Yayoi Kusama: The Success of Staying True to Your Vision

It’s 1929 in rural Japan: arranged marriages were commonplace, women are expected to bare children and care for the home, they wouldn’t be educated as much as their male peers. This is the world Yayoi Kusama was born into. From an early age, Kusama would find solace and escape from her troubled family life and mental illness in art.

Since Kusama's earlier days she experimented with repetitive dots and lines

Breaking the Rules to Follow her Vision

Throughout her life she has suffered from a form of psychosis. As a child, Yayoi would recreate the hallucinations she had in the countryside around her home in drawings and paintings to soothe her anxiety. As Kusama strayed from the norms of society, her mother tried to take the art away from her, but much to her dismay, Yayoi continued to create and eventually enrolled in art school.

In 1958, she moved to New York to get involved with the movement of Abstract Expressionism. There she was a complete outsider: a woman in a male-dominated field, Japanese in the western world, and mentally ill. She may have been out of place, but her art transcended and blurred the lines of all the popular art movements at the time (Pop Art, Minimalism, Nouveaux Realism). She had always been ahead of her time.

Kusama's Infinity Room by Loz Pycock

Revolutionizing Performance and Experiential Art

Kusama is a rebel spirit who has challenged the status quo through her immersive art. Her most famous design is the repetition of dots or tiny points of life, with which she hoped to immerse others into a vision of infinity.

She created artful publicity stunts, organizing demonstrations and performances, posing in onesies or a big fur coat, creating everything from paintings, drawings, sculptures to films.

Despite her ambition, the world’s forces slowly pushed her into irrelevance. She moved back to Japan in 1973 and a few years later voluntarily checked herself into a psychiatric institution, where she lives to this day.

Yayoi Kusama's MO is to make a statement in everything she does.

Persistence Pays Off

She never stopped creating and in 1989 debuted her art once more. This time, in a New York more open to embrace a creative genius, regardless of their gender or nationality. The exhibit was called “Yayoi Kusama: A Retrospective” that documented her life and art.

Since then, Kusama has received her country’s and the world’ recognition as one of the most influential and best contemporary artists in the world.

About the Design:

Much of Kusama’s work incorporates dots. She says, “A polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the from of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colorful, senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots can’t stay alone; like the communicative life of people, two or three polka-dots become movement...polka-dots are a way to infinity.”

Our design is just that-- a polka-dot with the Japanese characters for infinity. We were moved by the idea that we are just one dot among millions-- and alone we are nothing, but together we form everything. And from this, our very literal homage to Kusama was born.

Continue to Spread Yayoi Kusama's Story! Wear it and Share it!

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