An Artist’s Muse: Frida Kahlo

Makenna Flynn

Makenna Flynn

VP of Marketing at LGBT-Birds+ Club

This is part of Das Tor’s collaboration with the LGBT-Birds+ Club, which focuses on sharing LGBT+ stories with the Thunderbird community of future business leaders.

“Solía ​​pensar que era la persona más extraña del mundo, pero luego pensé que hay tanta gente en el mundo, que debe haber alguien como yo que se siente extraño y defectuoso de la misma manera que yo. Me la imaginaba, y me imaginaba que ella también debe estar pensando en mí. Bueno, espero que si estás ahí afuera y lees esto y lo sabes, sí, es cierto que estoy aquí, y soy tan extraño como tú.” 

“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.”

-Frida Kahlo

Her full skirt drifted along the bright orange walkway, while wind blew gently through the garden. The big green leaves swayed, brushing up against the deep blue walls of her home. Unlike most days, Frida’s hair fell down her back in thick, black waves. A single red flower lay behind her ear. Having just awoken, the house’s vibrant colored walls told the story of a lively party, of festivals with food and drink. But instead of rooms filled with laughter, movement, and life, there were only paint canisters, brushes, and memories. 

Frida drifted from room to room, taking in the remnants of what was. Inside, the lingering smell of mole wafted through the air, while oil paint dripped down the side of water cups and adorned the floor with a rainbow of colors. Her hand reached out, wrapping around the nearby paintbrush. Dipping the brush in a green hue, she thought back to the night before…

Drinks clinked against one another, and conversation livened every corner. Guests walked through the doors from every background – friends, family, and more. They rejoiced, ate wonderful food, and drank the night away.

But for two guests, the bustle of the party faded in just one moment. Frida looked up, catching sight of two almond-shaped chocolate eyes peeking out from sinfully long eyelashes. It was Josephine Baker, Paris’ own jazz singer and dancer. At that moment, the party was only the two of them as artists, revolutionaries, and lovers. 

Frida, her hair pulled back into crown braids, tugged at her embroidered shirt, suddenly anxious and wanting nothing more than to close the distance with Josephine. Josephine’s eyes flitted around Frida’s face while a playful smile danced across her lips. The corners of her eyes wrinkled, and her cheeks grew red from excitement. She stood up, excusing herself from the group and heading out to the quiet of the garden. 

Frida knew what to do; they’d stolen moments like this before. She did everything she could to not leap out of her seat, sliding past the hoard of guests oblivious to the two’s disappearance. And she followed Josephine to the orange floors and starlit night. 

Two Nudes in a Forest, 1939 by Frida Kahlo

Crashing back into reality, Frida’s paintbrush had taken on a life of its own. Dancing across the canvas, silhouettes of two women started to appear. 

“Quisiera darte todo lo que nunca hubieras tenido, y ni así sabrías la maravilla que es poder quererte.”

“I would like to give you everything you’ve never had. And even so, you wouldn’t know the wonder it is to be able to love you.”

-Frida Kahlo

The story of Frida Kahlo is long recognized as one of an artist, trapped in a passionate but painful marriage and surviving the challenge of facing adversity in the form of a polio diagnosis at six years old. What is often not shared was her romance with both male and female admirers. LGBT-Birds+ Club is sharing her story today.

Important note from author: This story is historical fiction. The artist Frida Kahlo was bisexual and had affairs with both men and women throughout her life. However, the affair with Josephine Baker was never confirmed. If  there was an affair, it would have taken place in Paris, France, not Kahlo’s home in Mexico City.

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