Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese writer and artist who was born in 1929. Her nickname is the Polka Dot Princess. She has been painting since she was a child and has been a professional artist since the late 50s. Her work is very conceptual in nature and has been featured in the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, as well as many other museums around the world. She has collaborated with Lancôme as well as Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton. Her painting White No. 28 from 1960 sold for $7.1 million.
With all the amazing accomplishments to her credit Yayoi Kusama has lived with mental health issues for decades. She has lived voluntarily in a mental hospital in Japan since 1977. She has dealt with nervous disorders and hallucinations since childhood. At 88 years old Yayoi continues to paint and works in her studio which is across the street from the psychiatric hospital. She considers her work “art medicine” and would deal with her hallucinations by drawing repetitive patterns to drive the thoughts out of her mind.
“If it were not for art, I would have killed myself a long time ago.” Yayoi Kusama