Day FIFTEEN and boy oh boy was I super excited about today…for many reasons. I couldn’t wait to paint this painting for obvious reasons because the painter’s style, the fact that she is my new hero and that I thought it would come natural to me because her paintings are similar to my own…in a way. The portraits of her are as amazing as her pieces. She absolutely blows my mind in the artistic, style and fashion sense. She’s super fun, waaaaay ahead of her time and well, I’ll just let you be the judge in just how awesome she is. Today I present to you…
Yayoi Kusama (草間 彌生 or 弥生 Kusama Yayoi, born March 22, 1929) is a Japanese artist and writer. Throughout her career she has worked in a wide variety of media, including painting, collage, sculpture, performance art and environmental installations, most of which exhibit her thematic interest in psychedelic colors, repetition and pattern. A precursor of the pop art, minimalist andfeminist art movements, Kusama influenced contemporaries such as Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg. Although largely forgotten after departing the New York art scene in the early 1970s, Kusama is now acknowledged as one of the most important living artists to come out of Japan, and an important voice of the avant-garde.
Born in Matsumoto, Nagano into an upper-middle-class family of seedling merchants, Kusama started creating art at an early age, going on to study Nihonga painting in Kyoto in 1948. Frustrated with this distinctly Japanese style, she became interested in the European and American avant-garde, staging several solo exhibitions of her paintings in Matsumoto and Tokyo during the 1950s. In 1957 she moved to the United States, settling down in New York City where she produced a series of paintings influenced by the abstract expressionist movement. Switching to sculpture and installation as her primary mediums, Kusama became a fixture of the New York avant-garde, having her works exhibited alongside the likes of Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg and George Segal during the early 1960s, where she became associated with the pop art movement. Embracing the rise of the hippie counterculture of the late 1960s, Kusama came to public attention when she organized a series of happenings in which naked participants were painted with brightly colored polka dots.
In 1973, Kusama moved back to her native Japan, where she found the art scene far more conservative than that in New York. Becoming an art dealer, her business folded after several years, and after
experiencing psychiatric problems, in 1977 she voluntarily admitted herself to a hospital, where she has spent the rest of her life. From here, she continued to produce artworks in a variety of mediums, as well as launching a literary career by publishing several novels, a poetry collection and an autobiography.
Kusama’s work is based in conceptual art and shows some attributes of feminism, minimalism, surrealism, Art Brut, pop art, and abstract expressionism, and is infused with autobiographical, psychological, and sexual content. Kusama is also a published novelist and poet, and has created notable work in film and fashion design. Major retrospectives of her work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, and Tate Modern, whilst in 2008 Christies New York sold a work by her for $5.1 million, a record for a living female artist.
Read her full bio here.
Here are some examples of her artwork that I drew inspiration from.
I love the colors and playfulness of her art! Now you can understand why I could just post photos of her here over and over! It was difficult to choose exactly what colors to use. I wanted to capture the brightness of her work, but also have my own style thrown in.
It was a colorful and fun painting experience. I stared and examined her artwork all morning, but when I began to paint the art took on a life of it’s own.
It was invigorating and I loved the stream of consciousness style of my piece. It was as if I had fallen into a sort of trance.
I now take you on my Kusama painting journey. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
And now my finished piece!
Thanks again for joining me on this amazing journey. Isn’t Yayoi one of the most totally tubular ladies ever? She makes me want to do art full time and dress in amazing and colorfully insane outfits and paint until I’m 85! What an inspiration. Until tomorrow…which by the way, is going to be awesome. I have my best friend painting with me!
PS here’s one more photo of her for Louis Vuitton. Seriously, I could post photos of her all day.