Today, I spent an afternoon with my mom and step dad at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We had tickets for an early viewing of the Frida Kahlo Exhibit. This post is not intended as a review of Kahlo's work, but what it said to me.
Someone with a closed mind would find Frida Kahlo's painting as strange, or they might wonder why she painted herself over and over again. It takes someone willing to stop and really look at, and also to explore, the mind of Frida Kahlo to discover her excellence. In that, I discovered a major component of her work that I related to. For better or worse, many artists, and definitely me as a poet, are caught between two places. The first is centered on our ability to look at the world with a brightness of love, pleasure and wonder. We see color more vividly, hear sounds more precisely and can find vast arrays of texture in every aspect of the world. Kahlo, too, was able to show this through her artistry.
However, many artists, again including myself, feel pain more severely, too. We suffer in the knowing of how good life can be because the glory seems too much beyond our daily lives. Kahlo's pain is crystal clear in most of her self portrait pieces. It is her way of letting people into the sadness of her inner thoughts. I identify with Kahlo in this way, and I believe many, if not most, artists exist in similar fashion.
Over dinner, when discussing Frida Kahlo, I did not mention my thoughts as stated above. My step dad compared me to her, and the duality of both our artistic forms was evident and worth detailing here. I am hoping that my nature to be "cursed" by feeling pain more sharply then most people, combined with the heightened level of joy I can find in places where others do not even hazard to search, will ultimately lead to happiness on a level few could possibly wish for. This life, mine as a poet, has been a battle, and one that has had me on far too many edges. They say "no pain, no gain." Time, and my pen, will tell.