Today I’m inspired by… Yayoi Kusama’s entire career.

yayoiI’ve professed my love for Yayoi Kusama before, but this playful, colorful art installation in Aix-en-Provence just takes it to the next level. It’s like a scene from a utopian fantasy novel, or an adult Dr. Seuss. A quick google search revealed that this Japanese artist was active in the New York art scene at the same time as Andy Warhol—which makes perfect sense, because nothing quite says POP art to me like colorful dots and infinitely repeating patterns (these trees are kind of like a deconstructed Lichtenstein). Her work has been labeled feminist and minimalist, with strong (and pretty awesome) psychedelic undertones. But what really surprised me is that she’s also the author of multiple novels. She’s 84-years-old and a totally badass lady with more talent in her little finger than most people have in their entire bodies. And just look at her:

Yayoi_Kusama_3018813bI get so wrapped up in stories of young people creating amazing things, but often these “prodigy” narratives make me feel unaccomplished. Reading about established artists with long, varied, and interesting careers is the perfect antidote to that ugly, envious tendency. At 84, she’s still creating wonderful things. Life is (hopefully) long and full of wonder. I still have time.

P.S. Dig this artist? You can check out more of her work at Artsy.net.

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Honestly, I love Naomi Okubo.

LovelyHonesty is a tricky thing. I think everyone, in some way or another, struggles with the truth. Some people lie, both to themselves and others, acting as through the truth is a disease they can avoid with enough mental hygiene. I tend to flow in the opposite direction; I can be guilty of sharing too much, giving too many pieces of myself. You’re probably thinking maybe that’s why I have a blog. That might be true.

Naomi Okubo not only creates beautiful things, but she also paints with honesty. The contemporary Japanese artist creates images that remind me so much of the scroll painting tradition (and since I’m terribly, incurably American, they also remind me of the “Oriental” inspired works of Mary Cassatt). But while her images are undeniably gorgeous, I’m almost more interested in her artist’s statement. And that never happens. lovely2She writes: Continue reading

Educate Me.

5a29e7834750I have a confession: I know embarrassingly little about art outside the Western world. I can tell a Titian from a Tintoretto (not a huge deal, but still) and I can hold my own in a conversation about American art. But when it comes to art from virtually anywhere else, I’m practically a novice. I took a few semesters of World Art, but they were overview classes, with a chapter on each location. Nothing in depth, nothing particularly fascinating.

Not only do I feel slightly guilty for my crappy art education, but I also have started to realize recently just how much I’m missing out. Take, for example, the work of Ray Morimura. He’s a contemporary Japanese artist who makes gorgeous, detailed, breathtaking woodblock prints. Depicting both urban scenes and rural landscapes, they’re really captivating. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, he doesn’t have a website. But you can see more here.

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