Roundup of my open-source crowd-funded documentary art for 2018!

Suzanne Forbes crowd funded open source art 2018Hello all my dear ones, readers/friends/muses/Patrons/collectors! It’s my 52nd birthday!

I made over 250 individual pieces of finished documentary art in 2018, despite a year of health challenges (including being in a bus accident that busted up my drawing hand, ongoing menopause & auto-immune problems and my hb’s health issues!). That’s right baby! More diversity, representation and beautiful human stories than ever! 

The only reason it was possible: the financial support of my Patrons on Patreon. Thank you, my darlings!!!!!!!

As always, the best birthday present you can give me is sharing and tweeting and facebooking my Patreon and Ko-fi!

For the biggest boost of all, totally free to you!!!, PLEEEEAASE, I beg you, submit my documentary artwork project to ColossalBoingBoingLaughingSquidMy Modern MetBoredPanda, Women’s Art on twitter, and/or any of these other sites. Starter text at bottom to give you an idea how to do that!

I don’t make art if I don’t get paid. I don’t have the strength to make art for free.

To me, there is no greater validation of my work than getting money (to use for food and medicine) for it. So the last three and a half years on Patreon have been amazing, a total revelation in how happy and fulfilled I can be. You can help on Patreon, for as little as a dollar/euro a month. Or chip in on my account on Ko-Fi, the dumbest-named artist support platform ever!

https://www.patreon.com/join/SuzanneForbes?

 

I love you all so much, and I’m so grateful to you for supporting my work. 

I am not giving up and I will keep working. Despite advancing arts censorship in the US and UK, I believe crowdfunding and releasing my art open source is the way for me. And of course I am available for private portrait commissions too 😉

Yours in love, hope and solidarity,

my best wishes for 2019,

Your Suz

Sample text/project descriptions for submission to art news websites:

  • Former courtroom artist makes a life’s work of open source documentary art, live-drawing scenes from sex parties to the Berlin subway.
  • Former DC artist documents alternative culture by drawing live on the scene, then distributes her work open-source.
  • Huge open source queer and alternative culture art archive in jeopardy from SESTA/FOSTA.
Suzanne Forbes is an expat New Yorker by way of the Bay Area, using the skills she developed as a courtroom artist to live-draw queer, trans and alternative culture. Much like the embedded combat artists who traveled with troops in World War One, she draws live on the scene for public distribution. Instead of newspapers, her drawings are published open source for anyone to print and share on flickr and her blog. Her documentary art project has been running since 2005, and is crowd-funded through Patreon. Her mission is to tell unique human stories, with a focus on visibility and representation.

A “Reserved Parking for Eliza” OOAK spell doll!

Eliza Gauger doll by Suzanne Forbes Dec 30 2018 with Problem GLyphs bookI made this doll as a sort of summoning spell/eidolon/telepresence device for my friend Eliza Gauger.

Eliza lived in Berlin at one time, and may return someday. The idea is that the doll holds a space for her here, whenever she’s ready to return, and when she does arrive she can have it as a gift. Until then, it will sit on my shelf with my Alien figures from a beloved friend/muse/Patron and cards from friends.

Eliza is, of course, the artist/creator of the Problem Glyphs open source art project and book. Which is a healing spell of love and sacrifice, a work of sustaining power.

Eliza Gauger doll by Suzanne Forbes Dec 30 2018Eliza was also one of the people who sent us money when we were desperate, the first couple months in Berlin, cause Dan couldn’t work and we had to pay cash for my meds.

And Eliza had a hard year, this year. You can support her work on Patreon and download open source Problem Glyph art here, buy your own copy of the Problem Glyphs coffee table book here, buy Problem Glyph t-shirts here, request a sigil for your own problem here, buy original art and prints here, and follow her shitposts on twitter here.

I started the doll months ago, when I noticed one of the porcelain fairy heads I bought at a craft store in St. Paul, Minnesota in the early 90s reminded me of Eliza. At the same time, in the doll parts drawer, my gaze fell on a little leather jacket. It was from a Living Dead Doll I bought in the early Oughts, which I had cut up and redressed for some other project. The vision of the Eliza Reserved Parking doll came together in minutes, scrabbling through the drawer.

But – there were no arms in the doll drawer! Just a grubby baggy of taxidermy weasel feet.

