When Frida Kahlo said, “I am my own muse. I am the subject I know best, the subject I want to know better,” we knew what she meant and could feel it in her work. Every portrait revealed a facet of herself, from anguish to elation. This act of self-analysis through art is intrinsically compelling, as a viewer – it’s almost as though we’re watching the artist stitch their own wounds. It’s gorgeous and almost too-intimate.
We know a contemporary artist that seems to be channeling her.
Lídia Vives is one of Spain’s most exciting emerging photographers, and has something of Kahlo about her work. The vast majority of her work is self-portraits, capturing not only drama and mystery but also a strong narrative arc in each image.
Every single photograph she creates is a jewel-toned treat. Get ready to be blown away.
- Age: 24
- Location: Barcelona, Spain
- Education: Fine Arts at University of Barcelona
- Field of Interest: Everything about art: photography, painting, music, films… and sport!
- What’s Your Favorite Thing About Yourself? I think that my favorite thing about myself is the creativity and sense of color. I love to create new worlds and strange situations in vivid colors!
- What Inspired You Today? My day-to-day life inspires me the most. Also, classical music and paintings.
- What Are You Currently Listening To On Repeat? “Champagne Supernova” by Oasis
- What Are You Reading That You Can’t Put Down? Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
- What Are You Currently Involved In That You’re Really Excited About? My next book!
Questions + Answers
One reason your work is so compelling is because every photograph tells a story; your photographs almost seem like fairytales. What are the main stories or themes you’re exploring with your work?
I talk about dreams, memories, fears… it’s like a therapy. I’m trying to explore my subconscious and express what I’m feeling, what scares me and what I want.
Color is such an important part of your work, almost another character. What does color mean to you, and how do you decide what colors to use in your images?
It depends. I choose my colors in accordance of what I’m trying to express. If it’s a sad scene, probably I’ll use cold colors, if it’s a powerful scene, hot colors, or an erotic scene, pink and red colors.
I also think that the symbolism is so important.
Many of your photographs are gorgeous self-portraits. Why did you make that artistic decision? How does it change the story your work tells? How does it change how people respond to it?
I started doing self-portraits, at first, just for commodity. I need a face and I have mine, so…
Then I started working with other models and I saw the difference.
If you tell a story, your feelings, an idea, what you’re trying to express… everyone will interpret it personally, in accordance with what they feel.
Then, the picture will not be totally mine, because they cannot express my idea at 100%.
That’s why I prefer self portraits. They’re not [influenced], they’re just pure and real.
Which relationships in your life are the most supportive or most influence your work?
Definitely my dad. He’s also an artist and he teaches me everything I need to know about art.
Also, when I finish a picture, he tells me what is wrong and what I have to do to make it better. He’s SO strict, but it’s okay. That’s the only way to progress.
Did you face any challenges in your journey to becoming a professional artist? What were they, and how did you overcome them?
Well, my biggest challenge was to be in a gallery and now I am so I think now it’s to be a big artist. Every day, to get better and better. I want to see how much I can do and improve day-by-day.
Your social media accounts are just beautiful! Do you think it’s important for artists to be active on social media? How has it impacted your career?
Sure! Especially when you’re starting. It’s a good way to share your work around the world, meet new people, get influences, find new jobs… that’s how people found me! And that’s how your pictures can go viral.
Who Inspires You?
Okay, there’s some inspiration I can mention: Tadzio Autumn, Rubén Chase, Gadir and Sus Blanco.
+ Follow Lídia on Instagram! And tell us what you think of her incredible images in the comments below.