On the frame of Edvard Munch’s 1895 version of his iconic Skrik (AKA The Scream or Der Schrei der Natur), the artist wrote:
I was walking along the road with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.
Now, what does this art work and description bring to mind? Expressionism in perhaps its rawest, most personal and most affecting form? The visual expression of an individual and a societal existential crisis? The anguish of a man who suffered great loss in his life, while trying (and sometimes failing) to master his own bouts of mental illness? A freak out, the beginning of a nervous breakdown?
Maybe. It made some marketing numbnuts in Japan think of Hello Kitty because… reasons. I mean, obviously The Scream is a natural counterpart to the kawaii Japanese mascot who is more usually found in a rather more pink and girly context on pencil cases or key rings.
From this July a Tokyo department store (for reasons known only to themselves, or perhaps not even to themselves) will be hosting a special temporary angst-ridden boutique for the purchase of various Hello Kitty/Munch mashup branded tat, such as the nonsense shown below.
If you don’t already feel like weeping for the state of humanity and you’re not gripping your own head in horror as an infinite scream passes through nature, you can continue your odyssey of misbegotten, tacky, grave-robbing merchandising ventures by reading about Mattel’s limited edition Van Gogh Barbie.