Ghetto Frida Returns
When artist Frida Kahlo reinvented herself as Ghetto Frida to compete with younger artists she created quite a stir. Her artistic legacy is now rivaled by her violent confrontations with a veritable who’s who of contemporary artists. At the moment she appears to be living up to her promise to “Run this art game from the Ghetto to the Getty.” Is this the next successful phase of her career or a path of self-destruction? El Rio sat down with Ghetto Frida once again to find out.
Note: To read the original Ghetto Frida interview CLICK HERE.
A situation between you and Mario Torero went down Wednesday night. Talk about how this whole thing played out and this scuffle happened...
It wasn't even no big thing, it wasn't no scuffle. I seen that dude in the gallery, and I never forgot about that shit he said about Trotsky. So you know it was my homeboy’s opening reception and I didn't really wanna fuck the party up too early. So I said I was gonna holla at him when the opening was over. So later I went over, and confronted the dude. It wasn't no 30 motherfuckers, it was me and a couple of my homies, maybe 4 or 5 of us. He’s talkin’ about 30 dudes jumped him and his white suit didn't get scuffed and still he had his chain. First of all, his white suit didn't get scuffed cause he fell on his back! When I hit him he fell on his back; he probably couldn't see the dirt on his back. Second of all, yeah he still had on his chain ‘cause we didn't wanna take his little chain. All my homies got on jewelery and this fool had on a little ass, garbage ass, chain. Nobody wants your chain man! I'm a millionaire. What I'mma do with a Mario Torero chain? I ain’t no chain snatcher.
Fools gotta understand, shit is real out here. I'm not a painter, I'm a gangster with paintbrushes.
It's been 10 years since 2Pac's death. Do you ever fear you might be going down that same route with all the art beef you’re involved in?
Man, it's whatever it is. These fools out here need learn how to respect me. I do this beefing shit all day. When we’re beefing, you can say whatever you want about me, call me a sellout, say I got played by my man, I'm a commie, fake gangster, my art sucks, all that shit. All that's cool, but once you put Trotsky on blast, then you’re gonna get fucked the hell up by yours truly.
It's been many years since your last solo exhibit of new art, what can we expect from this new show and what's going to be different?
Man, you just gotta take that to the gallery and see. I'm not into trying to sell my art shows. I struggled to get noticed while Diego was famous; that was all in the beginning. Ghetto Frida’s not begging nobody to go to the gallery and see her shit, man. My peoples are doing me a favor by copping my catalogue and supporting my exhibits, and I'm doing them a favor by giving them banging ass paintings that they can’t see anywhere else. Scratch my back, and I scratch yours. That's all it is, it's about me and my fans. The rest of this shit is for the birds.
That’s some real talk right there. Speaking of keeping it real, I’m sorry but I have to ask, what about you hiring a lawyer to go after artists that use your image?
Look, I know it looks like I’m commin’ down hard on artists but let me ask you, who has my back out there? I’m the second most used image in Latino art, the first is the Virgen de Guadalupe. She can’t collect no royalties every time her ass gets printed on a cholo’s tank top. Ain’t no helping her; but Ghetto Frida? I’m fresh in the flesh. You use my image and I gotta get paid, that’s how it’s going down.
It’s like this, I walked into a store the other day and you know what I saw? A framed Rupert Garcia silkscreen portrait of myself selling for $300.00. Then I looked at a shelf and saw Frida Kahlo Temporary Tattoos. Temporary tattoos man! Someone is buying whips and cribs off my image and it ain’t me. I’ve paid my dues, now it’s time for me to stack chips.
So what’s next for you, Ghetto Frida?
Well, I’ve gotta show up for a court hearing tomorrow morning. Me and Tina Modotti were rolling in Hacienda Heights on our way to see our homie and we got pulled over for smokin’ trees. Ain’t that some shit?
I just wanna say something to all the young artists out there. We’re competing for the same grants and shows but I ain’t mad at’cha. Ghetto Frida does this gangster shit so you don’t have to. Stay in art school and say no to snow. Just don’t ever cross me in this art game ‘cause I’m the hardest fuckin’ artist to ever regulate in a gallery. Believe that.