Puerto Vallarta Street Art with D.G. Kaye and Resa McConaghy – Graffiti Lux Art & More

I’m excited to be sharing my collaborated post with artist and designer, Resa McConaghy over at Graffitti Lux and Murals. Resa is an artist and gown designer and loves to search out and photograph street art. When I was away in Puerto Vallarta, she emailed me and asked if I could take some interesting photos of street art and come over to her blog and have a discussion about art and Puerto Vallarta, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, adding some photos I took at an Immersive experience of photographs projected on the walls at our AGO exhibit.

My collaboration with Resa McConaghy, artist and gown designer, on artwork in murals in Puerto Vallarta and the Immersive Frida Kahlo

Puerto Vallarta Street Art with D.G. Kaye


D.G. –  You should see all the Frida stuff I have here, from art to books to clothing and a beach bag. Can you tell I’m a huge Frida fan? LOL

Resa –  Yes I can tell! So, let’s see what you’ve captured and then spend some time with Frida! In regards to the pic below, that you have titled“Little Boy Lost in Technology”: It looks like it is painted on a crumbling shack.?

D.G. – I didn’t even remember titling it that, lol. My interpretation is because so many are lost in their phones like phone zombies.

D.G. named many of the pics she sent in. I’ll put those in blue italics.

But actually, it’s not a shack, it’s the side of a store downtown. I’m not sure but I would guess it was painted on stucco? I mean the brick is exposed and so is part of the board and stucco?



Resa – Is this what it is like in parts of Puerto Vallarta?

I mean is poverty and hi-tech living together?

Is this image reflective of real life there?

D.G. – Yes, there is definitely poverty, just not in the tourist areas. Wall art/murals are permitted there as a medium of social messaging. The artist only needs the permission of the building owner and/or local authorities. Funny though, no matter how poor, everyone seems to have a phone. 



D.G. – This intricate mosaic done in mirrored glass is in the Entertainment Park at the malecon (boardwalk), a square where they have entertainment sometimes and the Saturday morning market is held.

Resa –  It’s gorgeous!



Resa – Is this image on the malecon? Or where did you find it?

D.G – The above shot and the  next one were taken at the La Cruz market. Above, the artist featured paintings. The next one was a mural painted on a storefront entrance.



Resa – Is the La Cruz market the main market in Puerto Vallarta? Is it on the Malecon?Does one buy food there as well as art?

D.G. – Yes, there is a whole area like an outdoor foodcourt where merchants sell home made food and baked goods. Delish! There are several little markets throughout all towns, and yes, the Malecon has little markets as well, and a Saturday market. But the La Cruz market is by far the biggest and doesn’t have typical market items. It’s more artisan crafted – clothing, jewelry, hats, collectibles, lotions – you name it.



Resa – Tell me about “Child Art”!

D.G – The image of the girl is an actual painting, not a mural. I took the shot up in La Cruz outside a booth with an artist doing his art. I didn’t get to speak with him so I don’t know his name. His art was outside his booth on stands. I wasn’t the only one with a camera. 



Resa – You titled the above “Catholic Religious”. Is this image on, or by a church?

D.G. – The girl with the red apron was snapped outside a building on a downtown side street. I’m still trying to figure it out. It looks religious at first, but why would the vegetable be on it? Lol. It’s wall art, but not sure what it represents.

Resa – I get it! The red apron/poncho looks like a “chasuble”, a liturgical vestment  worn by Roman Catholic priests and bishops at mass. Seems like there are a lot of murals/street art in Puerto Vallarta.

D.G. – Puerto Vallarta is a growing art scene with so much talent.

Murals are allowed and have been a common way for artists to express themselves in social justice since the Mexican Muralism Movement. It began with wall paintings in the civic buildings after 1910 to educate the illiterate.



Resa – “Planetary art” Was this found at a trip to the Planetarium, or is it street art that made you think planetarium?

D.G. -As you well know, when you walk along older narrow and/or cobblestone roads, there’s always something to see. This photo was painted on a wall on a narrow downtown street.



Resa –  Where were “Splash of Nature’s Colour” and“Peaceful Art” found?

