Google Doodle: Happy Superflat Summer Solstice!

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What is a midsummer night’s dream like? Just ask Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, who’s created a fantastical Google doodle to celebrate the summer solstice.

The brightly colored cartoon, populated by smiling flowers and slightly sinister beasties, commemorates the longest day of the year. “Two super fun, superflat doodles today created by one of our favorite artists Takashi Murakami,” Google trumpeted this morning via Twitter. The other drawing depicts the winter solstice, with happy snowflakes and bunnies with frosty breath.

(PHOTOS: A History of Google Doodles)

“Superflat” isn’t some sort of tautological adjective. It’s an art movement invented by Murakami that “refers to the two-dimensionality of Japanese graphic art and animation, as well as to the shallow emptiness of its consumer culture,” writes Artnet. In practice, it’s a whimsical farrago that draws on anime, manga, and traditional Japanese printmaking, with a huge helping of cute.

Murakami has exhibited in some of the world’s major galleries, but he doesn’t shy away from commercialism: he’s also designed handbags for Louis Vuitton and an album cover for Kanye West. Now he’s working with the king of computer culture, Google, and as pleased as punch.

“Amazing! I & kaikaikiki team are so happy this Happening! Thanks a Lot team Google!” Murakami tweeted today as the doodles were unveiled.

PHOTOS: The Story of Google Doodles