Yayoi Kusama Pumpkins

Teaching Art

If you follow my blog you already know I am obsessed with Halloween. However, some schools can be a bit funny about celebrating Halloween, including mine, so I have found a way of tying in the iconic image of a pumpkin that is separate from the ‘evil’ connotation that All Hollows Eve conjures.

Enter, Yayoi Kusama. yayoi

Yayoi Kusama is an octogenarian pop artist who is notorious for her poka-dotted persona and influential style. Her most well known art are paintings and sculptures of brightly polka-dotted pumpkins.

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After discussing Yayoi Kusama’s artwork, students studied pumpkins and drew still life drawings of them. After tracing over their pencil lines with black marker, students painted their pumpkin and a separate background with poster paint. Lastly, using oil pastels, dots were added to the pumpkins and a geometric web for the background.

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The video demonstration is below. Note that I completed this art work over three 45 minute lessons.

The students really enjoyed the art work of Yayoi Kusama and many of the students asked if I had planned to talk about her because Halloween was coming up. With a big smile on my face I replied, ‘Hai!’

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Venus McArtsy even got involved and wrote a song about Yayoi Kusama. I played it in the background while students worked on their pumpkins. Their ability to retain information when it presented in a song it much better than if were lecture them. The power of song!

The final dot was dressing up as Yayoi Kusama on the day my students finished their pumpkins which just happened to be October 31st (totally planned). So, in the end, I didn’t celebrate Halloween at school, I visually represented the relevant artist who inspired our secular pumpkin project for the month of October. How do you like them pumpkins!?


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