In this blog post you will find my very first video log (vlog), lots of polka dot art, some journaling and lots of polka dotted lamps in different colors (swoon!). But first a little bit about the artist Yayoi Kusama…
Yayoi Kusama and her polka dots
Yayoi Kusama is a internationally well-known and very much loved artist from Japan. She has been making thought-proving art since she was very young, when she went to live in the US, to be more free with her art. She is now 89 years old and she is just as prolific as ever. She has moved back to Japan, and last year a new Kusama Museum opened up in Tokyo. I’d love to visit that museum one day…
A couple of her artworks were touring Scandinavia in 2016 and I got to see it in Stockholm, Sweden, where I live. Lucky me, right? I was totally mesmerized by her art, as I suspected I would be before going. I love polka dot patterns & colorful, bold art, and that is what Kusama is most known for. Her magnificent paintings with masked dots are called infinite nets, and her installations of objects and whole rooms covered in polka dots, are a piece of Alice in Wonderland magic coming to life. It’s like a Disney Land for adult art lovers.
My very first vlog
I decided on a whim to shoot some film from the Modern Museum of Art in Stockholm when we were there. I wanted to document what I saw and a bit of my own experience being inside this exhibition. Afterwards I was so happy I did, because I have never experienced anything like this before, or since. Kusama’s exhibition is one of my favorite art exhibitions ever. Seeing it on film can not compare to the real thing, to being surrounded by these cool paintings and sculptures, and being able to walk “inside” some of the installation rooms. If you ever have a chance to see one of her exhibitions, don’t hesitate – just go!
I have finally made all those short video clips from the exhibition into a video log of the day, a vlog. My first vlog. I hope you like it.
Here it is (click here if you can’t see it):
I was dressed in a red and white polka dot skirt and hoodie, and felt I had found “my place” in the world. I was especially in love with the round rice lamp room in black that was filled with mirrors. There all the lamps were covered in polka dots and changed color in a slow, hypnotizing way. I did not want to leave! I’m so glad I caught the experience on video with a smart phone, because now at least I can relive this short moment in time when I was surrounded by a wonderful sea of polka dots!
Outdoors the trees where covered in polka dots, and the entire exhibition entrance at the Modern Museum of Art in Stockholm was too. I was impressed with how varied her art was, from textile art to paintings to sculptures and huge installations. I can’t really picture how this little woman created some of these things, but I’m glad she did. She has created cool polka dot clothes together with famous fashion designers too, and wrote letters to Georgia O’Keeffe, which I spotted in a glass showcase together with her earlier sketchbooks.
I knew Yayoi Kusama was sick as a young woman, and that her polka dots is said to have been born out of strange hallucinations and some kind of psychosis / psychology disorder. But I can’t really see it for myself, that these are works of distress or pain. I think they look happy, and they make me happy too. But everyone interprets art differently I guess, and that is totally fine. And even if they’ve come out of hallucinations, she has done something very pretty with her visions. An artist’s biography can add interest and dimension, but artwork that is strong on their own are even more powerful.
Polka dots to me are so happy, and Kusama’s work is full of childlike wonder and happiness. I think that’s what she wants to say to her viewers too, even though she herself can’t express it.
In the videos interviews of her that I’ve watched on YouTube, she talks in a monotone and robotic way, like she is on drugs. Often she looks like a shell of a human being. It’s super sad, and still full of hope because of what she is saying. She is said to live in a psychiatric ward (what I called care taker home in the video), and has done so for the past 40 years, but every morning she goes to her own studio space and paints for the rest of the day. Art is her life, and I think that’s how it was meant to be.
She treats her daily painting sessions like an obsession and a full time job at the same time, and I guess in a way that’s what painting is for her. Painting is a must, a savior, an obsession and her biggest passion.
I’m so grateful for what she has created, and that I got to experience it in my own life.
Yayoi Kusama Obsessed with Polka Dots
Here’s a video featuring her and more of her art (by Tate):
Further polka dotted inspiration
Previous Blog posts about polka dots
More Polka dots on Pinterest
Video: How to paint like Yayoi Kusama (how her infinity nets are created)
If you want to learn more about the artist, watch this 20 minute long documentary: The Inexhaustible Creations of Yayoi Kusama (Brilliant Ideas Ep. 53 on YouTube):
Let me know below what you think of her art, of polka dots, of the vlog, of anything mentioned above…