Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Frida Kahlo of Northern California

Last weekend (July 14 & 15), I participated in the Mendocino Art Center's Art & Craft Festival. MAC is an incredible center of creativity, with lots of workshops and events happening all the time. I met some great people, made some new connections, and got to spend some time with my friend Julie Higgins, who is a fabulous artist, working primarily in pastels.

One of the artists across from me at the festival said to me, "You're the Frida Kahlo of Northern California!!! You should market yourself like that!" Well----I have conflicting feelings about it. I love Frida's art---always have, & I read everything about her when she first became well known as a cult figure in this country. (Late 70's, early 80's) She has been an influence on my work, but there are so many influences on my work--some more important than Frida, and some that would not even be evident to someone looking at my work. But Frida's name is often mentioned when people see my work for the first time. So it is a wonderful compliment--and gives people a connection to my imagery--sort of a jumping off place, if you will.
However, like most artists, I would like my work to be seen and judged on its own terms. But since it is only human to want to compare and contrast to what one already knows & is familiar with--I am going to start a list of people's work that I love, and whose work (I feel) has influenced me and my development as an artist.
Henri Rousseau
Frida Kahlo
Remedios Varos
Leonora Carrington
Leonore Fini
Emily Carr
Stanley Spencer
Alice Neel
Raymond Booth
Francesco Clemente
Henry Miller
All of the medieval artists

This is not a complete list........I will add more, and maybe go into my feelings about some of these people and their work & its affect on me in future posts.
Ciao for now!
Image above: "Autoretrato Como Frida Kahlo" Acrylic and mixed media on canvas by Christine DeCamp

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