Murakami was renowned for his paintings. Highly conceptual in his methods and presentation of art, he experimented with a variety of painting gestures inspired by children. Initially, Murakami applied several layers of paint in an almost excessive way. The playfulness of the creative act was one of the central premises for the artist, who welcomed elements of chance and inevitability in his work. Works that were created between 1955 and the mid-1960s stress the passage of time by retaining traces of violent actions and dynamic changes, sharing a commonality with the kami-yaburi performances. In the late 1950s, he experimented with relief-like works, attaching pieces of wood, thick plaster, or other materials to raise the surface. He also splashed paint across the canvas and employed dynamic brushstrokes.
Later in his career, his works merged further with conceptual, performance, and minimalist techniques. Brush strokes were arranged more separately and simply as opposed to of the former multi-layered approach. The artist also further explored his tendency to use strong and contrasting colors. Throughout his oeuvre, Murakami expressed a distance from the purely aesthetic, and strived for ways to constantly renew himself.