She Like, Invented The Polka Dot: 7 Ways To Celebrate Yayoi Kusama’s Birthday

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(image via Phaidon)

Put on your itsy-bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini and dig into something sweet, ‘cause it’s artist Yayoi Kusama’s 86th birthday.  Here’s seven ways you can honor the “Priestess of Polka Dots.”  

1)  Don your craziest polka-dot apparel


(image via DCW Design)

Don’t have a polka dot shirt?  Don’t worry.  You can also get naked and paint dots all over your body.  To really do it right, perform this act on a public street corner, just like Yayoi did. (via Artist Portfolio Magazine)

I’m swooning over this look on George Clooney…and not just ‘cause it’s George Clooney. (Though it doesn’t hurt.)


(image via W Magazine)

2) Sport a red wig


(image via Architectural Digest)

You’ll never catch Yayoi without her signature crimson ‘do.  Easy to “spot” her in a crowd!

3) Eat something phallic 


(Accumulation No. 1 by Kusama at MOMA)

Well tickle my pickle because I’m just bananas for this hot-diggity-dog sculpture. Yayoi is known for for making many of these floppy, nylon  artworks.  Whether a room full of them or a chair covered in them, doesn’t it just make you wanna dive right in?  

4) Get tripped out by a kaleidoscope

Woah, dude. Trippy.  Can you imagine being inside a kaleidoscope?  Well, imagine no more, because Yayoi’s built a whole series of infinity rooms – kaleidoscopic mirrored rooms loaded with psychedelic flashing LED lights.  


(One of many)


(image via PrizmSpace)

Take the rainbow even further by donning a pair of kaleidoscope glasses.

5.  Tell someone wearing polka dots that they should thank Yayoi Kusama for the poppin’ pattern


(image via Flavorwire)

See artist Damien Hirst with his polka dot artwork, above left?  Yayoi actually visited his dotty exhibition and boy, did she have a few things to say.

“When I was young, I was the only person who was using polka dots. I have made the polka dot into a symbol of love and peace.”  -Kusama (via Telegraph)

She also politely slammed him for using a team of hired assistants to create his work, whereas Yayoi paints her dots all on her own.

“I’m the one who does it all and this is why I’m in a wheelchair. I have been doing this hard labour all of my life and it has hurt my joints.”  -Kusama (via Telegraph)

6.  Doodle some dots during a meeting today


Kusama inspired me to make this dot doodle, shown above.  I’m obsessed with her and devised this lil’ acronym:    


7.  Play Twister


(image via Escaype Enterprises)

Because, duh!  Yayoi, I challenge you to a tournament of this mind-bending game.  

In a perfect world, we could have it in the room below.

I want my birthday party to be a frenzy of rainbow dot stickering.

Let Sartle know how celebrate this dotty artist’s birthday – and don’t forget to add extra rainbow sprinkles.


(image via Sarah Anne Ward)

by Carolyn Nickell

Carolyn Nickell