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From Yayoi Kusama to Andy Warhol, The Lives of Artists as Graphic Novels

Kusama: The Graphic Novel by Elisa Macellari, Editions du Chêne, 2020.

The 9th great art form regularly draws its inspiration from the lives of painters, sculptors, musicians, and performers, exploring the complexity of famous creators and centering the aesthetics for which they're known. Here's our selection of the latest that should make your list:

Andy: un conte de faits ("a tale of facts") — the vibrant life of the father of pop art

In these 562 high-octane pages, the artist known as Typex unveils each step in Warhol's fraught path to success and beyond, from his impoverished childhood to his dizzying celebrity, characterized by exuberance. The gay artist, torn between the poles of autonomous creation and marketization, deeply marked the art world and its history. In each of these 10 chapters, the Dutch graphic novelist adopts a different graphic style that echoes a period in the icon's life. It required nearly five years of research and creation to properly grasp Warhol as a character, one as luminescent as he was complex.
Casterman, 2020.

Kusama: The Graphic Novel — a quest for freedom

Here, Italian illustrator Elisa Macellari spins a poetic recounting of artist Yayoi Kusama's impassioned career. The painter and sculptor, born in 1929 to a conservative Japanese family, had to advocate for her emancipation. Studying art despite her parent's wishes, she began to suffer from visual hallucinations that would infuse her body of work with an immediately recognizable style. This graphic novel follows her move to the United States, where she immersed herself in the hippie movement and constructed a remarkable artistic career through which she liberated artistic practices in the interest of a total art. She accomplished all of this while becoming world-famous with her breathtaking immersive installations.
Éditions du Chêne, 2020.

Kiki de Montparnasse — the saga of a Parisian muse

In this new edition of the beloved graphic novel first published in 2007 and translated in English as Kiki de Montparnasse: The Graphic Biography, illustrator Catel Muller and scriptwriter José-Louis Bocquet pay homage to a legendary figure from the Roaring Twenties. Having always loved the biographies of women who changed history, the graphic duo has woven from golden thread the story of this Parisian artist. Avoiding any hint of maudlin thanks to their combined skill, their portrayal of Kiki is possessed of the charisma and honesty that placed her squarely ahead of her era. A model in her spare time, this graphic novel leads us through the life of the woman who would become the muse of the great Montparnasse surrealists.
Casterman, 2018.

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