things that matter

21 Facts You Didn’t Know About Queer, Feminist Icon Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo was a visionary Mexican artist born on July 6th, 1907 and passed on July 13, 1954. She lived a short, but quite eventful, 47 years of life. While Kahlo lived in Paris, New York, and San Francisco, Kahlo is known for being fiercely proud of her Mexican heritage, using dress to evoke political meaning.

To this day, her work inspires and resonates still with the queer, female and non-gender-conforming experiences.

1. Frida Kahlo is the OG Selfie Queen.

CREDIT: @jollenelevid / Twitter

Most people, when they think of Frida Kahlo’s artwork, think of her self portraits. During her life, her art was eclipsed by her husband’s, Diego Rivera. Only until after she passed and the Feminist Revolution erupted in the 1970’s did the public truly appreciate her refusal to be defined by anyone else, and her whole-hearted self acceptance, as depicted in her portraits.

“I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.”

2. Most of Kahlo’s paintings are not of herself.

CREDIT: @artfridakahlo / Twitter

Of her 143 paintings, 55 are self portraits and the other 88 are not. She actually painted mostly still-life images of fruit and flowers alongside political symbols.

What do you think of the porcelain blonde girl in the white dress peering over the bed of tropical fruit?

3. Kahlo was in a terrible bus accident when she was 18 years old.

CREDIT: @BestOfMx / Twitter

One September morning, Frida and her boyfriend boarded a bus that would collide with a train. Her boyfriend remembers the bus as “bursting into a thousand pieces.” A handrail ripped through Kahlo’s torso.

Later, he recounted, “Something strange had happened. Frida was totally nude. The collision had unfastened her clothes. Someone in the bus, probably a house painter, had been carrying a packet of powdered gold. This package broke, and the gold fell all over the bleeding body of Frida. When people saw her, they cried, ‘La bailarina, la bailarina!’ With the gold on her red, bloody body, they thought she was a dancer.”

The column here represents her fragile spine, which would cause chronic pain for the rest of her life.

4. While bedridden, Kahlo painted her first paintings.

CREDIT: @toadstool_house / Twitter
Kahlo broke her spinal column, collar bone, ribs, pelvis, fractured her right leg in 11 places, dislocated her shoulder and even lost her fertility. She would live in pain for the rest of her life, but her mother’s invention to arrange a special easel near her bed eased her pain.

5. Kahlo dreamed of becoming a doctor, but instead endured more than 30 surgeries in her lifetime.

CREDIT: @arthistoryfeed / Twitter

Before the accident, she suffered polio as a child and was pursuing medicine. The injuries from the accident forced her instead into grief over what was lost, especially her ability to bear children.

The accident irreparably damaged her uterus, causing several devastating miscarriages. Above is a self portrait titled Henry Ford Hospital, that depicts what she lost.

6. Kahlo preferred long skirts to cover her leg.

CREDIT: @fequalsHQ / Twitter

“I must have full skirts and long, now that my sick leg is so ugly.”

Her leg was left severely deformed from the polio, and modern doctors now think she may have also had spina bifida.

7. Her right leg was amputated at the knee towards the end of her life.

CREDIT: @artfridakahlo / Twitter

You can see how her right foot on the left is withered from the polio. Eventually it developed gangrene. The right is an image Frida drew in her diary. She tried to make light by writing, “Feet, why do I want you if I have wings to fly?”

8. Frida Kahlo’s father was German.

CREDIT: @toadstool_house / Twitter

Her father suffered a similar fate, moving to Mexico after epilepsy developed by an accident ended his university studies. Her mother was half Spanish and half indigenous Oaxacana.

9. Frida was born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón, but dropped the ‘e’.

CREDIT: @SalvadorSalort / Twitter

Frieda comes from the German word “friede”, which means peace. Ironically, she dropped the ‘e’ in 1935 to avoid being associated with Germany during Hitler’s rule. 

