Friday, August 23, 2013

Before & After: Inspired by Frida Kahlo


It's time for the next installment of my Llama Nail's group 'Inspired by artists' challenge, and this week we're all inspired by Frida Kahlo.

I'd seen Frida Kahlo's art here and there, and knew that she was a rare female artist (for that time and place) who celebrated her Mexican culture within her artwork; for a long time that's all I really knew. But when wandering around Vancouver on a vacation, I stumbled on an exhibit featuring her work (and the work of two other influential female artists) that highlighted a different aspect of her art. Kahlo did not have an easy life, and suffered from illnesses and accidents, one of which ultimately damaged her fertility. She also had a very tumultuous relationship with the love of her life, Diego Rivera. The exhibit focused on the artwork that expressed her deep struggles and pain, particularly with being a woman that couldn't bear children. Much of it is extremely moving, even deeply disturbing, and it changed the way I viewed even the 'typical' self-portraits that are normally pictured when someone refers to her.

For my manicure I chose to focus on the beautiful celebrations of typical Mexican attire and bright, saturated colors, but wanted to be sure to set the stage with that context. :)

Just realized I forgot to put in a picture of Kahlo's artwork! Here's where I pulled my colors from:

I started with a base of Julep Stella, a mustard-y yellow with an orange-brown tone to it:

Julep Stella, indirect sunlight

Next I sponged a gradient on top of Julep Stella and Color Club Mamba onto the nail. I stamped over the border of this using Color Club Mamba and Drikk plate Drk-C. Finally, I sponged a border on the side of each nail with China Glaze Holly-Day:

It's a very different manicure, and I really love it. I love how the stamped pattern shows even over the red part of the gradient because of the subtle difference in color (because the sponging was done over the yellow base);it's almost as though something hidden is peeking out. Also, I love the play of the colors together. Something about it is very energizing to me. :)

Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love,


  1. I think it's cool you didn't go "the obvious" way (especially learning a bit more about her life & would just seem tacky).
    Love the strong, bright colours & how the stamping shows even over a gradient.

    1. Yes, I agree completely about the tacky. It's funny, isn't it, how someone who paints with such joyful colors and content can have such a different side behind it all...

  2. Wow how unique, love the colour combo!

  3. The stamping over the gradient looks great! The colors definitely remind me of Frida Kahlo.

  4. Beautiful. I love what you have created here and I had to pin this both to save for recreating on my own nails as well as to share with other nail art lovers.

    1. Aww, thank you so much! :) :) :) I have to catch up on my pinning...sigh...


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