D.G. – The splash was taken in Punta Mita, another town not far from La Cruz. It was a very short street with a few stores and restaurants and outside the stores you would find art.



D.G. – Peaceful art grabbed my attention while I was walking downtown around the malecon area. We were looking for the cotton store. I remember being disappointed when I looked at it later. I’d cut some of the top off. I was standing across the street from it, and I was trying to snap the photo in between many cars driving by.



Resa – Out of the dozen pics of art you sent, 5  are of Frida. It seems to me inasmuch as Mexico inspired Frida, Frida now inspires Mexico. Am I overstating her influence?

D.G. – No, you aren’t overstating the huge influence Frida had and still stands for in the Mexican culture. Frida is loved and admired throughout Mexico. She is admired for her colourful artwork – all expressions of what she was feeling throughout her life as well as many political paintings.



Resa – I adore this mural of Frida, which you say is on a restaurant. Did you eat there?

D.G. – No I never ate there, so I can’t even tell you what the name is. My bad.

Resa – The important thing is you got the pic!

Resa –  I love this pic of Frida and Diego you took when visiting “Immersive Frida Kahlo”, in Toronto. . .



There are a few more interesting pictures I took at an Immersive Frida Exhibit here in Toronto last year, and more conversation. You will also learn a bit of history on the famed Frida Kahlo, the ‘tumultuous’ relationship she shared with the love of her life – famed Mural Artist, Diego Rivera, and how Frida suffered with the pain from her big bus accident for much of her life, which inspired her to paint many self portraits, depicting her pain.

I hope you’re enjoying this colorful collaboration with me and Resa and will continue reading over at GraffittiLux.

Source: Puerto Vallarta Street Art with D.G. Kaye – Graffiti Lux Art & More


Frida Kahlo – The Love and Life of the Famed Mexican Artist

I’ve had a fascination with Frida Kahlo since I fell in love with Mexico. Frida was a bohemian free-spirited Mexican artist who is known for her unfettered strength in overcoming debilating physical illness and bullying when she was a young girl, first bedridden with polio, then later in her young womanhood years after recovering from polio, she was severely injured and mamed for life from a bus accident. It was when she was bedridden for months in a body cast that her father invented a makeshift way to hang an easel above her so she could paint, leading to her life as an eventual famous artist.


“Who needs feet when I’ve got wings to fly” ~Frida Kahlo


Frida Kahlo was born – Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo Calderon on July 6, 1907 in Mexico City, Mexico, and grew up during the Mexican revolution. Frida was the third of four daughters to her Mexican mother and her half German, half Hungarian father, born in Germany. When Frida was six years old she contracted polio and was left with one leg shorter than the other, which of course was good reason for other kids to make fun of her, despite the fact that she always wore long dresses to cover her smaller leg. And despite her illness she was quite clever and managed to excel through and finish high school at Prepatoria, which was recognized as one of Mexico’s presitigious high schools.

The first thing Frida is remembered for is the tragic accident she endured when a streetcar crashed into the bus that Frida was on. Frida was just 18 years old on that September 17th day in 1925. The accident had left Frida with several broken and fractured bones, most dangerously her spinal cord was fractured. Being bedridden and immobilized for many months in a full body cast, it was then that Frida began to paint, mostly self-portraits portraying externally how she felt on the inside. And during that time, she realized she wanted to be a painter more than to continue on to study medicine.


 “I paint myself because I am often alone and I am the subject I know best” ~ Frida Kahlo


After Frida recovered from the accident, she formed relationships with other artists, and notably, the already famous Diego Rivera, who was 21 years her senior, and he ultimately, became her husband –  twice, and the love of her very interesting life.

Frida’s paintings continued to emphasize the pain she endured from the accident and the many operations that were to follow, and her exhaustive psychological pain. When asked about the symbolism of her paintings, this notable quote was Frida’s reply:


“I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality”~ Frida Kahlo


Frida’s art was deeply influenced by her Mexican culture, many paintings using vivid colors and dramatic symbolism, as well as both Christian and Jewish themes. In 1939 the Louvre Museum in Paris bought Kahlo’s first piece of 20th century art.

