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Contemporary woman artist's self-portrait or a selfie as a Femme Fatale. Dramatic composition set against gold background with the subject's body twisted and almost coming out of the painting. The woman's stare is impossible to escape with her light green eyes burrowing into the viewer's soul.  The woman is dressed in all white that contrasts with her crimson hair and bright red lips.
**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."
Goethe

"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."
Scott Adams