first look at the Happy singer as a cute cartoon, complete with his signature Vivienne Westwood hat.
Pharrell’s cartoon makeover will be featured in an animated music video directed by Murakami. As for the actual tune, it will be Pharrell’s official remix of the Jellyfish Eyes theme song: “Last Night, Good Night” by Japanese band livetune.
“What really blew me away was seeing how Takashi and his team took that music and created an animated video which brought out all of the colors I usually see in my music but is seldom seen by others,” Pharrell said. “It really feels like his animation and my music blended together to create this incredible alchemy, at least from my perspective. I’m not sure what it will be to everyone else, but his visuals alone and his imagination are like the craziest wormhole of happiness and adventure for one’s spirit. I just can’t believe I got to be the auditorial — or at least play the auditorial part to his vision.”
“Pharrell is very instinctive and speaks up immediately about ideas that work,” Murakami said. In comparison, Kanye West — with whom Murakami collaborated on the art for the rapper’s 2007 album Graduation — “tends to take a really long time, he really mulls over things,” notes Murakami, adding that Kanye took nearly two years to decide on the final cover.
The Jellyfish collaboration isn’t the first time Pharrell and Murakami have worked together: The two first teamed up in 2009 to create a multimedia sculpture — a riff on Murakami’s signature Mr. DOB character, adorned with a bottle of ketchup and a bag of Doritos, blinged-out with approximately 26,000 diamonds from Jacob the Jeweler — that sold for $2 million at Art Basel Miami Beach.
In addition to their musical and visual collab for Jellyfish Eyes — which will officially be released in mid-May — the two have also designed a line of limited-edition Jellyfish Eyes-themed T-shirts that will be sold at screenings across the country and at the Billionaire Boys Club & Ice Cream store in New York later this spring.
And a third collaboration could very well in the works — that is, if Murakami has his way.
“These artists are of the generation that are really great at the collaborative process and collaboration in general,” Murakami said of working with hip hop star. “They tend to reach through these ideas that they haven’t yet discovered through collaboration.”
For more about Jellyfish Eyes, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday.