Saturday, March 31, 2012

(KG) Exploring the work of Yayoi Kusama

The students looked at images of Yayoi Kusama's work, and they loved how she used dots in her paintings and sculptures. We learned that, when she was ten, her mother took away her brushes and canvases because it was not culturally acceptable for a young Japanese girl to paint. However, she was determined to become an artist and her dream brought her to New York. She relates: "When I first arrived in New York, I went to the top of the Empire State Building. Seeing this big city, I promised myself that one day I would conquer New York and make my name in the world with my passion for the arts and mountains of creative energy stored inside myself."

When examining her body of work, we learned that she worked in a wide variety of mediums; including painting, sculpture, collage, and environmental installations. She used vibrant colors with an emphasis in repetition and pattern. Needless to say, the students loved her dots and her beautiful colors.

 We discussed how she created interesting patterns by combining a variety of colors with different sizes of dots. 

The artist Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama

My dot examples

Some students decided to use their initials to create their dot composition. 
We used color pencils for the letters and oil pastels for the background. 

We discussed how we had to leave a space in between the dots.
This was not an easy task. 

Understanding how to use different sizes dots.

Learning that making dots is not as easy as it looks.

Some students felt more comfortable using markers.

Using our fingers to create the dot background.

It was interesting to listen to students advising each other that the dots had to look like circles and not ovals.

After viewing this video, we discussed how Yayoi Kusama used installations to exhibit her thematic interest
in dots, colors, patterns, and scale.

Yayoi Kusama

Interpreting Kusama's sculptural flower using finger painting.
The student drew a flower with color pencils, and added the dots following the lines.

Student comment: "I have no space left, and so I have to place my dots on top of other dots."

Learning how things that are closer to us are bigger and smaller when they are further away.

Choosing a picture out of a magazine in order to create a dot composition. 
Using both markers and finger painting to complete this artwork.

This student tried so hard to create the different sizes of dots. 

Yayoi Kusama

I had two pair of shoes, one for tap dancing and the other one for ballet donated last year.
I knew we would find a way to use these two pairs of shoes in a project one day. 
When we looked at Yayoi Kusama's shoes, we knew the day had come for these shoes to be used.

 Using one tap shoe to create "the pink and yellow dot tap shoe." 

Carefully working to have space between the dots. 

This student completed the other shoe of the tap shoe pair.
We glued the "yellow and red tap shoe" on the dot-decorated tile.

Working on decorating a ballet shoe.

We attached the shoe on a wooden surface.


  1. very very interesting!! Well done!

  2. What an amazing artist and narrative to share! What great explorations of color and pattern and I especially love the shoes:)

  3. How many things are learned and how many artists you know in your blog.
    Ciao Gabriella

  4. great post, the artprojects are wonderful!!!

  5. I love the compositions with the shoes, great. Greetings.

  6. I love the shoes as well. What a great idea. I had never heard of this artist thank you for introducing her to me.

  7. These students are having a lot of fun, and they did a nice creation with the shoes.I didn't know this japanese artist...thanks for sharing.

  8. Congratulations on the great variety of proposals plastic made ​​from the work of Yayoi Kusama, and all very interesting. I especially liked the results obtained with the shoes and the relationship established with Kusama's work.
    A hug and see you soon.

  9. circles is my favourite shape!
    great approach to the artist...
    thanks for sharing!

  10. I admire all of the different approaches you took to explore this artist...very inspiring.

  11. very nice work!!! congratulations!!!

    this work reminded me of an animation, see the link:

    hugs from Brasil!!!

  12. Maravillosas creaciones!!!! Felicitaciones!!!!!!

    Saludos. Laura.

    (Puse en mi pagina un enlace de su blog, espero no le moleste)

  13. I love the idea of teaching kindergarteners to have the discipline to leave spaces between the dots and the planning involved. I will definitely try this. Thanks:)

  14. Мне очень понравилось! Какие вы молодцы!

  15. Hello CAE!... Always a pleasure to drop by and view your new searchings and discoveries!

    Thinking outside of the box... and using new tools to expand our individual tool boxes makes creating exciting.

    I loved the finger dot approach to decorate the tap shoes. What an innovative project!

    A most enjoyable visit! Thank you all!

    Good Painting... and Exploring!
    Warmest regards,
    Bruce Sherman

  16. Very interesting and well-done art projects , inspired from great artists !!!
    Congratulations to all of you !!!

  17. Wonderful, I love the flowers.

  18. What wonderful explorations...I had not heard of this artist, so thank you for the information.
    Your students have done you and her proud!!

  19. I feel very close to these colors.

  20. I love Yayoi Kusama
    And liked the interpretations of student
    Thanks a lot for sharing
    See you soon )^_^(

  21. Hello again!

    Wow! What a amazing artworks. The first looks like a snake.