I’m a Frida Freak

Written March 19, 2013

OK, so let’s talk Frida for a minute. It’s not hard these days to find images of Frida and her artwork. She has become a household name. Back a few years, I used to have to explain her by saying, “You know, she’s the artist with the thick unibrow who frequently painted self-portraits.” Not so much anymore. Now you can get Frida packaged in just about any product you’d like. Did you say you wanted a pair of Frida Converse tennis shoes? Got that. How about a skin care line? Yep. Tequila and beer? Boom. Dolls, money, stamps, calendars, CDs, and clothing? Oh yeah. An airplane? YES, THERE’S AN AIRPLANE TOO! If you don’t believe me, you can check it out here. (And remember, this is just the officially licensed stuff. Any Google search will bring you to umpteen sites with loads of art inspired by her brilliance.

I love all of this. The more Frida, the better in my book. Sometimes though when something or someone is so omnipresent and seriously marketed we forget the origin of it all. All we know is that anything Frida is craved and thus marketed and thus craved more and thus marketed more and on and on. We can lose the plot, so to speak. I was reminded of my reasons for being a Frida freak recently when my friend, Ann, moved and cleaned out her book shelf. She gave me a couple of her Frida treasures – an old magazine article and Frida’s published diary. I immediately perused them and then moved onto a few of my own collection. Three themes jumped out at me.

Honesty, passion, and vulnerability.

Frida honestly painted her life onto canvas for the rest of us to see. She didn’t censor what came forward. “The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.” As a result, her passion for life and understanding it literally jumps off the canvas at me. And her passions for Diego, for animals, for love, for friends, for flowers, and for color are well documented. I think anytime you boldly live your passions out loud for all to see, there is an element of vulnerability present. You risk being seen and judged, loved and discounted. Frida took that risk without regard for the outcome.

This is why I love anything Frida. I love her honest, passionate reminder to be a little vulnerable and viva la vida!

viva la vida

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Regina Leffers McCaleb, Ph.D.

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