Saturday, July 6, 2013


Artistic Minds: Kahlo - Part 1

Art and Fashion have been very important things in my life growing up and still to this date.  I started drawing between the ages of 7-8 and I used to make clothes to my dolls from old fabric that I would find at home. We couldn't afford to buy additional clothes for my barbies, so I had to get creative. I definitely had fun making those tiny miniature pieces.  Then, I started learning about artists and designers and that is when the inspiration started to flow in.  There are two people whose work I truly admire: Frida Kahlo and Alexander McQueen.

From a very young, I fell in love with Frida Kahlo's work and story.  In the years when Lady Gaga became a huge star and her "Poker Face" and "Bad Romance" were everywhere, I fell in love with Alexander McQueen's work.  I was first introduced to Frida Kahlo around the age of 10 or 11 while surfing through the pages of an art textbook and Alexander McQueen around 19 or 20.

I always question how I like such seemingly opposite creative minds. I spent a lot of time trying to find meaning in what attracts me to their work and then it came to me. I realized that for some reason or another, I find so many similarities between them.  You might think: "This is so odd." But, I look at it from a different perspective.

In these series of three parts, first, I will give a little bit of background on both artists, and show and  describe examples of their work. Then, I will explain the connections I find within them to conclude this amazing series of writings. Stay Tuned.

Frida Kahlo


Frida Kahlo was born on July 6th, 1907 in Coyoacan, Mexico to her European Father (who was a photographer) and her Mexican Mother.  As a little girl, she suffered from Polio and in her later teenage years, suffered a dramatic accident on a public bus that caused her several health issues throughout her life, including a few miscarriages.  In the accident, a handrill went from one side of her hip to the other. As a result of spending so many months recovering in bed, she started painting during this period.  The accident changed her life completely. She spent most of her life in a bed and wore different corsets to support her back.   She married married Diego Rivera (well known "Mexican Muralist") in her early 20s and he encouraged her to continue painting.  Her tumultuous and on again-off again marriage to Rivera was also a significant part in her work.  At some point, Kahlo's fame overshadowed her husband's. She is known for painting self portraits of herself and other people that she met throughout her life.  Frida Kahlo was also a fashion icon.  She is known for wearing colorful Mexican cultural outfits, jewelry, and lots of flowers in her braided long black hair.  In recent years, she has been inspiration for several fashion editorial pieces. Although many consider her a "surrealist,"  she never saw herself as one.  Kahlo died in  the summer of 1954, at the age of 47.  Today, her "Casa Azul" ("Blue House" in Spanish), where she grew up and passed away, is a museum. (For more info:

"...I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality." --Frida Kahlo

"The Two Fridas": One of her most famous paintings, "The Two Fridas" symbolized her connections between her European and Mexican roots (I learned this from a documentary I saw years ago while doing reearch for a project I did about her:

"Self Portrait," 1940
The painting that started all: This is the 1st painting I ever saw from Frida Kahlo. It was so intriguing to me and I kept going back to see the page.

"I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best." --Frida Kahlo

"Abrazo Amoroso," 1949
References to Mother Nature and spiritualism can be seen in her paintings. 
This one is particularly very beautiful.

"Henry Ford Hospital," 1932
This painting was created after Kahlo suffered a miscarriage while living in the US. Her inability to have a child was a very difficult source of suffering and sadness for her.  Kahlo was never able to have children.

"I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint."-- Frida Kahlo

"Mois├ęs," 1945
A very complex and detailed painting, in here we can see references of human reproduction, cultural and religious symbols, politics, and society. This is one of my favorite works from her.

"Self Portrait on the Border," 1932
In this painting, she showcases how she sees the United States and how she sees Mexico.
For her, her country represents more nature and more real things while the US represents and artificial and industrialized world.  

"Unos Cuantos Piquetitos," 1935
Perhaps one of Kahlo's most graphic paintings based on true life events. 
It was about the violent murder of a woman.

"Magnolias," 1945

"I paint flowers so they will not die." -- Frida Kahlo

"Tunas (Still Life with Prickly Pear Fruit)," 1938
Throughout her career, Kahlo did several paints about fruits and flowers.  This one in particular seems to show an extension of her painful experiences.

Check out my Pinterest Board "Frida Kahlo":

For now, until next time. Stay Tune for Artistic Minds: McQueen - Part 2.

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