Monthly Archives: January 2022

Letraset, Zip-A-Tone and my first art piece for press.

In the summer of 1983 my best friend was an anti-nuke protester. He was hanging out with Dana Beal and the Yippies at the Yippie headquarters at 9 Bleecker St.

This meant that I was hanging out with them too, like a Pulp Fiction Vegetarian. Even though I thought they were mainly creeps who used politics to get close to attractive young people. I was sixteen, and we were drinking and taking drugs there, but nobody cared.

My friend was mostly hanging out to be with a girl, I think, and I wanted to get with her too. One night we had a bananapants threesome there involving jug wine and queening with red wings.

Overthrow 1982On the second floor loft level of the HQ there was a workstation where the nice artist/illustrator who put together the YIP newsletter, Overthrow, worked.

I wandered over to him one time in the haze of some drunken summer night and he showed me the paste-up he was doing. He was using a swirling checkerboard Zip-A-Tone or LetraSet decal on a pasteup illo of a Cheshire Cat. I was absolutely fascinated as he told me about this old-school – even then – material for print art. You can see his use of it in the cover above!

I did my first print-ready commercial illo, for the YIP newsletter, when I was sixteen, because of this cool guy.

I offered to help, and wound up doing an illo of a homeless guy sitting on the steps of a fancy Village brownstone with a big Christmas wreath on the door.

It was in my usual meticulous Rapidograph style, black and white. I intended to be a book illustrator, fashion illustrator, or some other kind of commercial artist, back then.

I can see the drawing so clearly in my mind, still, but I don’t have a copy. I realize, to my shock, that I could probably find the issue – printed somewhere in the second half of 1983 – online, and buy it and hold it in my hands. Isn’t that weird?

LetraSet and Zip-A-Tone are gone now, of course. Like paste-up and the YIP headquarters. So it goes.

Lilac and Lempicka with Rubyyy Jones!

Rubyyy Jones a la Lempicka by Suzanne Forbes Jan 17 2022I have been meaning to catch one of Rubbyyy Jones’ drawing sessions for forever!

I drew them once years ago at Full Moon Cabaret, and had such a good time doing it. Since then they have created Life Drawing Rubyyy Jones, a whole Patreon community for life drawing, and more, including movement classes and act creation instruction. Insta, personal Insta, linktree.

Rubyyy a la Lempicka by Suzanne Forbes Jan 17 2022 2When they announced a January theme of sets and looks influenced by historic queer artists, I had to make the Tamara de Lempicka sesh!

It wasn’t easy. I am having a terrible symptom flare, and even making the small arm movements for pastel lines is painful. I find myself using the watercolor brushes more because they yield to pressure, so they don’t hurt my hand and arm.

pretty sure these days I have ME/CFS and fibromyalgia to add to my sick lady list. Or maybe those two have been the core of it all, all along.

Maybe I have been just fighting it since the day in 1994 when I was in my studio in St. Paul working on Star Trek and I heard Cher talking about a mysterious disease called Epstein-Barr that seemed to describe my symptoms so perfectly… Working is harder than it’s ever been. This month I have felt perilously close to being unable to draw at all.

But this joyous session made it possible.

Rubyyy a la Lempicka by Suzanne Forbes Jan 17 2022 3Rubyyy is such an experienced and vibrant model!

Their energy and rolling flesh illuminated the lilac organza sets. They hit the perfect de Lempicka three-quarter profile! Their makeup was PERFECTION. The session was run smooth and slick with a Madonna soundtrack by facilitator Prinx Lydia. I only lasted for the first half, as I was just too weak and hurting. But –

I am hoping to join next week’s session, Orange and Opie, inspired by the photographs of Catharine Opie!

It’s gonna be leather-dyke-a-licious and you know I love that 😉

Rubyy a la Opie by Suzanne Forbes Jan 24 2022 2Updated January 25 with Rubyyy powering up in handmade gear!

I made another session of Life Drawing Rubyyy on Monday. I was not familiar with Los Angeles photographer Catherine Opie‘s work, so I am very grateful to Rubyyy Jones and session facilitator Prinx Lydia for the introduction!

I am so grateful to my Patreon Patrons, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to continue making art as a vaccinated but Covid-vulnerable disabled person.