How do I even begin to describe Friday Kahlo? “One time, she punched me in the face … it was awesome!” Okay, okay, all jokes aside, today is Frida Kahlo’s birthday. This very influential, world-renowned and all-around badass Mexican painter is one of Mexico’s greatest artists and also one of my top heroes in history.
Her blunt self-portraits, very often reflections of her own struggles, are the most famous and her intense, feminist ways are still praised today. Not to mention her life was nothing short of controversial. She was born on July 6, 1907, in Coyoacán, Mexico, and died on July 13, 1954.
She has been described as, “… one of history’s grand divas … a tequila-slamming, dirty-joke-telling smoker, bisexual that hobbled about her bohemian barrio in lavish indigenous dress and threw festive dinner parties for the likes of Leon Trotsky, poet Pablo Neruda, Nelson Rockefeller, and her on-again, off-again husband, muralist Diego Rivera.”
As is true of many of the greats in the history of the world, Frida’s wit, knowledge, talent and paintings weren’t appreciated until after her death. Even so, she continues to inspire many today, including me.
(Side note: I’m going to visit her house and now museum in Coyoacán, Mexico, this weekend and I’m freaking excited.)
Here are some of my favorite quotes by Frida Kahlo:
- Pies, para que los quiero, si tengo alas para volar. (Feet, what do I need them for, if I have wings to fly.)
- Solía creer que era la persona más extraña del mundo pero luego pensé que entre tanta gente en el mundo debe haber alguien que se sienta como yo, estrafalaria y defectuosa. Me imagino que ella está ahí fuera pensando también en mí. Bueno, espero que si lees esto sepas que sí, que es verdad, estoy aquí y soy tan extraña como tú. (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.)
- Me importa una mierda lo que piense el mundo. Yo nací puta, yo nací pintora, yo nací jodida. Pero fui feliz en mi camino. Tú no entiendes lo que soy. Yo soy amor, soy placer, soy esencia, soy una idiota, soy una alcohólica, soy tenaz. Yo soy; simplemente soy … Eres una mierda. (I don’t give a shit what the world thinks. I was born a bitch, I was born a painter, I was born fucked. But I was happy in my way. You did not understand what I am. I am love. I am pleasure, I am essence, I am an idiot, I am an alcoholic, I am tenacious. I am; simply I am … you are a shit.)
- No estoy enferma. Estoy rota. Pero estoy feliz de estar viva mientras pueda pintar. (I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint.)
- Yo sufrí dos accidentes graves en mi vida, uno en el que un autobús me tumbó al suelo … el otro accidente es Diego. (I suffered two grave accidents in my life, one in which a streetcar knocked me down … and the other was Diego.)
- Nunca pinto sueños o pesadillas. Pinto mi propia realidad. (I never paints dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.)
- La belleza y la fealdad son un espejismo porque los demás terminan viendo nuestro interior. (Beauty and ugliness are just a mirage because others end up seeing our inner selves.)
- Pinto autorretratos porque estoy mucho tiempo sola. Me pinto a mí misma, porque soy a quien mejor conozco. (I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.)
Feliz cumpleaños, Frida.