Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we have all had to find ways to get creative about how we pass time and interact with the world. I am naturally an introvert, so at first being home all the time felt natural and enjoyable. I work a full-time job in public health and go into the office every day, so I didn’t initially feel that my daily life was too different than before. However, I miss the option to go out for brunch, work in a cafe, go shopping, or wander an art museum. I was thrilled to learn about Google Arts & Culture, which provides virtual tours of numerous museums, including Museo Frida Kahlo.
Museo Frida Kahlo is located in La Casa Azul (The Blue House), the house in which Frida was born, lived, and died. Frida Kahlo was a proudly queer, fiercely anti-capitalist Mexican painter. Her artwork explores taboo topics such as disability and miscarriage. She frequently used natural elements such as butterflies, plants, and fruits and emphasized her Indigenous heritage. Through Google Arts & Culture, you can tour her home, studio, and kitchen, learn about her wardrobe and its connection to her Indigenous heritage and disability, and view countless photographs.
Frida Kahlo once said, “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.”
I connect deeply with these words. Frida reached out to others through her art and made people feel less alone. I want to do the same, especially for young queer people. This is one of the reasons I love design so much. We need to feel connected to the world, seen, and affirmed. Surrounding ourselves with beautiful things – clothing, jewelry, photographs, plants, crystals, books – can help us feel this way. I want to help people do this in a sustainable and intentional way – design isn’t about spending money or brand names. It’s about how you feel.
Frida Kahlo has always been an inspiration for me when I think about design, especially considering that she was a queer woman. I hope to tour La Casa Azul in person one day. I keep a small framed photo of Frida Kahlo in my bedroom to remind me of the creative, intentional, and daring queer women who have come before me.
Who are your design inspirations? What artist do you admire most? What other queer artists do you know of – historical, or current? Let me know in the comments. ⋒