La Casa Azul
From a lonely room, far from the world, in quiet Coyoacan,
Brushing a canvas, gently, tirelessly, like others polish mirrors,
You send me dazzling shots, through the fabric of spacetime,
Of a journey of yours, of your museum of horrors.
Through all these self-portraits, which are your only crime,
I see your inner soul: A mesmerising goddess, in old Teotihuacan!
Soledad … Life may have been still, air may have been thin,
You stood upright, dreaming the world with Leon Trotsky,
You made it fun, weaving blue nights with George Gershwin.
As I stroll through your paintings today, I am on a color spree!
Spinning me around and lifting me up, to a place I have never been:
To “la casa azul”… One day, Frida, I’ll find its key.
I recently discovered this Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo. I found something deeply mysterious and moving in the incredibly large series of self-portraits, some of them very surrealistic, she painted from her lonely bedroom in the suburbs of Mexico City. An invitation to dig further and discover what’s hidden behind these Monalisa-istic features.
La Casa Asul is a house in Coyoacan where Frida was born and raised, where she lived and where she died. Since 1958, it has been maintained as a museum housing a number of her works of art and numerous mementos and artifacts from her personal life.
From a technical point of view, this is procedural painting: I started with a picture of Frida, with her wearing her traditional flowers in the hair, fine jewellery, and this mysterious look under the thick monobrow. Applied to it a digital brush in Processing, based on a particle system: Each stroke, mouse-dragged, draws a series of thin lines whose color is indexed on the underlying pixels. The outcome is an interesting deconstructed flesh, or un-weaved fabric effect.
More on Frida Kahlo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frida_Kahlo
A snapshot of Frida’s portraits, as found on Google: