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Yayoi Kusama: The Polka Dot Visionary

Updated: Jun 11

Konnichiwa こんにちは Friends and Warriors,

Yayoi Kusama, the Queen of Polka Dots, is one of the most influential artists today. Her journey from a small town in Japan to international fame is a testament to her incredible talent, resilience, and vision. Today, she is the highest-paid female artist in the world, a true testament to her perseverance and brilliance.

Lori Tsugawa at Yayoi Kusama Museum in Tokyo

Born in Matsumoto, Japan, on March 22, 1929, Kusama's childhood was filled with vivid hallucinations of dots and patterns. These experiences shaped her art and gave her a sense of purpose—her Ikigai. Despite her parents' opposition, she pursued her passion for painting. At ten, she began creating art with watercolors, pastels, and oils. She later studied traditional Japanese Nihonga painting in Kyoto but felt drawn to the avant-garde.

In the mid-1950s, Kusama reached out to Georgia O'Keeffe, seeking advice. Encouraged by O'Keeffe, she moved to New York in 1957, diving into the art scene. Her innovative work soon caught the attention of influential figures like Andy Warhol.

Kusama's polka dots, which she calls "infinity nets," symbolize the infinite and the vastness of the universe. Her "Infinity Mirror Rooms" create the illusion of endless space, filled with dots and lights extending infinitely. Her art is deeply connected to her personal struggles and mental health, providing her a way to heal.

Since 1977, Kusama has lived in a Tokyo psychiatric hospital, continuing to create art from a nearby studio. Her belief in the healing power of art and its ability to transform suffering into beauty is central to her life.

Elevator with red polka dots
Elevator with red polka dots - Yayoi Kusama Museum in Tokyo

Yayoi Kusama’s story is one of resilience, innovation, and unwavering dedication. She embodies the principles of Bushido, Ikigai, and Ganbaru. Kusama showed courage, respect, and perseverance, staying true to her vision despite challenges. Her journey teaches us the power of following our passions and pushing through adversity.

Now she is the highest paid female artist in the world.

To apply Kusama's example to your life and business, consider these practical steps:

  1. Embrace your passion. Identify what you love and pursue it relentlessly. This is your Ikigai.

  2. Practice resilience. Use challenges as opportunities to grow stronger. Every obstacle is a chance to prove your determination.

  3. Innovate and create. Don’t be afraid to break away from the norm. Your unique perspective is valuable and can set you apart in business and life.

  4. Seek guidance. Reach out to mentors and learn from their experiences. Kusama’s relationship with Georgia O'Keeffe was pivotal in her journey.

  5. Stay true to yourself. Follow your vision with unwavering dedication. Let your authenticity shine in everything you do.

Reflecting on Kusama’s journey can guide us in our own lives and businesses. The benefits of following her example include finding a deeper sense of purpose, achieving personal and professional growth, and overcoming challenges with resilience.

On the other hand, not embracing these principles can lead to missed opportunities, stagnation, and unfulfilled potential.

What’s your story of resilience? How have you overcome challenges in your journey?

Let’s connect and share our stories. Click HERE and let’s set up a Zoom call to discuss how you can harness these principles to achieve your dreams.


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