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
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.
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.
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.