You’ve seen Yayoi Kusama dotted merchandise and children’s books; listened to Kusama-themed podcasts; and even seen the documentary chronicling the Japanese artist’s life and career.
Now, for the first time, Kusama stans can read about the artist in the form of a graphic novel.
Written and illustrated by Elisa Macellari, a Thai-Italian artist, the book tells the story of Kusama’s coming of age in Japan as she struggled with hallucinations and obsessive behaviors.
Kusama channeled those struggles into a career that began in Japan and—against her parents’ will—took her to New York City, where she flourished.
In the panels, Macellari empathetically describes Kusama’s fears and anxieties, exacerbated by her unfaithful father and overbearing mother, and the refuge that art provided her.
As a young woman, Kusama discovered the work of Georgia O’Keeffe, who became something of a recluse herself, painting in the New Mexico desert after her husband’s death.
The graphic novel also tracks Kusama’s early years in the United States, as she found likeminded artists in Andy Warhol, Donald Judd, Joseph Cornell, and Salvador Dali, and examines how she expanded her drawing and painting practices into installations, performances, clothing designs, and more.
See panels from the new book, published by Laurence King, below: