“I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.” Frida Kahlo
Born in 1907 in Mexico, Frida Kahlo is an inspiration to many people; for her beautiful and honest artworks and her incredible determination in the face of much adversity. She once poetically described herself as a “ribbon around a bomb”. I knew I had an appreciation for her, but after researching for this blog I am blown away by her magic.
1. Frida wasn’t afraid to experiment with different art forms
Around the age of 17- 18 not considering herself an artist, Frida explored photography; learning how to use a camera, develop and retouch at her Father’s studio. Followed by an apprenticeship in printmaking, learning to draw and copy prints. Later in her life you can see these skills beautifully coming through in her art works. Do you remember your early art lessons, or tentative explorations into different media? Mix it up and refresh your skills, think of all the new exciting ways you can approach your art making!
2. Whilst bed bound she turned tragedy into beauty
During her convalescence after a terrible accident Frida began to paint. Her paintings, mostly self-portraits and still life, were deliberately naïve, and filled with the colors and forms of Mexican folk art.
At the time of her first exhibition opening while still unable to leave her bed she insisted that she was going to attend her opening, and, in Frida style, she did. She arrived in an ambulance with her bed in the back of a truck. She was placed in her bed and four men carried her inside to the waiting guests.
3. She was passionate and honest in her art work
She painted her life in a bold, surrealistic exploration of her world and mexican culture. It is well documented about her collections for celebratory ‘Day of the Dead’ masks, her painting The Little Deer 1946 is her personal response to this, mixed with the pain of her miscarriages and turbulent romance. What inspires you? If Frida teaches us one thing it is to paint our passions!
4. Frida’s exuberance lived in the shadow of her husband
It took years for Frida to be appreciated during her turbulent marriage to her painter husband Diego Rivera. Please be inspired to keep on creating! Even to this day the fascination lives on and some of her love letters have recently been sold at auction for £88,000.
‘She transformed her suffering and made that transformation eloquent for others. Working on her last painting – of watermelons – eight days before her death, she inscribed into the painting a three-word prayer: VIVA LA VIDA. Long live life. Amen to that.’ – Jay Griffiths
For further reading on this remarkable woman see; ‘A Love Letter from a Stray Moon’ by Jay Griffiths… it’s on my reading list!
Who inspires you? We would love to know!
Above Artwork: Self-Portrait 1926, Tree Of Hope 1946, The Little Deer 1946, What the Water Gave Me 1938