Meet the artists featured in the exhibition, The World of Frida, organized by the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, CA. This week we will highlight a few of the artists included in the exhibition. The 95 international artists featured in The World of Frida have reinterpreted many aspects of Frida Kahlo’s life in an array of media — from honoring her self-portraits, to depicting her love affair with Diego Rivera, to recognizing her emotional, physical, professional and societal struggles. This exhibition is an incredible tribute to an artist who continues to influence millions by the simple fact that she was always true to herself, no matter the cost.
Juan Solis is an artist whose passion for his art takes him to the outer limits of his imagination to capture his own reality of life and through his art demonstrate the beauty of his community. Solis is strongly committed to his community. It is not uncommon to see Solis’ paintings in community and philanthropic events to benefit the community in issues related to education, arts, culture and children and families.
Solis began painting when he was 12. He spent years studying his craft at various art academies in the United States and Mexico. Returning to the states, he spent eight years at the Academia de Arte Yepes of East Los Angeles, developing and creating his own distinctive techniques under the guidance of world-renowned muralist George Yepes. In 1995, Solis was one of the eight young Hispanic master painters who worked on the Cassini mural with Charles Kohlhase of the Cassini project. This 12′ x 25′ mural was commissioned by JPL/NASA through the Academia de Arte Yepes. The painters of this stunning blend of art and science were lead by artist Ulysses Garcia. The mural can be seen at JPL in Pasadena, CA
Cindy Thompson has always been intrigued by Frida Kahlo. She wanted to know more about Kahlo and what the iconic artist meant to the people of Mexico. After learning Kahlo painted self-portraits while bedridden after a horrible accident, Thompson was inspired to capture a portrait of Frida using fabric and threads. Thompson wanted to depict Kahlo’s facial expression by thread “painting” her features with various threads, which was accomplished on a domestic sewing machine. Thompson then added colorful flowers, beads, and jewelry, which were often depicted in Kahlo’s self-portraits.
Born in 1985 in Sacramento, California, Anna Valdez’s interest in cultural formation and collective consciousness began in her hometown. Exposed from a young age to a uniquely Californian cultural milieu, her proclivity for collecting and crafting a poignant and meaningful visual vocabulary took root during time spent sharing in the traditions and environments of people within her community. Her fascination with the ways in which cultural identities intersect lead her to pursue a career in sociocultural anthropology. It was on an archeological dig in Ireland that Valdez first discovered her skill for art making. Valdez was encouraged to keep a sketchbook of the site, creating scale drawings and maps. Visually reinterpreting these “abandoned sites” allowed Valdez to explore the connection between anthropological and artistic methods of cataloguing and record-keeping.
Today, working across painting, drawing, printmaking, collage, ceramics and digital media, Valdez examines the relationship between material and cultural identity. Valdez incorporates articles found in domestic spaces such as plants, textiles, vessels and keepsakes into her work as a method of storytelling. Her colorful work invites the viewer to consider objects as emblematic of personal and collective experience, shifting between still life, landscape and portraiture. Valdez received her MFA in painting from Boston University in 2013. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the United States.
Maya Vera is a Latinx photographer and visual artist from the southern island of Sitka, Alaska. In Fall 2016, she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art Photography from the University of Arizona. In 2017, Vera lived and worked in Puebla, Mexico on an international artist residency with Arquetopia. She has had her work ‘Latina’ exhibited and featured in galleries across the US and internationally.