Add your own nail varnish to 'queen of selfies' portrait


‘Bring your own nail varnish’ is the call out from artist Danielle Vaughan who is urging people to Paint A Pixel on her portrait of Mexican surrealist icon Frida Kahlo.

Danielle Vaughan smaller

Danielle is artist in residence at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) and is touring the city with her painting to mark International Women’s Day, which falls on Friday.

She is inviting people to colour a square on the mosaic-type portrait with nail varnish.

“It’s on a piece of hardboard that I rescued from outside a shop, because my art is also about recycling, and each pixel square is approximately 2cm2,” she explained.

“Because Frida used to occasionally use nail gloss in her own art, I’m encouraging people to come along with their own pot to use so that the finished piece is then part of them, especially if it’s their favourite colour. I will also have some of my own pots as well.

“I’m hoping that this will be exhibited for the whole year somewhere – I’m still trying to find a place that will have it – and next year I’ll bring it back down for it to be worked on again, so that it will change.”

Danielle began the week by installing herself on Centenary Square (often called Event Square) at the University of Leicester. On Friday, she will be outside the DMU Campus Centre from 12-2pm and then from 8pm, at the Attenborough Arts Centre in Lancaster Road.

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She said: “A number of people have painted their bit. Not many people don’t know who she was – especially when I say ‘she’s the woman with one eyebrow.’”

Frida was a Mexican artist whose work from the 1920s onwards brought her to prominence for her self-portraits, her use of vibrant colours and her portrayal of pain and passion, often reflecting her own sufferings.

She suffered polio as a child, which left her with a thin, weak right leg, and a limp, and in 1922 was badly injured in a bus crash, leaving her with a fractured spine and pelvis which caused her pain for the rest of her life.

She became an icon of the feminist movement, partly because of her artistic creativity but also because she proudly celebrated her striking ‘single eyebrow’ and her upper lip hair.

In more recent times she has been dubbed the world’s first queen of selfies.

Danielle produced a similar pixelated piece of work featuring Marilyn Monroe last year and she has a third and last piece of the hardboard left which she wants to use next year to depict another icon – but hasn’t decided who yet.

Posted on Tuesday 5th March 2019

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