The Tate Modern considers Frida Kahlo to be one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century and its easy to see why! Not only have her artworks been influential to many modern day artists, but her astonishing private life and the story of how she got into painting is one that continues to fascinate people to the day. Frida Kahlo is best known for her portraits, often self-portraits, and works inspired by the nature and artifacts of Mexico. Her work explored the ideas of identity, post-colonisation, gender, class, and race, all subject matters which are still prevalent is modern artistry, which is why she continues to be such as inspiration to so many people.
One of Kahlo’s most famous paintings is arguably ‘Self-portrait with Monkeys’, which is an image that has been reproduced hundreds of times. Her fascination with monkeys comes from her decision to keep them as pets; however, for Frida, they represented more than just pets, but were symbols of the children she was never able to have due to the long-term injuries and complications caused by her bus accident at the age of 18. Monkeys also have a strong symbolic importance in pre-Columbian society, which Kahlo considered to be a foundational source for all Mexican Art. ‘Frida with Monkeys’ is a modern take on that famous painting.
However, besides her talent as an artist, Frida Kahlo has attracted many fans across the world in a phenomenon known as ‘Fredamania’. Her unique look has made her one of the most recognisable artists to have ever lived, with her images inspiring merchandise and the fashion world. Her bold and eccentric personality shone through in Frida’s look, with her instantly recognisable eyebrows are floral headwear, the symbolism for Frida Kahlo is widespread across the planet! It’s easy to see how designs such as ‘Frida Kahlo’ by Yazmin Brooks, ‘Frida’ by Cheryl Boland, and ‘Frida Catlo’ by Katie Ruby Miller, still automatically connect us with the artist despite them no being portraits of her or having a connection to her artwork.
For a slightly different take on Frida Kahlo, how about Roboticewe’s ‘Frida’ Print, which is a typographic portrait of the artist created using the screenplay for the 2002 biopic ‘Frida. The biographical drama film depicts both he professional and private life of the surrealist artist, both of which are as fascinating and important as each other.
Although Kahlo has been a seriously important part in shaping modern art and become a symbol for female determination, depiction of the artist do not always have to be so serious. Frida’s unique look and instant recognisability means that her portrait has been drawn by thousands of artists in their own style, with the figure still being identified straight away as Frida Kahlo. ‘Frida Floral’ is one example of a design that plays on her icon status. In this piece, even though you cannot see some of Frida’s recognisable features, such as her monobrow and expressive eyes, the figure is still clearly her, with the floral arrangement being an exaggerated plan on the flower crowns Kahlo is often depicted wearing. ‘Frida Loves Flowers’ by Nichola Cowdery and ‘Frida’ by Maria Jose Da Luz, are two more examples of how Frida Kahlo’s personality and persona can be turned playful, with each using their own illustration style to create new takes on the artist, making then perfect from homeware and gifts with their recognisable yet different portraits.
Frida Kahlo with undoubtable continue to be one of the most well-known, influential artists to have ever lived! With her impact spreading far wider than the world of art, she continues to be a symbol of strength, determination and female-power! She is an icon and inspiration to many to overcome the difficulties in life and never give up despite all that might come in your way. She is a true role model and one that will continue to encourage people to express themselves, both in your professional and personal lives, and be true to who they are.