10. Kahlo met her husband and famous muralist, Diego Rivera, in the Mexican Communist Party.

CREDIT: lupitovi / Pinterest

They met at a party, and she asked him to judge her work. He said that her paintings had “an unusual energy of expression, precise delineation of character, and true severity.”

Their relationship was volatile. He was 20 years older than her and immediately left his then second-wife to marry Frida Kahlo. Kahlo and Rivera divorced and remarried a year later. They both had extramarital affairs, Rivera having one with Frida’s sister.

11. Frida Kahlo was queer AF.

CREDIT: @GiuseppeTurrisi / Twitter

In all the ways, from her gender expression to her sexuality. She once said, “There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley, and the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.”

Many historians now believe that Diego’s self-professed pride in being a womanizer is what gave her so much untold turmoil and pain.

But, soon things changed when she moved to Paris…

12. Frida Kahlo and Josephine Baker fell madly in love in Paris 1939.

CREDIT: “Frida Kahlo and Josephine Baker – a Fabulous Romance” Digital Image. MusArtBoutique. 6 July 2018.

Josephine Baker was working for the French Military Intelligence agency at the time, working against Hitler. Baker was also a singer, and both of them became famous in town for being openly bisexual.

13. Rare photos have surfaced showing Kahlo dressed in suits in family photos.

CREDIT: “Frida 2.” Digital Image. Bustle. 6 July 2018.

This picture was taken when she was 17 years old, just one year before the bus accident that would change everything. Frida Kahlo truly pushed the boundaries, and unapologetically so.

14. She even painted a self portrait of herself in a suit.

CREDIT: “Frida 5.” Digital Image. Bustle. 6 July 2018.

Her hair was in pieces all around her on the ground, and she held a pair of scissors to her groin. Historians always assumed it was a threat to Diego Rivera for his infidelity or some kind of message of self-hate.

15. Kahlo redefined Mexican mythology in her work.

CREDIT: @ransomcenter / Twitter

Monkeys are usually symbols of lust in Mexican and Colombian mythology, but Kahlo always depicts them as tender, protective symbols.

Perhaps a message to all of us recovering Catholics that there’s nothing threatening or inherently wrong about lust.

16. Kahlo’s “The Frame” was the first piece of Mexican art purchased by the Louvre.

CREDIT: @neongreece / Twitter

Her work, today, also garners more money than any other female artist. While she was alive, Pablo Picasso took an interest in her work, alongside other surrealists, to which she responded:

They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.

17. Kahlo had several exotic pets…like monkey exotic.

CREDIT: @ReadingInHeels / Twitter

Pictured above is her fawn, Granizo. She also had a few Mexican hairless Xoloitzcuintli (that hairless dog breed that was coveted by the Aztecs), a pair of spider monkeys named Fulang Chang and Caimito de Guayabal, an Amazon parrot called Bonito and an eagle named Gertrudis Caca Blanca.

18. Kahlo arrived to her first art show in an ambulance.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Lisa Wall Rogers. 6 July 2018.

During her last year of life, she scored her first solo exhibition in Mexico. Against doctor’s orders, Kahlo asked the ambulance to take her from the hospital to her exhibit, and she pulled up as if in a limousine.

19. At one point, Kahlo was force fed to keep her alive.

CREDIT: @Hamiltoniana / Twitter

Her many surgeries and illnesses brought a lack of appetite. Her doctor ordered that she be sent to bed rest and be fed a fattening purée of food every two hours.

The ladder depicted here is what she would use to paint from her bed, only to be replaced by a disgusting array of animal products.

On the back of the painting, she wrote: “Not the least hope remains to me…Everything move in time with what the belly contains.”

20. Kahlo has become a feminist icon.

CREDIT: @HarvardLibrary / Twitter

While during her life, she was known as the wife of Master Mural Painter Diego Rivera with a side hobby, she lived and painted the fullest expression of her self. Her paintings give deeply personal insight into the female experience, especially that of a disabled, queer experience during a time it was anything but OK to be that.

