La Quinta Arts Foundation former scholar Marnie Navarro, also known as MLN17, is a Southern California-based multi-disciplinary artist.  She shares news of her creative projects and latest mural 8-Bit Frida, commissioned by the Agnes Pelton Society.

8-Bit Frida

8-Bit Frida is a tribute to Frida Kahlo, the famed Mexican Surrealist feminist painter and revolutionary political activist. The design seeks to reframe this important historical art figure in a contemporary style with vibrant colors and a playful nod to the advent of computer graphics by deliberately pixelating an original color portrait of the artist. Kahlo is flanked by an expansive blue sky and fluffy white clouds with yellow block typeface – ‘You don’t need feet when you have wings to fly’. This artwork is a dedication to the women who are and will become catalysts for change, shaping the course of our collective history for the betterment of humanity, and to the men who will support this vision for the future.

8-Bit Frida by MLN17 ceramic tile and aerosol paint 14′ x 6′

What can you share about the upcoming mural dedication event?
The event takes place on Friday, July 6, 2018, 9:30-11am, (the birth date of Frida Kahlo) at the Agnes Pelton House on the Chuperosa Lane Murals Path, 68680 F Street in Cathedral City.
8-Bit Frida is the newest addition to the public art murals here. Activities will include live entertainment, a costume and Frida look-a-like contest, and more. For details, go to Agnes Pelton Society.


Could you share your creative process with this mural 8-Bit Frida?
I conceptualized the 8-Bit Frida design nearly two years ago in a proposal for the Agnes Pelton Society.  Since I had never made a tile mural, I researched materials, techniques, and industrial standards. Once it was approved, the entire process took about three months. First, I began with drawings, scale conversions and tests. Next, I hand-painted each tile in the studio. There are just over 3,000 tiles! Lastly, I installed the piece.  The unconventional idea carried tremendous risk, so I’m grateful to Peter Palladino and Simeon Den of the Agnes Pelton Society for their full support. And I’m thrilled with the result.

Is there special significance to the quote you selected to highlight in your mural?
The quote is paraphrased from Kahlo’s journal (dated 1953), showing this expression in Spanish and a drawing of fractured feet.  I love the metaphor of flying–transcending obstacles or soaring in accomplishment. Therefore, I wanted this belief to support the portrait of such a revolutionary artist.


What was one of the more inspiring artworks or art exhibitions you’ve witnessed this year?
In March, I went to see the Robert Rauschenberg retrospective “Erasing the Rules” at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The work is so powerful.  It’s as if the force of it ripples through time. I enjoyed discovering works that were new to me, and viewing old favorites. In April, Edoardo Tresoldi’s “Etherea” installation at Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival made a big impact.  With a combination of  wire mesh, multiple structures, and Classical architecture, the experience was bold and haunting.  It forced people to slow down and feel awe-inspired. Moreover, the lighting was perfect. See album below. 

Edoardo Tresoldi’s ‘Etherea’ at Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival 2018


Could you give our readers a preview of additional projects coming up for you?
Currently, a lot of my studio time is focused on video work that accompanies my sound performance. Also, I’m testing new mosaic materials for another local mural project. In August, I’m curating and showing in an exhibition The Light which Reveals the Alarming Ghosts at the Coachella Valley Art Center. The opening reception is August 3 from 6-10pm. Additional programming details are coming soon.

About Marnie Navarro:
Education includes California State University San Bernardino, B.A. in Psychology and post-baccalaureate degree in Studio Art, and the School of Visual Arts New York. International art studies include Instituto Allende in San Miguel De Allende, Mexico and the International School of Art in Umbria, Italy. Past exhibitions include Sensing Elsewhere (Here) in New York, NY, ALL or NOTHING, at SPACE Gallery in Pomona, CA, and ART ARMY, a solo exhibition, in New York, NY.  Follow her on Instagram @LIFEWORKGALLERY.