LOS ANGELES — Decorating everything from utility boxes to T-shirts to mugs, Frida Kahlo’s surrealist self portraits are as ubiquitous as they are iconic.

And starting Thursday, they can be seen in a larger-than-life format with the new Immersive Frida Kahlo experience at Lighthouse ArtSpace Los Angeles. Whether it’s "The Two Fridas" or "The Broken Column," about 100 works from the iconic Mexican painter have been digitized, animated and blown up to epic scale.

What You Need To Know

  • Immersive Frida Kahlo is a new experiential art exhibit showcasing the Mexican painter's work

  • It was created by Lighthouse ArtSpace, which also runs the Immersive Van Gogh experience

  • About 100 Frida Kahlo paintings have been digitized, animated and blown up to epic scale

  • Immersive Frida Kahlo is being shown in nine cities, including Toronto, Denver and San Francisco

“Frida was ahead of her time,” said Mara De Anda, the daughter of Kahlo’s great grandniece. “Converting her art to digital has the possibility to see the details. We know every artwork of Frida by heart, but even for me there are new things.”

Now in the hands of private collectors and museums, the majority of Kahlo’s 143 paintings were on canvases the size of a sheet of copy paper, De Anda said. But for Immersive Frida Kahlo, a single self portrait can take up an entire wall, allowing visitors to take in the subtleties she painted on the monkeys, birds and flowers that often surrounded her in her pieces.

Kahlo was born in Mexico City in 1907, and her life was largely defined by pain. She had polio as a child and was nearly killed in a bus accident as a teenager. The crash fractured her spine, shattered her pelvis and led to more than 30 surgeries throughout her lifetime, which largely informed her work. Kahlo was her own subject in 55 paintings “because I am so often alone,” she once wrote, “because I am the person I know best.”

“Everybody knows the suffering, the relationship with Diego Rivera and the struggle,” said Frida Kahlo’s great grandniece, Mara Kahlo. “But for us, Frida was so lovely, so warm. She was a very happy person. She used to play the guitar and sing songs and make jokes.”

For the Kahlo family, Immersive Frida Kahlo is more than just a new way for people to experience the art. It’s a chance for fans to get a more well-rounded sense of the artist’s life and upbringing through vintage family photos and soundscapes, as well as animation.  At one point in the 40-minute experience, Mara Kahlo said, it feels like visitors are falling from a building — a sensation that’s accentuated with the sound of a quickening heartbeat.

“It’s very emotional,” Mara Kahlo said.

Immersive Frida Kahlo has been in the works for a year, when Mara Kahlo and De Anda met with the pioneers of the new immersive art experience phenomenon, Lighthouse ArtSpace in Chicago. The space also birthed the original Immersive Van Gogh exhibit that opened last year and grew into such a hit that its LA run was recently extended through May.

Besides LA, Immersive Frida Kahlo is being shown in eight other cities, including Toronto, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston, Houston, Denver and San Francisco. The show is officially endorsed by the Frida Kahlo Foundation.

“It’s an honor to be a Kahlo, and it’s also a responsibility to preserve her legacy,” Mara Kahlo said.

Immersive Frida Kahlo opens at Lighthouse ArtSpace LA on Thursday and runs through June. Tickets cost between $40 and $70, depending on the date and time.