Born in Matsumoto, Nagano in 1929, Kusama’s parents owned a seed farm with a nurser. The landscapes encouraged Kusama to paint her visions at a youthful age. Regardless of her parent’s disapproval, she went on to study a traditional form of Japanese Art – Nihonga, at the Kyoto School of Arts Crafts. Nihonga was an art form known to emerge from the Meiji period from 1868-1912. Kusama’s parents owned a seed farm with a nursery and discouraged Kusama when she would paint her visions at a youthful age.
A Coping Mechanism
Near the riverbed close to her home in Matsumoto, Kusama would stare at the pebbles, inspiring her notorious polka-dot style that can be seen throughout her work throughout the years. Painting a projection of her hallucinations she’s been experiencing since an early age became her coping mechanism to regain control of her mental fragility and the anxiety caused by the feeling of being engulfed by her surroundings.
After a successful series of six solo expeditions by the age of 29, Kusama was inspired by Abstract Expressionism emerging in the Western style of art, she moved to New York in ’58. From here, she began her longest-running series, The Infinity Nets which accumulated around 45 hours of sessions. A form of art therapy and an interpretation of her visions. In 1967, Kusama released a short film with Jud Yalkut called Self-Obliteration where Kusama acts as a ringleader of some sort and brings the world together by marking them with little dots. “By obliterating oneself, one returns to the infinite universe”. The film conveys the sanity and freedom Kusama finds in her “obsessive” style of expression with a psychedelic soundtrack playing throughout.
The Obliteration Room
In 2002 where she created an interactive piece, The Obliteration Room, where visitors are given colorful polka-dot stickers that they can stick anywhere they like in a white room with white furniture. Kusama made history in 2014 for selling her one-piece (White No.28) from The Infinity Nets collection for a record-breaking $7,109,00 – the uppermost auction total yet. It is also the most money ever spent on a piece of art done by a female artist. She is an inspiration for those who fear the impulses of their mind to create a form of expression and engagement for the world to understand and love.