The Creative Spirit spans time. Periodically on Artist Strong I will showcase a creative from history. Working from the same kinds of questions, I will research and share how these creatives across history and geography may have answered our questions about creative process. Today in our Creative Spirit Showcase: Frida Kahlo, a Mexican artist known for her self-portraits. (Note: statements in quotations are actual quotes by Frida Kahlo.)
Carrie: When did you first discover your love of art?
Art is revolution. I’ve always loved art. I committed to my art after being in a trolley accident where a spike pierced my spine and uterus. I changed my studies after that from medicine to art.
Carrie: Do you follow the same pattern from idea to product? Describe your process.
I paint what speaks to me. I paint what comes from my head. I sometimes sketch first and then paint.
Carrie: How did you discover your unique style and voice?
“I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.”
“Painting completed my life.”
Carrie: How does your personal life impact your art?
“I don’t paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality.”
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”
Carrie: What is one obstacle you’ve overcome as an artist and how have you dealt with it?
“There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the train the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.”
“My paintings are well-painted, not nimbly but patiently. My painting contains in it the message of pain. I think that at least a few people are interested in it. It’s not revolutionary. Why keep wishing for it to be belligerent? I can’t. Painting completed my life. I lost three children and a series of other things that would have fulfilled my horrible life. My painting took the place of all of this. I think work is the best.”
“I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint.”
Carrie: What does your workspace look like?
Mother made me a special easel. Because of my multiple surgeries I’m often in my bed, bound in casts. My studio is my bed, my casts, my room. I paint laying down. I paint seated. I paint whenever my body allows me.
Carrie: How do you decide when an artwork is finished?
When there is nothing left to say.
“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.”
Carrie: What is one creative resource you can’t live without?
Paint, of course.
Carrie: What/who inspires you?
Mexico. Politics. Animals. The smell of fresh flowers. Color. Pain. Grief. Hope.
Carrie: How do you define creativity?
Humanity’s cry for love.
Be Creatively Courageous: How do you let your life into your art? I want to know. Let’s talk about it in the comments below.
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