Polka Dot Heaven.
Click on Kusama’s link and be utterly amazed. Prolific doesn’t even come close to describing this 83-year-old woman’s life work. Wikipedia elaborates on the roots of Kusama’s artistic motivation, “Born in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, Kusama has experienced hallucinations and severe obsessive thoughts since childhood, often of a suicidal nature.”
After you check out her mind-boggling body of work, you’ll most definitely gain appreciation of her bizarre, eight-decade-long proclivity for polka dots. This woman is simply amazing. She’s decorated entire rooms all over the world in unbelievable displays of colorful polka dots and even painted dots on all the tree trunks along busy Orchard Road for the 2006 Singapore Biennale in an outlandish, mega outdoor exhibition of her work. Though many might not know her name, she was a contemporary of Andy Warhol and she staked out her own turf in New York City back in the 50s by staging exhibitions of live naked ladies clad only in polka dots.
It’s said that she lives near an insane asylum in Japan where she’s often admitted in-between her bouts of artistic expression.
Wow! What a lady.
Emma, the model for Hilde’s little tribute to Kusama, agreed to pose topless for our polka dot homage to this remarkable artist.
It’s amazing how “fully clothed” the models often feel once a bit of body paint is applied.
To illuminate the background, I used a Canon 430EX II with its built-in 14mm dispersion panel flipped over the flash head, which was powered down a couple of stops, and I mounted the unit on a Manfrotto 5001B light stand just behind the model.
For the key light I used a Canon 580EX II Speedlite mounted into a 16×16-inch gridded soft box pointed at Emma’s face and polka-dotted breasts. Both flash units were triggered with Pocket Wizard TT5 radios. The transmitter in the camera’s hot shoe was fitted with a an AC3 Zone Controller. There was a ring flash around my lens, which I often use for fill flash, but since the key light was directly centered in front of Emma, the fill wasn’t needed.
I was using my hotel room in Bangkok as a mini-studio and I gained extra space by flipping the bed up against the wall. In the setup photo you can see Hilde leaning against it with her pots of body paint in hand for last minute touch ups. For a theme-related background, I clipped a polka dot fabric onto a half roll of seamless paper.
In the end I had collected my last semblance of sanity and concluded that the hotel management wouldn’t appreciate finding the walls of my room painted in colorful dots the next morning, though I’m sure Kusama would scoff at my timidity.
Share with your friends.