Pharrell Williams and Takashi Murakami’s “Simple Things” Sold For More Than $2 Million

We’ve always known Pharrell Williams as one of the most influential musicians in streetwear style.  Pharrell has recently proved that he’s an artist to be reckoned with. He’s collaborated with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami on a one-of-a-kind artwork titled “The Simple Things”.

The Simple Things is anything but simple.  The piece has managed to rake in more than $2 million at the prestigious Art Basel fair in Basel, Switzerland– no small feat in a globally-depressed economy.  Taking almost two years to develop and produce, the sculpture sold within 20 minutes of the show’s opening and has now become a prime attraction for art lovers.

Takashi Murakami, the leader of the Japonism movement, artist, animation movies author and head of the Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd joined forces with the Grammy-winning musician, producer and designer, in offering a new perspective on a collection of “ordinary objects”.  Murakami’s new sculpture uses his trademark character: “Mr. DOB,” whose mouth is wide open, revealing a set of sharp teeth.  The monster is high on too much magic mushrooms.  His open mouth protects Pharrell Williams’ seven favorite objects inside it.  Seven things from Pharrell’s world includes a bottle of ketchup, a bag of Doritos, a condom wrapper, an Ice Cream sneaker, a bottle of Johnson’s baby lotion, a can of Pepsi and a Magnolia Bakery cupcake.

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Pharrell’s objects are not simply laid there, as each object is meticulously handcrafted in 18K gold (white, yellow and rose) and set with more than 26,000 diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires, some featuring hand-painted enamel and others with actual functioning elements that further add to the life-like representation. 


For this, the artists collaborated with world-famous jeweler, Jacob & Co., as Denise Scala, Marketing Director of Jacob & Co. stated:

“Each of these pieces is a unique work of art and a tribute to ‘extra-ordinary’ expression. Pharrell is a long-time friend of Jacob & Co., it was a privilege to collaborate with him and bring his dream to reality.”

Albeit its lavish image, the project started in 2007, way before the financial crisis. Pharrell commented:

Close up of Jacob the Jeweler pieces in the Pharrell/Murakami $2.6M sculpture

“I wanted to bring attention to the singularity and inventiveness of their original designs. Just like we find balance thanks to fundamental values, these pieces were born out of simplicity. The simplest things are the most essential to our lives and we are rarely pay attention to them enough. Originally from Virginia and now lucky enough to travel the world. I always try to rediscover the tastes, smells and memories of the first time the world revealed itself to me.”

Pharrell Williams’ collaborator, Takashi Murakami adds his thoughts:

“This collaboration has allowed me to surpass my limits and to use my highest level of knowledge, patience and technical innovation yet. The subject of this mysterious piece, as I created it, is a support on which to place jewels. When we look at Pharrell’s objects we see that they are pieces that express the essential, that which remains after stripping away their trappings of art objects, jewels and pop culture icons. I try to express what it would be like to stuff these “Simple Things” into this mouth, to illuminate them and contemplate them with feigned innocence. The result is this work of art.”

Here’s an interview with the artistic duo from High Snobiety:


Pharrell is not only busy with his artwork, he’s keeping up with his big-ticket menswear line Billionaire Boys Club (BBC). Here are a couple of sneak peeks:

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For more BBC/Ice Cream by Pharrell Williams, go to their official website:

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