New graphic novel by illustrator Elisa Macellari tells the fascinating story of cult artist Yayoi Kusama

Deemed as one of the most important living artists to come out of Japan, Yayoi Kusama is often called the "princess of polka dots" with her dot-covered artworks gaining cult status around the world. But despite her fame, not many know of her story, until now.

All images courtesy of the artist and publisher

All images courtesy of the artist and publisher

Kusama: The Graphic Novel is the first, you guessed it, graphic novel on Kusama, illustrated by Elisa Macellari, a Thai-Italian illustrator whose clients include The New York Times, Women's Health, and Cartoon Network.

Through Elisa's beautiful and vivid drawings, we follow Kusama's incredible journey from rural Japan to becoming an international icon. We learn more of her bold departure from her home country as a young artist, her embrace of the buzzing New York art scene in the 1960s, and her eventual return home and rise to twenty-first-century super-fame. On hoping to leave Japan, Kusama in the book says, "Mother, father, I'd like to go to the United States"... To which they reply, "If you do, you won't set foot in this house again".

Elisa renders Kusama's fascinating life in a unique graphic style, offering a new way to look at one of the best-known and most intriguing artists of our time. Kusama follows Elisa's first graphic novel, Papaya Salad, which was published in 2018 and told the story of her Thai great-uncle, Sompong, who found himself in Europe on military scholarship on the eve of World War II.

Kusama: The Graphic Novel by Elisa Macellari is published by Laurence King and will be available from September 2020. In the meantime, discover more of Elisa's work at


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