Meet Yayoi Kusama, the Princess of Polka-Dots

For many people, polka-dots are a sign of cheer and creativity. They are friendly, endearing, and personable. Some people, though, have more of a love for polka dots than the average person. One person who meets that description is the Japanese ‘mother of pop art ‘ – Yayoi Kusama. The Princess of Polka Dots, as she is known, celebrated her 93rd birthday in March of 2022. She has been known for her creation of delicate, creative, and colorful artworks that use polka dots as a major part of their appeal.

Kusama claims that her art is inspired by regular hallucinations that she has experienced since she was ten years old. In the 80+ years since they began, her artistic merit has been proven over and over again. The Matsumoto native grew up on a seed farm and it encouraged a young Yayoi to paint what she saw with her eyes. Despite her parents disapproving of her career choice, Kusama studied Japanese Art in its most traditional form, studying Nihonga at the Kyoto School of Arts Crafts.

From a young age, Kusama would paint her visions, and what she had seen come to life. Her agriculturally minded parents were not as interested, though, and discouraged this career path. Kusama fought on, though, and today is among the most celebrated Nihonga artists in the world.

Her success has come in the shape of many paintings and artistic expressions, and her most successful work came in the form of Infinity Nets. This is her longest-running artistic series, which she began when she arrived in New York in the late 1950s. Infinity Nets took around 45 hours of sessions, and it became her most important form of art therapy.

She has also released her hugely popular short film, Self-Obliteration, which plays a key part in her polka-dot-inspired reputation. She brings the world together with tiny little dots, saying that “by obliterating oneself, one returns to the infinite universe” – a very interesting piece of art, and something that fans of her work or old-school Nihonga art will adore.