Living Artfully: The Inspirational Life Rules of Yayoi Kusama, a World-Famous Icon of Art

Muzamil Amar

Head of Content at a digital agency in Pakistan, content-marketing expert, scriptwriter

Head of Content at a digital agency in Pakistan, content-marketing expert, scriptwriter

"I,Kusama, am the modern Alice in Wonderland"

Yayoi Kusama, a world-famous icon of contemporary art, has captured the hearts and minds of audiences worldwide with her mesmerising creations. Renowned as the biggest-selling female artist globally, Kusama's significance in the art world cannot be overstated. Even at 94, she is the most successful female artist, a testament to her enduring talent and unwavering dedication. 

Source: @yayoikusama_ 

"I am infinitely grateful to the universe for giving me the gift of art." - Yayoi Kusama 

Kusama's extraordinary life story is as captivating as her artwork. For 37 years, she voluntarily resided in a psychiatric institution, a period that has contributed to her legendary status. Through art, Kusama found solace and a means of self-expression, turning her struggles with mental health into a source of creative inspiration. 

"If it were not for art, I would have killed myself a long time ago." - Yayoi Kusama 

Kusama's artwork transcends generations and has captivated even the Instagram generation, known for their fast-paced digital lives. Her immersive installations and vibrant polka dots have become social media sensations, drawing admiration and appreciation from worldwide audiences. 

Source: @yayoikusama_

"In art, I found my voice, my sanctuary, and my purpose." - Yayoi Kusama 

Through her art, Kusama delves into themes of infinity, self-obliteration, and the exploration of the subconscious mind. Her immersive Infinity Mirror Rooms, filled with mirrors and twinkling lights, offer viewers a glimpse into infinite space, provoking awe and introspection. 

"My art comes from suffering, from anxiety, from obsession." - Yayoi Kusama 

Kusama's journey is a testament to the transformative power of art. From her early days in New York City's avant-garde art scene, where she rubbed shoulders with influential artists like Andy Warhol, to her status today as a cultural icon, she has broken barriers and shattered glass ceilings in the art world. 

Source: @yayoikusama_

"In art, I seek to break down the barriers that divide us." - Yayoi Kusama 

Kusama's impact extends far beyond the art world. Her unique life experiences and artistic expression have made her a symbol of resilience and inspiration. Through her work, she challenges societal norms, provokes thought, and encourages dialogue on important issues such as mental health. 

"The most important thing is to create, to keep creating, no matter the obstacles." - Yayoi Kusama 

As we delve into the remarkable life and artistry of Yayoi Kusama, we encounter a visionary whose artwork resonates with audiences of all ages. Her profound statements and unparalleled creativity continue to shape the contemporary art landscape, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of admirers worldwide. 

Source: @yayoikusama_

Throughout her life, Kusama has shared her wisdom and artistic insights through her words. Here are some of her most insightful and inspiring statements: 

1. "My father had lots of lovers and I had to spy on him for my mother, because my mother was very angry it made even the idea of sex very traumatic for me. My work is always about overcoming that bad experience".

2. "I fight pain, anxiety, and fear every day, and the only method I have found that relieves my illness is to keep creating art. I followed the thread of art and somehow discovered a path that would allow me to live"

3. "I think I will be able to, in the end, rise above the clouds and climb the stairs to Heaven, and I will look down on my beautiful life".

4. "Forget yourself. Become one with eternity. Become part of your environment".

5 "Art has no boundaries; it transcends time, space, and language." 

6. "The purpose of art is to provoke thought, to challenge conventions, and to inspire change." 

7. "The repetition in my art is a way of exploring infinity." 

8. "Art can make the invisible visible." 

9. "In my art, I strive to capture the fleeting moments of beauty in our everyday lives." 

10. "Art is a language that surpasses words, speaking directly to the heart." 

11. "My art expresses my desire to overcome the limitations of existence." 

12. "Art allows me to confront and conquer my fears." 

13. "I want my art to be a mirror that reflects the beauty and chaos of the world." 

