Frida Kahlo was born in July and died in July, making this the perfect month to honor the legacy of Mexico's most celebrated female artist and look back at her words and life to ignite our own creative inspiration.
Kahlo was an incredibly colorful figure and has continued to shock and intrigue even now, 60 years after her death. She was an openly bisexual communist in a tempestuous marriage with famous Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. She had affairs with Georgia O'Keefe and Leon Trotsky, among others.
She also went through her fair share of suffering. Physically, she survived polio at a young age and a terrible car accident with a tram at 18, but mentally, she also dealt with self-doubt, and was often withdrawn and cruel. While she was known for treating her students and servants like esteemed colleagues and family, when she hated someone, she hated them.
Though Kahlo passed away six decades ago, her words and art endure, and are source of inspiration and creative power.
If you feel like you have nothing to work with, no reason to carry on, are too weird to be acclaimed or unsure of what you want to make, don't worry. Kahlo has been there, and she has some excellent advice for getting through the artist's block.
1. On the necessity of creativity
"I paint my own reality. 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."
2. On artistic immortality
"I paint flowers so they will not die."
3. On figuring it all out
"I think that little by little, I'll be able to solve my problems and survive."
4. On change
"Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away."
5. On feeling like an outsider
"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."
6. On self-defined ambition
"The most important thing for everyone in Gringolandia is to have ambition and become 'somebody,' and frankly, I don't have the least ambition to become anybody."
7. On practical romanticism
"I leave you my portrait so that you will have my presence all the days and nights that I am away from you."
8. On artistic integrity
"You deserve the best, the very best, because you are one of the few people in this lousy world who are honest to themselves, and that is the only thing that really counts."
9. On priorities
"I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint."
10. On artistic
"Really, I do not know whether my paintings are surrealist or not, but I do know that they are the frankest expression of myself."
11. On strength
"At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can."