Category Archives: My art

Artwork and various creative projects and obsessions from Berlin artist Suzanne Forbes.

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.

Goths around town.

Goth girl and her mom at Dussmanns Nov 24 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI drew this tall goth girl and her mom at Dussmann’s.

I was waiting for a friend and they were waiting for a concert in the beautiful underground cafe with the living wall.

goth guy on the U Bahn Nov 23 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI saw this guy in the U station and loved his outfit.

The combo of plaid skirt, heavy socks and turtleneck looks great and I immediately fell to wondering how I could get my husband to rock a similar look…

Unterwegs for Fall 2018!

On the S Bahn Nov 24 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI know there haven’t been many unterwegs this Fall!

I have been having some autoimmune issues with my health and I am sometimes terribly weak, so I haven’t been out and about anywhere near as much as I’d like. It took me ages to finish this drawing of two guys with very different style on the S-Bahn!

Unterwegs couple Nov 24 2018 by Suzanne ForbesAnd this is a very sweet couple, the lady enjoying her bouquet and her attentive companion.

I am so incredibly grateful for the support of my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial contributions make it possible for me to work as I can, when I can. My documentary art is licensed Creative Commons and free for all!

Previous Unterwegs are here:

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

Gay lovebugs at Ludwig!

Lovers watching Olympia Bukakis perform at Ludwig Nov 23 2018 by Suzanne ForbesThese sweethearts are watching a performance by Olympia Bukkakis.

Olympia is the founder of Queens Against Borders. QAB is a performance party in solidarity with queer and trans refugees.

Transophonix performing at Ludwig Nov 26 2018 by Suzanne ForbesHere’s Transophonix performing.

These two cuties are newlyweds!

Relaxing at Ludwig Nov 24 2018 by Suzanne ForbesAnd here is a member of community just chilling the heck out.

They are relaxing in the safe space that is queer bar and art gallery, Ludwig Berlin. Opening a radically inclusive, trans, lesbian and nonbinary welcoming, gay art bar in Neukölln has been a challenging journey for Maurus and Ceven, who run the space. I am so grateful the community has stepped up to support Ludwig, a beautiful and warm clubhouse for creative queers and their companions.

Thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon, who make it possible for me to make this art and share it open source, licensed with Creative Commons for all to share, print and enjoy.

So much of the world I love is made by trans people. I can’t bear to lose any more.

My World Without Trans People by Suzanne Forbes Nov 12 2018 Public Domain
The great passion of my life, fantasy and science fiction storytelling, is full of the contributions of trans people.

I wanted to make some art for Trans Awareness Week. I have made many drawings and paintings of trans, non-binary and Gender-Nonconforming folx over the years; you can see some of them here in my “Visibility” album. I try and will always try to tell the stories of the people I meet, with the  love and honor they deserve.

I wanted to do more than document trans people, though. I wanted to celebrate their contributions. Last night I lay awake thinking, how can I talk about how much the creative power of trans and GNC people means to me? How can I tell the world how much their work and lives inspire me? And I realized, it was by imagining a world without them.

Imagine the world we’d have now with the ones we’ve lost to violence, despair and lack of medical care.

I can’t bear to lose any more. We must protect trans, non-binary and Gender-Nonconforming people, all their lives.

I made this image myself today on November 12, 2018 and I hereby release all copyright to it. This image is copyright free. It is a Public Domain work. You can download it in a variety of sizes here on flickr.

 

 

School for Gifted Youngsters Update!

Action figure dollhouse WIP by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2018The new house is coming along very well.

It is now fully wallpapered, permanently assembled and has a base, thanks to power assists from my husband and mom. The grooves in the floor are for the wiring for the lights.X Men dollhouse WIP by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2018 interior

Action figure dollhouse WIP by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2018 kittyGetting it put together wasn’t *hard*, per se, at least not in terms of structural complexity – but there were a lot of pieces that had to be glued in the right order, and the gluing had to happen all within a very short time.

The house itself is really superbly machined and designed, I can’t say enough good things about The Dolls House Workshop, where I bought it.

Any errors were mine, in terms of not quite lining up the wallpaper perfectly here and there, but luckily trim covers a multitude of sins.

If you’re willing to stain, sand and miter-cut it, that is!

