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A Comparison Between Frida And Pollock

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  • Category: Kahlo

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Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist who describes the natural culture of Mexico in a style combining Realism, Symbolism and Surrealism. An active communist supporter, she was the wife of Mexican artist called Diego Rivera. Frida is known for her self-portraits often expressing her illnesses and suffering through her painting. In the last three decades she has gained admiration in Europe and the US resulting in the 2002 movie about her life starring Salma Hayek, which sparked even further interest in the life and arts of Frida Kahlo.

On the other hand, Jackson Pollock was an American artist. At the age 18 Pollock traveled alone to Los Angeles to meet up with his brothers and study at the Art Students’   league. He was an alcoholic which caused him to become volatile. The end of Pollock was after he took his last drive drunk, he died immediately from the impact of the tree. So in this paper, will see the differences and the similarities between Frida Kahlo and Jackson Pollock. Frida Kahlo: the artist who painted herself Frida Kahlo was born in Mexico 1907.

Frida lived with her parents and three sisters, but she was favored the most by her father. At 18 years old, Frida was in a tragic accident which kept her in bed for two years. The time Frida spent in bed dealing with illnesses was the time she began her hobby as a self-portrait artist. Frida’  s mother placed glass mirror in the canopy above the bed and she gave her paint and brushes, so Frida would look up at her face and began herself portrait. Over the two years Frida spent in the bed, she paints herself, her sisters, and her friends.

When Frida got better, she went to see Diego Rivera, who was known as a wall painter or murals, for his opinion about her painting. Diego said the painting was original, which means did not copy another artist’  s way of painting, then told her to go home and paint more self portrait. Two years later, Frida and Diego became husband and wife. While Diego traveled doing his work, Frida follow and continued painting the new people she met using her imagination. In the continuing of their travel, Frida began to miss home that made her paint a portrait entitled (My Dress Hangs Here).

Frida’  s portrait (My Dress Hangs Here) shows all the countries and cities she traveled, but her dress that she was not wearing is hanging in one spot where she wants to be. Three years later in 1941, Diego and Frida moved back into the house she was born in. Diego built Frida a studio where she continuo her works. Frida started to keep diary, but not like any ordinary diary, she used colors to write with and they matched what she was writing about. Years went bye and having thirty- two operations, Frida became bed ridden again.

In 1953 something special happen to Frida, she was the first artist in Mexico to have her own show. On opening night she insisted on being there although her weaknesses made it impossible to walk or use the wheel chair. So her four post bed was placed in the center of the show where she laid to attend her opening night. Frida stayed strong and continued painting while she dressed to look like a painting. Frida last painting was different from the rest; it was of juicy red watermelons and one of the watermelons was carved with the saying viva la vida! This means long live life.

At the age 47, Frida passed away in 1954. Jackson Pollock: Art vs. Alcohol Born in Cody, Wyoming on January 28, 1912, Paul Jackson Pollock was the youngest of five brothers. His parents came from a Scottish-Irish strict religious background, so they showed no warmth or humor. Pollock’  s father was an alcoholic, depressed and uneasy with people. Pollock’  s mother was described as dominate overshadowing wife who took well care of her children but was unable to show any compassion to them. Pollock’  s mother was a dreamer for her artistic ways, and each time one of her dreams failed the family would move.

When Jackson was nine it was around the time he began his drinking along with his four older brothers. The alcohol caused Pollock to become volatile. By the time Pollock was sixteen he was considered to be a misfit, never making any friends due to his mother always moving the family around. At the age 18 Pollock traveled alone to Los Angeles to meet up with his brothers and study at the Art Students’   league. Pollock had a few jobs to help him survive he worked as a janitor, hand- painted neckties and other small jobs to keep him going.

In this year Pollock painted a portrait in his perspective of his family in the center of the portrait there was a distorted dominating female figure controlling all smaller people. A self-portrait done in the fall of 1934 in New York was a very dark and depressing portrait of a child looking in a mirror. This portrait was one of his depressed states that drove him to drink. Following the depths of Pollock’  s depression he began to paint flame, was a portrait the showed anxiousness. Around this time Pollok’  s brothers and their wives would find him in allies where he will lay drunk at night.

It was the WPA Federal Arts Project, only temporarily saving Pollock. The project would give craving artist a salary monthly and materials to devote to painting only and not alcohol and drugs, each participant had to submit one painting for display in government buildings. Then several years later Pollock started to go backwards in life, becoming violent in his paintings, Like the painting Naked Man with knife in 1937. Finally at the age 25 Pollock admitted himself into the Bloomingdale Asylum for his alcoholism abuse. He was released after 4 months on a promise to never drink again.

Shortly six months after Pollock had another breakdown and readmitted this time at Bellevue hospital. With his family watching over him they felt as if he didn’  t want to be helped. In 1939 after so many years of break downs and crisis’  s, Pollock’  s family took Pollock to see a psychoanalyst Joseph Henderson. Over the 18 months that Henderson devoted himself to Pollock, Henderson confirmed he is unable to eloquent his feelings. Still many years later Pollock still uses his inner feelings to expresses the darkness and fear in his life from birth to death.

In 1947 through 1950 Pollock stopped drinking art critics called it ‘ ‚NsClassical Drip Period’ ‚N?. In these three years he was kept sober by taking sedatives, and his paintings were filled with energetic rhythm. Then in 1951 the alcohol took over his life again, his paintings became similar to the work he did in the 30’  s. Pollock started to fall into a deeper depression in 1956 after he broke his ankle. He was drinking heavier, stopped painting all together. Shortly after Pollock took his last drive drunk, he died immediately from the impact of the tree.

In conclusion, the two paragraphs above were about two artists Frida Kahlo and Jackson Pollok. They both live a similar lifestyle with depression and dark side. Frida never smile in her painting shown she was sad caused from her being shut away from her life due to the tragedies. Pollok expressed anger and hate in his painting mostly against his mother due to growing up in a dysfunctional household, and his mother moving him from place to place. The differences that both artists don’  t have in common are, Frida’s family was there for her and she painted because that made her happy and never gave up at it. Pollok’  s family pushed him a way learned to drink at a young age due to bad parenting influences. He painted to express his anger against to his childhood, but he gave up painting for alcohol which took his life.


Frith, Margaret. Frida Kahlo The Artist Who Painted Herself. New York: Grosset & Dunlep, 2003. Virshup, Evelyn. Creativity & Madness Psychological Studies of Art And Artist. California: Aimed Press, 1995.

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