Video of this disappointing moment on my IG video here. I found the fairy mint-colored ones, from a Monster High body sold withouten any head, online. The arms have ball joints and pegs, which I inserted into shoulder pieces of epoxy clay, thus meaning the doll has some posability.

Weasel feet in the doll parts drawerTheir body (the doll is definitely non-binary) is made with the traditional batting-stuffed cotton body, and their legs are porcelain ballerina legs that I made stockings for and gave boots from a totally different Monster High doll. I used grey nail flocking, just like the flock I used on the White Witch’s reindeer’s ears, to give the doll’s head some pale, glinting texture. Adhesive testing for micro rhinestuds Suzanne Forbes Dec 30 2018

During the time I was making the doll, Eliza got a dog.

A gallumphing nightmare beast of a lolloping moor-rambler, with glowing eyes and black fur. Luckily, while searching through a box of action figure bases for Sentinel parts for my upcoming Danger Room project (which will go under the School for Gifted Youngsters), I found a nice black wolf. Maybe he came with a Wolverine figure? Idk.

Terror Goggie for Eliza doll modified by Suzanne Forbes Dec 30 2018Anyway I had exactly enough left of the deep purple glove leather trim I got from an LA handbag manufacturer on etsy back in 2005 to make the terror goggie a harness. And while I used silver Sharpie and a bit of drybrushed gray acrylic to reduce the albedo of the micro-rhinestuds on the doll’s jacket, I left the ones I glued on the dog’s eyes alone. Hence, the glittering.

So here it is, “Parking Space Reserved for 3Liza”, a work which will hold a space of love and protection here until such time as Eliza collects it. 3Liza doll on shelf by Suzanne Forbes Dec 30 2018

An immigrant family at the Ausländerbehörde.

Immigrant family at the visa office Dec 18 2018 by Suzanne ForbesWe had to go to the visa office, nowadays known as the LABO, to get the hub’s work visa renewed.

As I have said before, the “foreigners office” is not really that bad a place. Although in winter there are no families picnicking on the grass outside, there are still lots of folks eating and drinking. The fact that food and beverages are allowed is such a humane detail. People buying snacks from vending machines and eating vegan salad from Scoom make it seem normal, not terrifying, to be waiting there. It’s also pretty shabby, with this random desk shoved in front of an unused door, in our waiting room. As you can see in the picture. The seats are stained, and everyone is pretty casual about their kids running around.

It’s all of a piece with our experience of German bureaucracy, which has been that they care about getting the procedure correct, getting you what you need, and getting you outta there, not about denying you. The agents in the offices are generally irritated, at you, but not cruel. Their end goal is the same as yours.

Following correct procedure is seen as a public good, so if you don’t follow correct procedure, you are inconveniencing everyone, and why would you do that? Hence the irritation. We actually screwed up, for the first time, forgetting Dan’s most recent paystub, but they found a workaround for it. His visa was renewed, and off we went. I hope things worked out as well for the sweet family I had a few minutes to draw while we waited.

In the waiting room Dec 2018 by Suzanne ForbesSometimes in Europe you see very European things, like this guy in another waiting room.

I was waiting at the gastroenterologist office and saw this fellow in the most totally bland minimalist Swiss look. I drew him because I liked the geometry of his folded legs and the boxy chair, even though his style choices were putting me to sleep.

More visa office

More medical waiting rooms:

Charité one and two

More 1930s Glamour!

Mama Ulita and Lars with piano at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Dec 9 2018I made these drawings of Mama Ulita and Lars Schwuchow at the Kabarett der Namenlosen edition of Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin.

It took me a little while to find the energy and a slightly sunny day to photograph them, though! They’re too big for the scanner 🙂 Mama Ulita and Lars at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Dec 9 2018Look how amazing these two are. They’re like time travelers.

So grateful to Le PustraLalaVox , Ballhaus Berlin and all the performers/models/crew for this amazing drawing session at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin! Here’s the Insta 🙂 and thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support allows me to make art!Mama Ulita posing at Dr Sketchys Berlin Dec 9 2018 by Suzanne Forbes

previous Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin:

Kabarett der Namenlosen I

Hansel and Gretel

Baba Yaga, posts one and two

Viva Lamore, à la Baroque

Betty Fvck, Trixie Tassels and More, Berlin Burlesque Week

Broken Baroque

Victorian Spiritualist edition with Valentina Demonia and Syren Joey

More Victorian Spiritualist edition

Weimar Berlin, with Le Pustra and Bridge Markland

More Weimar Berlin

and my first Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin with Viva Lamore, Syren Joey and live painting outdoors!

