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Yayoi Kusama is the heroine of a new polka dotted graphic novel

The cult artist’s dotty life has been rendered in illustrated form

  • Olivia Wycech
  • 1 September 2020

While many of the much-anticipated Yayoi Kusama exhibitions all over the globe have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can now indulge in her art from home.

The “princess of polka dots” is deemed as one of the most important living artists to come out of Japan for the surreal worlds she creates for herself and her fans — whether it be through any one of her Instagram-friendly immersive installations like Infinity Rooms, her poignant poetry or naked performances in New York. They are worlds that separate from reality and allow us to get lost in (no wonder we're fans). Now, Yayoi Kusama’s life has (finally) been rendered in an illustrated form so we can all get a little lost in our bedrooms too.

Also, despite her fame, few people know her life story...until now.

Created by Thai-Italian illustrator Elisa Macellari whose clients include The New York Times, Women's Health, and Cartoon Network, ‘Kusama: The Graphic Novel’ is the first such novel to pay homage to the avant-garde sculptor, painter and novelist (she is also active in painting, performance, film, fashion, poetry, fiction and other arts). The book spans 128 pages and features 400 illustrations, capturing some of her most iconic works.

It’s being dubbed a vivid graphic biography and traces the artist’s trajectory from her first psychotic episodes as a child in rural Japan to becoming an international icon in the world of art in New York all the way through to the mental health issues that followed.

An excerpt from the book reads, "Mother, father, I'd like to go to the United States"... To which they reply, "If you do, you won't set foot in this house again”.

The unique graphic style of the book offers a new and not-to-miss way to look at one of the most intriguing artists of our time. It is primarily based on Kusama’s 'Infinity Net: My Autobiography' and the 2018 documentary 'Kusama: Infinity'.

“Follow her incredible journey in this vivid graphic biography which details her bold departure from Japan as a young artist, her embrace of the buzzing New York art scene in the 1960s, and her eventual return home and rise to twenty-first-century super-fame,” reads the cover.

See captures from the book in the gallery above.

KUSAMA: A Graphic Biography’ is out in September of 2020.

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