THE WHEREs AND WHATs OF ART
“Beauty and ugliness are illusions because in the end you only look at interiority.” – Frida Kahlo
As an artist, one wonders where art begins and how it’s defined. To be renowned as a celebrated artist, one needs to travel through divergent journeys. However, when freedom of expression comes into play, you are bound by no constraints or predominant theories and hold the essence to your mind creating natural artistic visions, keeping aside the standardized concepts and validations. This is the beginning of letting your inner artist take form. When you express any feeling, knowledge, or experience courageously through your art by being authentic and letting yourself be, when you treat the existence of being as apart from all the rights and wrongs staying devoted to your inner nature, you’ve truly become an artist.
True art breaths to inspire! The basic nature of every being has tremendous potential of becoming exotic, only if it is preserved like it was meant to exist. Art cannot survive if it’s forced to accommodate in norms set by others. Rules and boundaries will sabotage the authenticity of anything earthy and organic. When delicate ivy creepers spread themselves, climbing surfaces freely, and their pretty flowers grow abundantly having found their way to bloom, their beauty is incomparable. However, art flows differently for different souls. The best of silks comes from the darkest of cocoons – protected and cased for months, yielding results like no other. That’s how nature works, and we need to understand that with freedom of existence comes the best kind of art. Freedom is giving wings if it wants to fly and providing cover if it wants to be sheltered. Believing in nature’s gift of freedom is the deepest essence of anything artistically beautiful. Rivers will remain pure and clean as long as their true nature of flowing freely isn’t detained. Imperfection is art without fear, and creativity is not a competition. It is gifted individually, driven by the tension between contradicting desires to express, but also conceal. Art is not always about prettiness, illustrious social statuses or businesses. Art is about who we are, what’s our story, what our lives influence. The American artist, Keith Haring has rightly said, “Art should be about something that liberates your soul.” Being in complete agreement with this, I feel art should have the unapologetic freedom of bending things that most people see as a straight line. And who else can be revered for being bravely unconventional but the maverick Mexican painter, a revolutionist in her own way, Frida Kahlo.
FRIDA KAHLO AND HER ALLURING ECCENTRICITY
“Passion is the bridge that takes you from pain to change,” says Frida. An extraordinary individual, exotic in her form, she embellished herself and strode through her dazzling, dramatic career, being known for her Surrealist paintings. But she was no stranger to the camera, as she was one of the most photographed women of her generation, emanating a unique, idiosyncratic sensuality, personal fashion, and beauty. At 18, Frida was involved in a terrible bus accident and had to go through 30 medical operations in her life. Although she always loved to paint, it was through her father, a well-known photographer Guillermo Kahlo, and through sitting for portraits that she learned the raw power of the medium of art. Kahlo stated, “When my father took my pictures in 1932 after my accident, I knew that a battlefield of suffering was visible in my eyes. From then on, I started looking straight at the lens, unflinching, unsmiling, determined to show that I was a good fighter, and will remain so till the end. I drank to drown my sorrows, but the damned things learned how to swim. At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.” I presume she was far from being aware of what kind of uncontrollable authenticity she was bringing to the world. It’s her fearless nature and the strong desire of being truly herself that created something so substantial and inspirational.
Frida Kahlo triumphed over the art world – a really remarkable achievement for a Mexican woman during the early 20th century. As she evolved, Kahlo incorporated the influence of Aztec and other pre-Columbian cultures into both her work and her wardrobe. She revised the floor-sweeping skirts and blouses of women from the Tehuantepec region of Oaxaca, Mexico, and she decorated them with bells and tassels and started wearing flowers in her long black hair. She soon became a cultural icon – not just for Mexico but for the entire world. The 2016 art exhibition ‘Mirror, Mirror … Portraits of Frida Kahlo” featured 57 photographs by 27 photographers ranging from family-related to historically-recognised such as Imogen Cunningham and Edward Weston. Weston’s striking portraits of Frida show her at her most regality. He spoke of her in a journal, “Though she looked like ‘a little doll’ alongside her husband, muralist Diego Rivera, she was strong and quite beautiful… and caused much excitement in the streets of San Francisco. People used to stop in their tracks to look in wonder.”
MY AMOUR WITH ART
I am an artist. And, for me, that means living in my own world with fanciful expectations, not forcing my nature to accept ideologies it refuses, and so I remain at my best.
I was created to create. Therefore, producing my methods should be rendered in my hands. To give, I need to get going. Drawing inspiration and remembering some of my idols in art, all these greatest, well-accomplished artists of the world who painted their names into history – Sandro Botticelli, Pablo Picasso, Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Salvador Dali, Raphael, and of course, Frida Kahlo – I extract the peculiarities each one had. They all had a very different craft of producing extremely iconic creations while having distinctive styles. In ancient times, art was an authentic and strong platform. However, maintaining your struggles and characteristics is an arduous task today where we live in the digital generation, far from the bliss of nature, and instead are being absorbed in social chaos and madness. Absolute tranquility is a synchronized culmination with the essence of human nature, but in the big city frenzy, this seems to have drifted far away. Solitude is a blessed gift wrapped in dark mind games and obligations to the outer world, but once you lift the layers, you will be transported to your true gifted nature and will align in peace with your own solace.
As I said earlier, we all carry the special skills and abilities to conquer truly unique achievements. Acknowledging that genius within us and bringing ourselves to that craft needs the acceptance of being organic, and Pablo Picasso has given us the secret to not letting anything sabotage or manipulate our well-being. He says, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
Keeping this in mind, create a life with the mettle to be the version that brings out the best in you and live that spirit out loud. And I say this not just for art, but for anything – writing, crafts, engineering, constructing, gardening, disciplines like maths and science, music, social service, sales, the list can go on. What I mean to say is that no matter what it is, identify the power invested in you, and work on your craft. When you imagine and visualize from your untainted mind, you will find beauty, love, magic, inspiration, devotion, and god in everything that crosses your senses. Getting away from the blurry haze of a shallow life, instead digging deeper will always give a crystal-clear interpretation of what actually matters. When human beings go through a multitude of feelings in a single lifetime like love, happiness, success, sorrow, misery, and tragedy, and the impacts they pave along the way, it gives the essence of a basic sense of beauty and finding love in everything around.
THE CHARM OF THE FORBIDDEN
On April 15, 2015, Doyle New York auctioned an archive of around 25 unpublished love letters written by Frida Kahlo to the Catalan artist José Bartoli, estimated from $ 80,000 to $ 1,20,000. The collection had been hidden away and cherished by Bartoli until he died in 1995. Kahlo wrote these letters between August 1946 and November 1949, while she was recuperating at home in Mexico City from her spinal fusion surgery. At the time these letters were written, Kahlo was married to the Mexican painter Diego Rivera. Kahlo and Bartoli went to great lengths to keep their letters secret. These letters give a personal insight into Kahlo’s life and help us understand more of her charisma. Here’s an excerpt…
“I will love you from the landscape that you see, from the mountains, the oceans and the clouds, from the most subtle of smiles and sometimes from the most profound desperation, from your creative sleep, from your deep or fleeting pleasure, from your own shadow and your own blood. I will look through the window of your eyes to see you.”
Frida’s letters to her lover José were full of passion and heartbreaking emotion. Just like she lived her life fearlessly, she expressed herself in these letters with adoring, sensual sentiments.
“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.” – Frida Kahlo