2014 Holiday

Holiday Story: Homage to Friday Kahlo and The Zeitgeist That Is Hispanic Christmas Culture

This card is actually one of my favorites. It’s truly amazing the look that Frida Kahlo became famous for. If you are blowing the whistle here about being woke and cultural appropriation, read on.

Cultural appropriation: The adoption of an element or elements of one culture by members of another culture or identity. Particularly controversial when members of a dominant culture appropriate from disadvantaged minority cultures.

Fun fact: Frida Kahlo herself was half Germanic in ancestry and definitely not indigenous, which is where all the main visual elements of her look came from. She adopted this look to bring awareness and recognition to her home country, Mexico.

Did this make it okay for me to use this look visually? I personally think it’s okay. Icons will be icons and I use this as homage and appreciation rather than appropriation. I am a big fan of her legacy in addition to Hispanic and LatinX culture.

Will I ever showcase this look publicly, publish it as art, or seek to make money off of it? No. That isn’t mine to own.

The Look

Critical elements to Frida’s look include:

  • A peasant blouse
  • Jewelry with large stones
  • Colorful flowers for a flower crown
  • Dark eyebrows and an almost unibrow

The Build

First Up: Peasant Blouse

Cutting the blouse pieces. The peasant blouse has raglan sleeves. I also inserted stripes of a retro flowered material I’m sure I picked up thrifting. I ADORE the purple, magenta, and orange flowers on it. The small print adds a nice texture to the piece along with the lace trim.

I created the blouse with stripes in it from the fabric I also intended to use as a backdrop. I’d seen the visual trick of wearing the same thing as your background, which is a bit more difficult to create than you would think. (I tried to do this idea in my college makeup classes and failed at that first try. Of course, that was with makeup.)

Ampersand and Phe “assisting”
Testing out how the blouse I envisioned would look against the same fabric background.

Jewelry, Flower Crown, & Darkened Eyebrows

At right some of the mess I make when I’m doing hair and makeup. The flowers were bobby-pinned within an inch of their lives. My eyebrows lent themselves excellently well also to the look. I just drew them a bit further out. Frida often depicted herself with more exaggerated characteristics, such as a unibrow, then she really had.

The Photo Shoot

Anita Boeira shot my photos. She did an AMAZING job, especially in the post-edits. Check out her work.

Photoshoots with felines. They take a lot of patience.
The original image. Notice that I didn’t have enough fabric to provide a full-width background. Anita worked her magic and pieced the background together!!!
Anita has clearly worked her magic here: punched up the color. Apparently I made a skirt to go with this—didn’t remember it! It sure looks amazing though! Also, that fan is from Spain.

The Inside Story

Weird typography courtesy of the vendor I used to create the card.

I had a lot of fun things going on during 2014 and decided to document them, like many people do in their holiday cards. Notice that I spelled mustache wrong!! And Alcatraz is wild. You should totes go.

The Back

Anita did an amazing job with this photo shoot. I included this image on the back because I think I was trying to be serious and it’s just the opposite! So comical!

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See 2015. See 2013.