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THE FRIDA PROJECT

BACK STORY

In January 2018, I was Freelancing as a Photographer and Visual Artist in New Zealand. I shared a beautiful rental villa perched along the coast of the picturesque Island Bay, just a stones throw away from the ocean - literally. During the seven years I lived in Wellington, I maintained a healthy network. These connections together with an insatiable appetite for more was providing ample job opportunities, and for the first time in my life - a healthy savings account. The perfect recipe for a graduate design student, right? I asked myself why I still felt an emptiness, best described as an itch I couldn't quite scratch. Society was telling me I was doing everything right (I still have the student loan to prove it), but I saw a challenge in front of me. I was coming to an age where the expected thing was to be setting down roots or climbing the career ladder and making a name for myself. Instead I began questioning it all. Don’t get me wrong, I was freaking happy. Yet, this appetite for more swiftly began to feel like severe bloating from over-eating. My plate was full, but I couldn't stop consuming. 

 

I realised something needed to change. I forgave myself for being an entitled millennial, decided perhaps I should meditate on my life choices and re-evaluate what I really wanted to do. What moved me? What motivated me to get up in the morning? I discovered I find myself in the purest state of being when I am making or creating. Whether it's photographing, painting, designing or playing with clay, the kick is the same to me. I had this strong urge to see what was outside of my little cosy creative bubble I had built. I wasn't ready to settle down and I desperately craved to find out who I was without all of the attachments. Less things, less deadlines, more space, more time. I began thinking, how can I travel with less and still have the freedom and the space to create?

 

As a child I imagined I would wander continents living in one of those combi-vans from 70's surf movies with a peace sticker on the back. I was an adult now and I had it in mind to relocate to the other side of the planet. One plus one equals two. However, I had little to no knowledge about the culture or laws around owning a vehicle and travelling through the EU. Luckily, my fathers’ side of the family is Austrian. I was encouraged by my family members' fears and doubts (a young girl sleeping in her car for an indefinite amount of time) to impose myself on distant relatives whom I had never actually met and in whose native tongue all I spoke was 'Nein'. Miraculously I managed to pack my life into a few boxes. I hauled myself to Europe, found the campervan of my dreams and avoided certain death driving on the other side of the road, all within a few months thanks to the help of my 64 year old cousin (twice removed) and her neighbour from Bosnia Herzegovina whom took pity on me. Several years later and hopefully wiser I now realise that my stubbornness, blind naivety and shamefully also my white privilege, helped me out a lot. 

 

So there I was, armed with my campervan full of character, my stripped down camera equipment and a small set of acrylic paint. I now had enough space to live, work and create; A rolling artspace.

 

With that, the Frida project was born.

ROLLING ART GALLERY

I created a rotating art space on the empty walls of Frida (my campervan), where I exhibit new works and sell my paintings on the road. It has created an inspiring space to be, where I  have hosted other artists, new friends and fellow travellers. 

In this concept series, I was gifted some beautiful offcuts of wood that were destined for the fire and I was able to let my imagination flow. The age lines of the wood spoke to me, suggesting images, figures and organic shapes. I found my love for colour has manifested in many of these works.

For enquiries or commissions click here or use the contact link below.  

 

UPCYCLING WORKSPACE & STUDIO

During the Covid-19 outbreak in Europe I spent lockdown in The Netherlands. Whilst day-dreaming of my next art project, I started to prepare for when I could take Frida back on the open road. In need of a snuggly poncho for post-surf sessions in the freezing cold Atlantic Ocean, I decided to try make my own with some second-hand towels donated from friends and salvaged from thrift stores.​ 

I was lucky enough to be given a vintage sewing machine, and voila - I started creating! With some great responses to my first design, a pile of leftover towels, and a lot of extra time I have spent the current summer of 2020 along the coastline of Bretagne in France, creating one-off wearables to sell along the way.

MARKETSTALL ON WHEELS

Like in New Zealand, I enjoy selling my KAHLO designs at local markets and fairs in Europe. When stationed in one place for a longer period of time this is fairly easy to arrange, however, when on the move it becomes challenging to plan ahead and confirm bookings with local organisations. 

I was inspired by the culture of 'busking' and applied a similar mentality in my advertising approach. Where appropriate and legal, I set up my own impromptu market to showcase my hand-crafted jewelry and recently my up-cycled surf ponchos, with Frida serving as a convenient backdrop. It turned out to be a great way to meet locals as well as a gateway to new opportunities.