Oh, how I hate staining, sanding and miter-cutting trim.
X Men dollhouse WIP by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2018 staining components

I also hate putting on dollhouse wallpaper, but it had to be done.

X Men dollhouse WIP by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2018 wallpapered wall panels before assemblyI used Streets Ahead dollhouse wallpaper paste for this house, instead of Yes! paste, and it did not have the greatest adhesion.

It was repositionable and didn’t warp the papers, though.

I skipped the step of spraying all the papers with matt fixative to strengthen and waterproof them this time, and I shouldn’t have, as they tore a little here and there when wet with paste. X Men dollhouse WIP by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2018 Logan and wallIt was fixable or not noticeable, but that step is worth doing. I did the wallpapering before the final assembly of the house, on the panels, rather than once the house was assembled, like my first house.

I kind of think there are pros and cons to each way.

There was a huge amount of measuring and cutting, which I do not like.

I guess actually I like having a finished dollhouse to create a work of art in, and planning and choosing the components to build and decorate the dollhouse, but I don’t actually like the building the dollhouse at all. Ah well! It must be done!!

At least there’s no soldering now I’m using LED lights with battery converters. More about that next time.

Action figure dollhouse WIP by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2018 kit detailMeanwhile, my beloved mama came to Berlin and brought the perfect 80s kitchen I found in Canada and had shipped to her (it would have cost about a million dollars to ship it here!) It arrived missing a piece but luckily I found that piece from a UK seller and it should get here this week.

I need to put a final coat on the front panels, install them, install the windows and front door, install the wiring for the lights, and then miter cut ten million pieces of ceiling trim and floor trim.

Oh and put the stairs together and install the floors and carpets and the ceiling paper and…

I still think it can be done by Christmas. I’d hate for the X-Men to spend another holiday in storage 🙂

 

A portrait of the artist’s mother on the River Spree.

Portrait of Pat Ketchum on the River Spree by Suzanne Forbes Oct 24 2018My mom came to visit and we went on a boat!

We took one of the widely available and affordable boat cruises on the Spree, the river that winds around Berlin. It was a beautiful October day, and the river is incredibly peaceful. There’s pretty much nobody on it but cruise boats at this time of year! We sat by the windows and looked out at the city I love so much. My mama is holding an audio aid to her ear, learning about Berlin landmarks.Portrait of Pat Ketchum on the River Spree by Suzanne Forbes Oct 24 2018

I want to do portraits on the boat all the time now, it’s so restorative!

If you want your portrait drawn or painted, on a boat or elsewhere, you can learn more here.

Another lovely Extravagant Shambles!

Cadbury Parfait at Extravagant Shambles by Suzanne Forbes Oct 20 2018What a great job Cadbury Parfait does putting together her burlesque shows at 800a in Wedding.

That’s the lady herself above, doing a routine to “All by Myself” that showcased her comic timing as much as her great beauty. I really like the cosy theater-bar venue 800a and was able to fight my way to the front of the stage this time!

MC Sarah Tonin, below.Sera Tonin at Extravagant Shambles by Suzanne Forbes Oct 20 2018

The very beautiful Ruby de Cadence!Ruby de Cadence at Extravagant Shambles by Suzanne Forbes Oct 20 2018

Stella von Fersen, celebrating Halloween’s candy-related pleasures.Stella von Fersen at Extravagant Shambles by Suzanne Forbes Oct 20 2018

A new-to-me performer, marvelous La Loba Lucía.

Loved her warrior woman cowgirl routine and she makes costume parts herself, using cosplay materials like Worbla!Lalobalucia at Extravagant Shambles by Suzanne Forbes Oct 29 2018

Burlesquer and drag king Fifi Fantome!
At Extravagant Shambles by Suzanne Forbes Oct 20 2018

Agata D Mon at Extravagant Shambles by Suzanne Forbes Oct 20 2018And Agata D’Mon , above, spooky in mask and then eating some fire! Like you do.

Agata D Mon eating fire at Extravagant Shambles by Suzanne Forbes Oct 29 2018Thanks so much to my Patrons on Patreon, who make it possible for me to document Berlin’s queer intersectional burlesque scene and release the artwork free to all.

You can learn more about sharing and using my free documentary art here, and you can help for a little as a dollar/euro a month!