When Frida recovered from being immobilized by the bus accident, she approached Diego Rivera, an already famous painter whose work Frida admired, for advice about pursuing her art career. Rivera knew Frida had talent and guided her to becoming famous in her own right, eventually leading to the fiery love affair they engaged in together. And despite the disapproval of her parents, Frida married Rivera in 1929. It is said her parents referred to them as the ‘elephant and the dove’ because of their vast size differential to each other.

The relationship between this odd couple was often touted as tumultuous. Both Kahlo and Rivera had fiery instincts, both had extra-marital affairs. Frida was also an open bi-sexual. The saying goes that Diego didn’t mind her illicit affairs with women, but he was extremely jealous when she strayed with another man. It is said that the only time Frida didn’t approve of Diego’s wanderings is when he had an affair with her younger sister. Some thought it was payback from Diego, but it was enough for Frida to end the marriage. But that wasn’t the end because they both remarried each other in 1940. And their second go at marriage was just as explosive as it was the first time round.


Frida Kahlo sketch


Later in their marriage, Frida and Diego became Mexican communist sympathizers and became good friends with Leon Trotsky. Later, Trotsky and his wife came to live with the Riveras while hiding out there as they sought sanctuary from the Soviet Union. And once again, Frida had an affair with Trotsky, which upset his wife and sent them packing, and eventually, they were found and Trotsky was assassinated.

Frida died on July 13th, 1954. It was said she died of a pulmonary embolism, but some others say she may have taken her own life with the many medications she took to dull her constant physical pain. In her last year she suffered pneumonia and gangrene in her leg, which was consequently, amputated at the knee. A few days before Frida died. she wrote in her diary:


“I hope the exit is joyful – and I hope never to return – Frida” 


Today, Frida’s home in Coyoacán, a borough in Mexico City, known as the ‘Blue House’ – “Casa Azul”, is a museum housing many of Frida’s works and relics and a pre-Columbian urn containing her ashes. After Frida’s passing, in Diego’s autobiography, he writes that the most tragic day of his life was when Frida died, adding his regret that only too late did he realize that the best part of his life was the love he held for Frida.


Fun facts:

  • Frida was known for her ‘strong dark hairline’ across her lip and her almost unibrow above her eyes.
  • Frida lied about her age, telling people she was born in 1910 when the Mexican revolution began.
  • Frida appeared on the 1937 cover of American Vogue magazine in an article entitled Senoras of Mexico.
  • Frida and one of her sisters were briefly jailed as suspects of Leon Trotsky’s murder, but were soon cleared.
  • In 1953 just before Frida’s leg was amputated and she suffered with terrible pain, her first solo art exhibition was to take place in Mexico at the Galería Arte Contemporaneo. Kahlo was on bed rest and wasn’t about to miss her first solo exhibition so she stubbornly went by ambulance on a stretcher and had her bed moved to the event. It was a year later when Frida died.
  • Like many artists during their time, Frida wasn’t fully as famous in life as she was in death. Most of her adult life she was referred to as Diego’s wife rather than the talented artist recognition she didn’t gain respect for until after her death.
  • Frida’s fame was hugely acknowledged in the 1970s with the pop culture explosion. At this time women were starting to stand up to be counted and students questioned the exclusions of non Western artists. Also at this time was the coming out of the gay community, which also commended Frida for her openness about her sexuality and her fierce pride for her Mexican roots.


Frida Kahlo
I bought this painting of Frida Kahlo from an artist, on the beach. I watched him paint other Frida images and chose this one, which depicts her beauty and strength.


I also purchased on my numerous visits to Mexico, a beautiful beach coverup with a portrait of Frida painted on the back, as well as a beach bag with Frida’s face embroidered on the bag.


Frida Kahlo


(Note: the material is wrinkled, not her face)


Frida Kahlo



Click on the link below to see some of Frida’s beautiful art and more!



Check out this mini view into various aspects of Frida’s colorful life.



Some great photos of Frida and Diego and more famous quotes, click this link:



If you ever get a chance to watch, I saw a fabulous movie of the life of Frida, starring Selma Hayek as Frida, and it was a fantastic accounting of Frida’s life with a parade of stars. The biographical movie was made in 2002 and was simply called Frida, although Frida was far from simple. You can check out more about the movie specs below:




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