Beginning the End: Artist Research

In order to gather inspiration create a foundation to base my work load and research on.

As I intended for this project to have the potential for further self discovery I decided to look into artists whose work has also allowed them to discover a lot about themselves.

Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese contemporary artist. Kusama has created work fitting within many categories such as film, photography, painting, sculptures, installation, fashion, poetry and others.

Kusama was always interested in art although her parents did not wish for her to become an artist as it was seen as an unstable job. Also, during her childhood years, feminism/ female equality was not active (born on the 22nd March 1929). This meant that it was near impossible for a female to make it in art as it was heavily male dominated.

When Kusama was caught painting instead of studying when she was younger, her parents would tear up her work to make a statement about how she was not to become an artist.

Kusama found herself inspired by American abstract artists. Which would later inspire her to move to New York to follow her dreams of making it within the art industry.

Yayoi Kusama is known for her use of brightly coloured dots within her paintings, fashion, installations and performances. The existence of the metaphorical dots came from an experience Kusama had when she was younger. She once walked into a sunflower field and was claustrophobic as opposed to being in awe, being surrounded in natural beauty. The feeling of being small in the field of sunflowers made her feel small in the grand scheme of things. A small existence that is drowned out by others. Perhaps this moment would be one of the reasons that Kusama battled depression throughout her life.

These dots also came directly from hallucinations which she experienced after experiencing the sunflower field, which she explained as flashes of light, and flowers which would speak to her.

Kusama’s first grand success was when she began covering surfaces, furniture, walls and her assistants in polka dots.

Yayoi Kusama also experienced having her art/ concepts stolen from her. One artist which stole her work which may be one of the most famous is Andy Warhol.

Kusama’s first solo exhibition named “Aggregation: One Thousand Boats Show” was copied by Andy Warhol. Andy later plastered images of cows on the walls around his show.


This lead Kusama to develop paranoia, knowing that people were watching and copying her work and ideas. This lead to Kusama covering the windows of her studio with paper to avoid people being able to see her work before it was released.

Kusama went through a lot of experiences whilst creating her work. The amount of self discovery she faced through creating inspired me. Although she has been through more experiences which lead to her mental illnesses, her paintings she said offered her escapism and ways of dealing with her inner troubles.

The aesthetical judgement that Kusama made to involve the polka dots within her work was very successful, as not only was it deep in metaphorical value, yet framed her work to then be seen as a ‘Kusama piece’.

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Francis Bacon

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Francis Bacon was an Irish figurative painter, known for the emotional background and attachments to his paintings.

Bacon had grown up in a state of feeling shunned. Bacon enjoyed dressing up in his sisters clothing and had quite feminine manners. This was known to cause upset in his household, as it has been said that Francis Bacon’s father whipped Bacon whenever he found him acting feminine, and would even lock him in a small cupboard located under there stairs for punishment to Bacon acting feminine.

There were many times that the family moved house, which left Bacon feeling misplaced and never ‘at home’.

The metaphors behind Bacon’s paintings are what makes his paintings so effective.

The distorted figures usually shown sat within a box in a dark room is believed to represent the beatings and violence Bacon suffered when he was younger and unable to come out about his homosexual sexuality (distortion within the paintings). It is also believed to represent the box that Bacon was scolded to be able to fit in. The fact that he was told to conform to the ‘normal’ standards within society, which at that time was men shall be men, women shall be women, all of which shall be heterosexual. Also there is a possibility that the box shows the claustrophobia and references the small cupboard bacon was locked in when he was younger.

Image result for francis bacon painting

These two artists show such strong self expression within their imagery, which is what I would like to explore this term/ this final year through my project(s).

Although these artists may not be illustrators, they still have strong use of metaphor, aesthetic judgement, technique, process, and everything else that you would wish to find to inspire you to complete a project.

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