5 Award recipients out of 67 participants from the juried show Characterism (Pop Culture in the USA & Japan) held at the WAH Center in April 2003, juried by Charlotta Kotik, Curator and Chair of the Department of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art
Characterism featured a global phenomenon in the contemporary art market initiated by a new generation of artists who are absorbed by pop cultures. Much the same way as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein were influenced by comics and advertising, many current contemporary artists are incorporating images from a new and international phenomenon of Pop Culture — not only cartoons and comics of the West, but Japanime, manga, and cute electronic products like personal minicomputers & telecommunication products such as Hello Kitty cell phones, Sony Aibo and Dream Robot. They were also influenced by characters such as R2D2 in Star Wars, and other movies. All of these ideas the "Characterism" artists incorporated as their main element of expression. The film maker Hayao Miyazaki whose themes of nature vs. man which appeared in his 1997 film "Mononoke Hime" or "Princess Hime" which would be released in the West were very inspiring and influential to these new Pop artists. And also influential was Rumiko Takahashi who got her first fame with a story about a slightly perverted teenage boy and an alien girl who loves him.
The first of this new wave of artists were Mariko Mori and Takeshi Murakami from Japan. In the show "Winners," we show followers of this movement who live and work in the USA and Japan.