02.26.15

FRIDA KAHLO: ART, LIFE, GARDEN, LIFE

"I WAS BORN A BITCH. I WAS BORN A PAINTER." - FRIDA KAHLO

For as long as I've worked in art, Frida Kahlo has been the source of my inspiration and creative process.

During my early years in college, I wrote many Art History essays linking Frida-- her fashion, her art, her fiery love affairs-- to whatever subject my professor happened to be lecturing about.

One of my senior projects in Art School was a 4 foot chandelier sculpted out of an old bike tire and recycled materials adorned with festive jewels inspired by the the vibrant colors of Frida's unique and traditional Mexican dresses. 

When Salma Hayek starred in the film Frida, I watched with a hawk's eye, cautious to approve her portrayal of an artist so dear to me (fear not: I loved Hayek in the film!). 

During the interview of my first official job in New York City at Gagosian Gallery I was asked by Mr. Gagosian himself who my favorite artist was to which I replied: Frida Kahlo.

And now while on set, when the Art Director gives me license to my own artistic freedom, I think of Frida's freedom, her security in herself during a time when one would shudder to go against the grain.

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In 2009 while visiting Mexico City I had the chance to tour Frida Kahlo's beautiful family home Casa Azul.  I also sat in her incredibly cool garden.

Entering Casa Azul, Mexico City; photo: A. Fiocchi

Entering Casa Azul, Mexico City; photo: A. Fiocchi

Gardens of Casa Azul

Gardens of Casa Azul

So when the New York Botanical Gardens invited me to the press preview of  their latest show "Frida Kahlo: Art, Life, Garden, Life"  I leaped out of my seat, feeling somehow that I had reached full circle with myself and my own art, Frida by my side the whole time.

Then a terrible mix of bad luck and bad timing struck and I was not able to attend the preview. So I decided that Memorial Day weekend would be the perfect time to beat the crowds and experience a journey with Frida in my own way.

 

The Garden part of the show in the Conservatory opens with an option to first view a plantastic interpetation of Casa Azul or an abundant tour of Mexican plants. Both experiences warmed my heart as I have a serious love for cactus and fiestas (Prickly Pear Margaritas are served at the pop up Cantina near the gardens' main entrance).

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To many people she is known her for her graphic, phalic, and tragic self portraits, but equally Frida was known as a lover of beauty and an avid gardener-- the "plant lady" of her time.  She mostly incorporated cactus and succulents native to her Mexican country and heritage into her garden but later added plants from all over, particularly Calla Lillies and Sunflowers.

Also on display was one of Frida's favorite flowers often used to adorn her hair.

What I learned from this show

through plant life, art life, and her life

  is that just like i am hers-

  she would most definitely be my #1 fan.  #itsplantporn

A video posted by (it🌷s) PLANT PORN (@_ipp_) on