December 2018 Unterwegs!

Enormous dog and his human on the U Bahn Dec 20 2018 by Suzanne ForbesPersephone phones home.

I saw this red-headed woman and her enormous Cerberus and just HAD to draw them, I was drawing so fast because of course you never know how long you’ll have, what station the person will get off at. I was lucky and got a decent amount of time to get the details.

Day drinker on the U6 Dec 18 2018 by Suzanne ForbesThis punk as fuck guy was having some lager at 10 a.m.

I’m not normally out in the world before one in the afternoon at the earliest, but I had an endocrinologist appointment so I was on the U6 with the morning folks. Which included this very tall dude, who drained one pint can, crushed the can and immediately opened another. Ah, Berlin!

It is my Patrons on Patreon whose monthly financial contributions make it possible for me to work as I can, when I can. Given how rocky my health has been this year, with multiple autoimmune illnesses and a bus accident that busted up my drawing hand, it’s an indescribable blessing. I am so grateful to you!

My documentary art is licensed Creative Commons and free for all!

Previous unterwegs are here:

Fall 2018

September 2018

August 2018 unterwegs

July 2018 bonus round

July 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018 bonus round

February 2018

January 2018 bonus round

January 2018 round 1

December 2017

November 2017

September 2017

July bonus round

July

June

May bonus round

May round one

April

March 2

March

January

December

November

Funky holiday guys! Including my hubbin :)

Dan at the holiday party Dec 13 2018 by Suzanne ForbesThe theme for my hub’s work holiday party was “Funky” this year.

He asked if he had an outfit for that. I told him to look in his dress clothes wardrobe, where he discovered the delirious galactic tentacle shirt I purchased for him this summer. He was pleased.

I absolutely love the people at the company he works for. After years of exploitation by despicable startup scumbags in the Bay, this is our fourth holiday party celebrating with a company that cares about their employees. I wasn’t feeling strong enough to do nearly as much drawing as I usually do, but I got this one lovely moment.

Funky guys dancing at the holiday party Dec 13 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI’m so grateful for our lives here.

The genderqueer glamour of Kabarett der Namenlosen, at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin.

Le Pustra and Mama Ulita dancing at Dr Sketchys Berlin Dec 9 2018 by Suzanne ForbesAh, the magic of these performers!

What glorious muses these Weimar angels of debauchery are!

Le Pustra and Mama Ulita posing at Dr Sketchys Berlin Dec 9 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI haven’t managed to see the theatrical performance of Berlin’s legendary Kabarett der Namenlosen yet, but I got to draw several of its wonderful characters. Above, Le Pustra and the sublime Mama Ulita.Le Pustra and Lars posing at Dr Sketchys Berlin Dec 9 2018 by Suzanne ForbesLe Pustra, the producer of Kabarett der Namenlosen, has also been co-producing Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin with LalaVox. So it was natural they would do a session featuring the styles and sensuality of the dark cabaret.

Le Pustra and Lars dancing at Dr Sketchys Berlin Dec 9 2018 by Suzanne ForbesAnd how beautifully the 1930s dance hall setting of Ballhaus Berlin frames them. It’s heartbreaking to feel the spirit of Weimar Berlin right now, as LGBTQIA rights are under attack in places where so much progress had been made.

The Weimar era’s freedom of sexual and gender expression is so fucking poignant right now.

We must not go back, we must protect everyone’s right to be and love who they are, and wear whatever they want.

If you’re in Berlin, see the Kabarett der Namenlosen while you can! Thanks again to Le PustraLalaVox and all the performers/models/crew for another lovely time at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin! Here’s the Insta 🙂 and thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to make art!

previous Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin:

Hansel and Gretel

Baba Yaga, posts one and two

Viva Lamore, à la Baroque

Betty Fvck, Trixie Tassels and More, Berlin Burlesque Week

Broken Baroque

Victorian Spiritualist edition with Valentina Demonia and Syren Joey

More Victorian Spiritualist edition

Weimar Berlin, with Le Pustra and Bridge Markland

More Weimar Berlin

and my first Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin with Viva Lamore, Syren Joey and live painting outdoors!

