Carina Samantha Santos

I make stuff up

London & Manila

— MRes Art: Theory & Philosophy, Central Saint Martins





Editorial design & illustration

CNN Philippines Life
Esquire Philippines
Rogue Magazine

Book design

A Waiting Room Companion

The First Impulse

Cupid’s Rage

Taming People’s Power


Don’t Forget, Clementine

Bones Like Snowflakes

Winter Quay/Summer Blankets


“There’s something really funny about our music, because it’s often so heart-on-your-sleeve, a little bit. We know how that can be embarrassing. We’re just not worried about embarrassing ourselves anymore.” ¹ The album is an intimation of loss, self-destruction, and the possibility of redemption. ² It’s a song for when life gets too heavy, and you need a song you can sink into — just for four minutes — so you don’t drown inside yourself. ³ 

Frida Kahlo — for L’Officiel Manila

Yours to Keep: Frida Kahlo and Revlon

Any visual language often involves colors. Revolutionary female artist, Frida Kahlo, appears in most memories as a flurry of lush greens and sensual reds, aided by her works of art and clothing choices. Prior to 2004, the public had no access to Frida Kahlo's personal effects.

Frida was constantly sick and was often on morphine due to her ailing body. After her death in 1954 (officially a pulmonary embolism but may have been an overdose), her husband, Diego Rivera, locked away all her possessions in a bathroom in the Blue House, their home in Mexico City. He ordered that the room be kept sealed until 15 years after his own passing. Although he died shortly after Frida in 1957, it wasn't until 2004 that the public was made privy to the room's contents, when Museo Frida Kahlo made the move to catalog its contents.

The honor to document Frida's last remaining possessions was given to Japanes photographer, Ishiuchi Miyako, whose efforts were on display at the Michael Hoppen gallery in London from May 14 to July 12 this year. Originally shown in Museo Frida Kahlo, the showcase was curated by Circe Henstrosa.

Among those left behind—a collection of cat-eye glasses, a portable cigarette ash tra compact, dresses and boots—are two dried-up bottles of nail polish by Revlon: one in crumbly deep green, and the other a bright and cool blue-based red. Nothing was amiss and these certainly completed a picture of Frida I had painted in my head. However closer inspection leads one to look beyond the colors left by bottles that are half a century old.

The green bottle is actually a bottle of Revlon's Seal-Fast, which is a clear top coat designed to cut drying time in half, and the bottle of red is a varnish called "Orchids to You"—a very bright, mid tone orchid shade that, in its original incarnation, looks a little  misplaced when set against the rest of her possessions, which seem to be a carefully coordinated mix of yellows, greens, and reds.

Friends have noted that the more ill and incapacitated she became, the more ostentatious her wardrobe became. Perhaps the inclusion of orchid was a form of rebellion, a departure from her typical palette. Is it really an incongruence, an anomaly o a common, collective perception? Or, is it actually an agreement with this aspect of her that needs to react contrary to her pain, her normal?

Her last diary entry, a few days before her passing, reads "I hope the exit is joyful — and I hope never to return — Frida." Perhaps all she wanted was a little happiness and reprieve from her pain.

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© Carina Samantha Santos

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