I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint.

21. Frida was born and died in the same house, Casa Azul.

CREDIT: @QatarandYonder / Twitter

Her home has since been made into el Museo de Frida Kahlo, in Mexico City. You can go visit the home that housed so much recovery, inspiration, and fearlessness.


To show your love for Frida Kahlo, check out the merchandise we have featuring some of her famous quotes. Shop here. 

This Vogue Exhibit — Featuring A Gorgeous Portrait Of Yalitza Aparicio — Is Now Open In Mexico City

Fierce

This Vogue Exhibit — Featuring A Gorgeous Portrait Of Yalitza Aparicio — Is Now Open In Mexico City

@yalitzaapariciomtz / Instagram

Any designer will tell you that art and fashion often go hand-in-hand. Through the ages, art has reflected so much about society and history solely through the clothing and architecture depicted by oils and pastels. From the runways of Paris and Milan to the pages of VOGUE, the composition, color, and forms of the latest fashions often show us that they are equivalent to the most iconic works of art created by the most masterful fine artists.

Now, Vogue is yet again showing us the relationship between art and fashion with its brand new “Vogue Like a Painting” exhibit.

Twitter / @mamiyolis

The exhibition is being shown at Mexico City’s historic Franz Mayer Museum from now until September 15, 2019. The sample of 65 images is a representation of the greatest photographs to manifest in VOGUE during its past 20 years as a publication.  The magazine’s archives were thoroughly examined to find the most impactful, most artistically composed and most striking pictures to be taken by photographers during their time at VOGUE.

Over the last two decades, some of the most iconic photographers ever have collaborated with the publication. Annie Leibovitz, Paolo Roversi, Tim Walker, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, Steven Klein, Sheila Metzner, Cecil Beaton, and Edward Steichen are some of the many big name artists who have captured moments for VOGUE. They have contributed easily some of the most recognizable images that the magazine has printed and their work will be available to view at the “Vogue Like a Painting” event.

Karla Martinez de Salas, editorial director of Vogue Mexico and Latin America, had this to say about the art exhibition:

“I have always believed in the power of images, in that inexplicable magic of telling stories without words that allow us to inspire and make us dream. From a painting signed by Goya, to an image photographed by Tim Walker or Paolo Roversi, it is these beautiful visual records of fashion and culture that are truly treasured in our memory and heart.”

What all of these images have in common are distinct characteristics that are traditionally attributed to paintings and other works of fine art.

Twitter / @museofranzmayer

Their narratives, details and subject matter are approached the same way a master would address a canvas. At first glance, some of these pictures don’t even look like photographs. The stylistic techniques used to capture the subject are implemented as authentically as possible — staying true to the artistic elements artists are trained in.

The compositions also invoke comparisons to different artists and art periods. Split into genres like portraiture and landscapes, artistic movements like Renaissance painting, Rococo art, and even Pre-Raphaelite works are mirrored by these photos. The images in “Vogues Like a Painting” evoke masters such as Magritte, Degas, Dalí, Botticelli and Zurbarán. Their use of light, space, color and figure drawing are mimicked by the pictures on display — making these pieces completely at home in the museum.

Of these breath-taking pictures, a gorgeous portrait of Yalitza Aparicio can also be viewed.

Twitter / @VogueMexico

This image of Yalitza Aparicio comes from a spread by the photographers Santiago & Mauricio and was published back in January 2019. The actress was the first Indigenous woman to appear on the cover of VOGUE. Displayed in the “Vogue Like a Painter” exhibit, the portrait draws comparisons to Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.” The steady stare, the use of light and dark and the positioning of her body is reminiscent of the mysterious woman in the Italian master’s piece. We can even see the influence of Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits reflected in the photograph of the “Roma” star.

Debbie Smith, the curator of the “Vogue Like a Picture” exhibit spoke with VOGUE MEXICO about the inclusion of Aparicio’s portrait and how historic the actress’ fashion shoot was for the magazine, fashion and art.

