Yayoi Kusama is an old woman in her nineties. She is also one of Japan's greatest living artists. She has many talents. She paints, performs, and designs creative spaces. But the one thing that most of her works have in common is dots!
Kusama was born in Nagano, Japan, in 1929. She loved painting from an early age. But her parents did not support her passion. Her mother would even tear up her drawings, which—lacking art materials— she did in mud on old sacks. During this period, Kusama had a vision that would inspire her career forever. She dreamed she was in a field of talking flowers. She saw their heads, like little dots, fading into the distance. She felt that she was vanishing into this field of infinite dots, too.
In 1958, Kusama sensed the most exciting art was happening in the United States. So she moved to New York. There she became a pioneer in the development of performance art. She became famous for painting naked people with colorful dots!
In the 1970s, however, Kusama began suffering from mental illness, so she returned to Japan. She checked herself into a mental hospital and has lived there voluntarily ever since. But she continues to create amazing art. Today she is best known for her creative environments, which she calls "Infinity Mirror Rooms." These rooms are filled with her signature dots. She creates them by installing colorful LED lights into spaces full of mirrors. Inside, it is as if the space and the lights go on forever. Standing there you feel how she must have felt during her vision as a child—lost in, and at one with, infinity.