The life of Yayoi Kusama is being turned into a graphic novel

The book will illustrate the iconic Japanese artist's story in all its polka-dotted glory.

by Tom George
26 August 2020, 11:55am

Yayoi Kusama Portrait, 2014 Photography © Noriko Takasugi

A new graphic novel dedicated to the colourful, dotty world of Yayoi Kusama is coming from Laurence King Publishing, creators of the Graphic Lives series that documents the biographies of artistic greats such as Basquiat and Pollock through beautiful illustrations.

Titled Kusama: The Graphic Novel, the book will run through the 91-year-old Japanese artist’s life: the hallucinatory episodes she experienced as a child that often included seeing dots, her move to New York in the ‘60s and subsequent reputational growth -- which was followed by a period of declining success and mental well-being -- and her eventual return to Japan, where she became the world-renowned artist she is today.

“Kusama’s world is eccentric, captivating and inclusive,” Elisa Macellari, the Thai-Italian illustrator behind the book, says. “I just took a small step inside it and her dense life mesmerised me.” The book riffs on Kusama’s signature red and polka dot sculpture work. “I tried to find my own language, using graphic signs as the polka dots or small circles to create a visual rhythm,” says Elisa. “I also loved choosing the colour palette, which tells a story full of contrasts.”

The 128 page book with over 400 illustrations will be available to buy from Laurence King's online store from 15 September.

Yayoi Kusama