Almost finished: a portrait of our friend Sebastian!

Sebastian with his portrait by Suzanne Forbes work in progress Oct 30 2018And just in time, as Sebastian has gone home to Australia.

Portrait of Sebastian by Suzanne Forbes work in progress Nov 28 2018Our family will miss him a lot, and we hope he comes back to Berlin soon.

In the meantime, he’s posting awesome pictures of Melbourne graffiti!

I still want to work on this some more, as his arms need resolution, the background is a little unresolved and there is some teeny tiny thing I need to fix with his face.

He is wearing his mom’s scarf and arm warmers she knitted, which I think is so nice.

And I’m sorry I can’t get a better picture, it’s Berlin in the winter and it is very dark in our house 🙂

We like it dark but it does make taking photos challenging!

Portrait of Sebastian detail by Suzanne Forbes work in progress Nov 28 2018I hope to do some more work on this next week, as I’m feeling a little better than I have for most of November.

School for Gifted Youngsters Update!

X Men Dollhouse by Suzanne Forbes Nov 28 2018 work in progress foyerBeing at home sick has given me a lot of time to work on the new dollhouse.

X Men Dollhouse by Suzanne Forbes Nov 28 2018 work in progressWhich is good, because it is a long fiddly-ass business building a dollhouse!

I have made great progress on the days when I was strong enough to sit up or stand up.

As you can see the first light is in! I have cut nearly all the floors, cut and installed the first floor floors and moldings, and installed the first floor staircase. Some of the floors are stained wood, some vacuum-formed plastic faux-tile, and some carpet.

The stairs are painted to imitate stain (being solid MDF, they didn’t take stain well) and carpeted. And the staircase banister rails and newel posts are stained and varnished.

I built a foamcore base to go under the stairs and wallpapered it. X Men Dollhouse by Suzanne Forbes Nov 28 2018 work in progress stairs

My dollhouse building principle is, if you can’t see it, it doesn’t have to look good!

Things like this are”intuitively constructed”, i.e. assembled cheaply and quickly from materials on hand, with absolutely no planning. My first husband once saw me quickly making a styrofoam globe out of random foam pieces I was carelessly cutting and gluing to shape on the fly. He said, “Why don’t you do that with math, you know, and measuring?” I said, “Because that would get in the way of getting it done.”

I am using battery-operated LED lights with adapters to make them externally controlled.

Dollhouse lighting is in a transition phase right now. Manufacturers and hobbyists are switching over from the round wire or tapewire powered 12 volt systems that have been used for decades to LEDS.

LEDS last far longer and are far safer, but so far are only available as bulbs, strips, or battery-operated individual fixtures. You can’t buy fixtures that take LED bulbs and are designed to wire into your house. So the market provides adapters.

Here are the adapters/light holders installed in the ceiling of the dining room. The light fixtures just snap into them. Below are the wires for the adapters/holders, running in the channels routed in the floor of the room above. There are three sets of wires here, the wires for the lights for the foyer and the wires for two light holders/adapters in the dining room, but all three sets fit in the tiny channel because they are tiny wires! Stripping them and making connections is quite challenging.X Men Dollhouse by Suzanne Forbes Nov 28 2018 work in progress wiring

I had to buy quite a lot of these adapters, in order to light a whole big house.

Usually people buy just one, to light a roombox or small project where they don’t want to have to reach the tiny on/off switch on the fixtures or change its little watch battery. But they are not terribly expensive. At least, until Brexit! I get absolutely everything I can from two excellent UK sellers, Tumdee Miniatures and Melody Jane Miniatures.

X Men Dollhouse by Suzanne Forbes Nov 28 2018 work in progress bedroomAnd here’s test fitting the furniture for Kitty and Illyana’s room.

I couldn’t find the dresser style I wanted (vaguely dated, boarding-school quality) in the same finish as the beds and nightstands so I bought unfinished ones. Then I had to use three different shades of brown and red markers, then stain, then satin polyurethane varnish, to get them to match. I am a crazy person, like many artists. But look how comfy ‘Lock is!

Anyway, getting close to done here. Still think the X-Men can be home for Christmas.

previous posts on the School for Gifted Youngsters:

School for Gifted Youngsters Update!

A huge new tiny project: a School for Gifted Youngsters at last.