“I was so shocked by the cover of Yalitza, it ‘s one of the most important things that Vogue has done in recent decades … It was impeccable. I have the file saved in my mind.”

As if these beautiful pictures weren’t enough, the exhibition also includes two dresses by Alexander McQueen — one of them never before displayed — as well as another three gowns by Comme des Garçons, Christian Lacroix and Nina Ricci. These pieces were borrowed especially for the “Vogue Like a Painting” exhibit. If you can get to Mexico City for this show, definitely give it a look. It is without a doubt one of the most historic mixtures of art and fashion to be seen today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twdG7xRE2TY

These Tattoo Fails Failed So Hard They Might Actually Be Winning

Culture

These Tattoo Fails Failed So Hard They Might Actually Be Winning

tatuajesxd / Instagram

Tattoos are so symbolic, that it’s not hard to figure out what is really important to the people who have them. For Latinos, it’s a perfect way to show our connection to our roots, our love for our culture and the pride of being who we are and of the people that came before us.

Obviously, there is an enormous well of inspiration in our folklore and ancestral art.

But what happens when you have a tattoo fail?

Let’s hope this is still a work in progress…

Credit: tatuajesxd / Instagram

Loteria card tattoos are popping up everywhere and they can be great but you got to do it right. Hopefully, this is just the first session and it’s on its way to looking gorgeous.

El Señor Nippleriño

Credit: worst-tattoo-ever.tumblr.com

Come on…there has to be a better way to pay homage to the humble yet iconic sombrereo?!

This samurai may just cut off that nipple…

Credit: worst-tattoo-ever.tumblr.com

Come on people! Nipple placement! How are people not paying attention to this very important detail?

No hair? No problem!

Credit: pinknightmare.com

We’ll just throw on some copyrighted Louis Vuitton monogram and ya – problem solved!

And a trend that seems to be growing: face tattoos.

Credit: pinknightmare.com

Just what is even happening here? Who is he? Why on your face? What is the whole truth?!

We weren’t totally sure to include this Brazilian artist’s work on the list…

Credit: Malfeitona / Instagram

Because “ugly tattoos” are kinda her jam. She prides herself on providing tatuagens peba, which translates to ugly tattoos. And although she can’t draw, people are all about her original ideas and less than perfect drawing skills.

Not only has the tattoo artist gone viral for it, but she’s also managed to build a successful business with dozens of 5-star reviews from happy customers, as well as over 12 thousand Instagram followers.

OK, I didn’t know Timon and Pumbaa could be cute and ugly at the same time.

Credit: Malfeitona / Instagram

Like yea…it looks like a 4-year-old drew it but hey apparently there are thousands of people into it.

Also, aren’t stars like one of the earliest things we all learn to draw?

Credit: Malfeitona / Instagram

Stars are simple! Why does it look like this? But you keep doing you girl.

With this tattoo the idea is cute but it just didn’t really work out…

Credit: tatuajesxd / Instagram

Like seriously, love the idea. But that concha looks kinda off, the font – mmm no.

Memorializing the iconic pollo on a stick.

Credit: tatuajesxd / Instagram

This pollo on a lollipop falls into that same category: good on paper but just didn’t quite turn out the way we hoped.

And I know, who doesn’t love a taco tattoo?

Credit: wiltattooer / Instagram

Well…me. At least no this one.

This little taco is almost too cute to include on this list but it just wasn’t giving us that polished tattoo look we need in a good tattoo.

We’re not sure that their tattoo artist achieved the desired effect…

Credit: iamboigenius.com

But ya calalte…nobody tell them the truth.

Apparently, we Latinos really have a thing for putting designer brands all over our bodies – permanently.

Credit: pinknightmare.com

At least the tattoo artist actually put the right initials…

READ: These Latina Tattoo Artists Know How To Give The Best Ink In The Business

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