14. "Art is not confined to galleries and museums; it exists everywhere if we open our eyes to see it." 

15. "The most important thing is to create, to keep creating, no matter the obstacles." 

16. "I believe in the power of love and art to heal and bring people together." 

17. "Art should disrupt, challenge, and ignite conversations." 

18. "Creativity knows no boundaries; it is a force that flows through all of us." 

19. "Art can touch the deepest corners of our souls and ignite our imagination." 

20. "I want to become more famous, even more famous."

Yayoi Kusama's extraordinary life, artistic vision, and enduring success have solidified her as an icon of contemporary art. Her unique journey, marked by personal challenges and triumphs, serves as a testament to the transformative power of art and the indomitable spirit of an artist. As the world continues to admire and appreciate her work, Yayoi Kusama's legacy will undoubtedly inspire generations, transcending boundaries and captivating hearts with her mesmerising creations. 

Inspiring Things You Didn't Know About Yayoi Kusama 

  1. Kusama's artworks have fetched record-breaking prices at auctions, with her sculpture "Pumpkin" selling for over $6 million at a 2017 Sotheby's auction, making it the highest-priced artwork by a living female artist.

  2. Kusama is passionate about both fashion and art. She founded her design company in the 1960s, using her well-known polka dot pattern to produce avant-garde apparel and costumes. In her "happenings," another area of the art world into which she ventured, the clothing was prominently displayed. The collaboration between Kusama and French fashion house Louis Vuitton in 2012 was her most lucrative date. (Source: Maddox Gallery

  3. Kusama moved to New York City in 1958, quickly becoming an integral part of the avant-garde art scene, rubbing shoulders with influential artists like Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg. 

  4. The concept of "infinity" has been a recurring theme in Kusama's work, inspired by her childhood experiences of hallucinations. Her Infinity Mirror Rooms, which offer an immersive experience of infinite space, have become some of her iconic installations. 

  5. The immersive quality of Kusama's artwork, which dominates our senses and has an emotional impact, contributes to its fame. We feel comfortable and happy that we can identify with such high art because of her vivid installations and realistic subject matter, like pumpkins, and we feel welcomed into the artist's imagined realm. This work does not always originate from a happy place, though. She first noticed Kusama's recognisable polka dots during a psychiatric episode when she was a little girl. (Source: Maddox Gallery

  6. Throughout her career, Kusama has experimented with various mediums, including painting, sculpture, performance art, poetry, and even fashion collaborations with luxury brands like Louis Vuitton. 

  7. The practice of Kusama was not always devoid of conventions. In the 1940s, she received an official study in painting at the Kyoto Municipal School of Arts and Crafts in Kyoto, Japan. She began to create paintings in the traditional Japanese calligraphic painting technique known as Nihonga. She has stated that she considered the experience to be restricted and inflexible and that the established model of school she was in didn't inspire her much. She claims her time spent in Kyoto makes her want to throw up.  (Source: Maddox Gallery

  8. Kusama's distinctive fashion sense, characterised by her vibrant-coloured wigs, polka-dotted outfits, and bold accessories, has become an extension of her artistic expression, blurring the boundaries between art and life. 

  9. Kusama has explored many employment paths in addition to her creative ones. She was a poet, writer, director, art dealer, designer, and many others. She tried selling art in 1973 after acquiring some of the artist Joseph Cornell's sketches. She unfortunately institutionalised herself after the company she had worked for several years failed.  Her autobiographically inspired novel, Manhattan Suicide Addict, which was based on her experience working as an artist in New York, is among her published works. She received a new authors award for her 1983 book The Hustlers Grotto of Christopher Street. In terms of her filmography, Kusama produced and starred in Self-Obliteration, which was released in 1968. Her trademark polka dot design can be seen in the award-winning movie. (Source: Maddox Gallery

  10. Kusama's impact on popular culture is far-reaching. Her collaborations with musicians and filmmakers, such as creating cover art for iconic albums like The Velvet Underground's debut album, have further solidified her status as a cultural icon. 

