**click artist's selfie to enlarge**
(oil on canvas, 18X36, 2009)
"Self-portrait as a Femme Fatale"
I painted my first artist 'selfie' when I was eighteen. Consequently, I discovered Frida Kahlo about the same time, while working on an art history project. As I was researching contemporary female fine artists I came across a tiny book on a dusty library shelf. It turned out to be Frida Kahlo's diary. I started reading and couldn't shake off the feeling that I could've written it. I then looked up Kahlo's paintings and fell in love with her work.
After digging deeper into Frida's biography I noticed some similarities between our lives and ways of thinking. Reincarnation is an enticing concept for a college freshman, so I rapidly developed a theory as to how I could easily be Kahlo's reincarnation, (please keep in mind that I was eighteen at the time and fancied myself an eccentric). Below you'll find some of the reasons why I thought I could be the reincarnation of the famous Mexican:
- Frida Kahlo was a communist and given a choice would most likely prefer to be born in the Soviet Union in her next life. I was born in the Soviet Union...
- Frida's sun sign was Cancer and so is mine.
- As a child Frida Kahlo was a tomboy and so was I.
- Frida Kahlo's native tongue was Spanish. I studied Spanish for over ten years in school... Mine was the only school in the city of three million where a child could start learning Spanish from the first grade, and it just happened to be the closest school to my house. Doesn't it feel like somebody (he-he) made sure that I would know her native language?
- My very best friend's mother looked exactly (and I mean EXACTLY!) like Frida Kahlo at the time we became friends. When I saw a photo of Frida for the first time I was looking at a very familiar face...
- Frida Kahlo led a turbulent life and considered her paintings an escape from reality. I've also experienced quite a few turbulent events in my life and survived them with my sanity intact by escaping reality through my artwork. Although, unlike Frida, I try to avoid cultivating an image of martyrdom with my self-portraits. Instead, I always aspire to depict my ability to overcome whatever life throws at me. To paraphrase a famous saying I believe that "you are what you paint".
- Frida said that she painted herself because she was the subject she knew best. I use similar argument when asked about my artwork not to appear too self-absorbed.
- Frida Kahlo had a unibrow, and although I don't as of yet, (after all, it is possible I might grow some extra facial hair later in life) I'm striving to develop a signature stare. My own version of "Blue Steel" perhaps?
"The work of art may have a moral effect, but to demand moral purpose from the artist is to make him ruin his work."
"Which painting in the National Gallery would I save if there was a fire? The one nearest the door of course."
George Bernard Shaw
"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."