  11. Kusama's love for dots and polka dots stems from her childhood when she experienced hallucinations of dots enveloping her surroundings. She considers dots a symbol of the universe, infinity, and the interconnectedness of all things. 

  12. Despite her fame and success, Kusama maintains a humble lifestyle. She chooses to live in a modest studio apartment in Tokyo adjacent to her studio, where she continues to create her artwork. 

  13. In addition to being one of the most well-known artists of the 20th century, the acclaimed painter of flowers and animal bones was a savvy businesswoman. The 1950s saw the beginning of Kusama's correspondence with O'Keeffe. Later, in her 20s, Kusama enquired about tips for thriving in the New York art scene. O'Keeffe advised Kusama and even persuaded her own dealer to purchase several of her pieces. (Source: Sotheby's

  14. Kusama's artistic achievements have earned her numerous accolades and recognition. In 2019, she was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people. 

  15. In 2020, Kusama launched an augmented reality (AR) experience called KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature at the New York Botanical Garden. The immersive installation combined physical and virtual elements, allowing visitors to explore her iconic polka dots and other motifs in a natural setting. 

  16. Kusama's impact extends beyond the art world. In 2017, she collaborated with the fashion brand, Veuve Clicquot, to create a limited-edition champagne bottle design showcasing her signature polka dots. 

  17. At 94, Kusama continues to inspire and push artistic boundaries. Her tireless dedication to her craft and her unwavering commitment to creating art that resonates with audiences worldwide cement her status as a visionary and an enduring force in the contemporary art world. 

These inspiring facts shed light on the remarkable life and artistic contributions of Yayoi Kusama. From her early struggles to her record-breaking achievements, Kusama's journey is a testament to the transformative power of art and the indomitable spirit of a true visionary. 

The Purpose of Yayoi Kusama's Story: A Journey of Triumph and Artistic Genius 

Yayoi Kusama's story is one of extraordinary resilience, artistic genius, and the transformative power of art. At the remarkable age of 93, she is the most successful female artist, leaving an indelible mark on the art world. However, what sets Kusama apart is not just her immense talent and accolades but also her remarkable journey and the therapeutic nature of her art. 

For the past 37 years, Kusama has voluntarily resided in a psychiatric institution, a decision that has shaped her artistic vision and contributed to her legendary status. Through her experiences and struggles with mental health, she has found solace and an outlet for self-expression in her art. Kusama's art is not merely a visual spectacle but a means of processing her experiences and emotions, allowing her to share them in a controlled environment. 

The therapeutic nature of Kusama's art is evident in her immersive installations, such as the renowned Infinity Mirror Rooms. These mesmerising environments provide a safe space for Kusama to explore and depict her hallucinations, particularly her obsession with dots and the concept of infinity. Through her repetitive patterns and meticulously placed dots, she creates a visual language that transcends the boundaries of the conscious mind, inviting viewers to contemplate the infinite and interconnectedness of all things. 

Kusama's art is not limited to personal catharsis but is also a powerful tool for advocacy and raising awareness about mental health. By openly sharing and channelling her struggles into her artwork, she breaks down the stigma surrounding mental illness and encourages conversations on the topic. Kusama's courage to confront her own experiences and use them to inspire others is a testament to her strength and the therapeutic potential of art. 

Furthermore, Kusama's artistic genius shines through in her ability to captivate audiences and push artistic boundaries. Her unique style, characterised by vibrant colours, polka dots, and immersive installations, has garnered global recognition and admiration. From her early days in New York City's avant-garde art scene to her current status as a cultural icon, Kusama's relentless pursuit of her artistic vision has solidified her as one of the most influential artists of our time. 

Yayoi Kusama's story serves as an inspiration to artists and individuals alike. Her remarkable journey, voluntarily residing in a psychiatric institution for nearly four decades, showcases the power of art as a therapeutic and transformative force. Through her art, she not only processes her experiences but also creates a platform for dialogue on mental health. 

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