Category Archives: Artwork Archives

Older original artworks by Berlin-based artist Suzanne Forbes.

Courtroom art documenting a Minneapolis police misconduct trial, as Derek Chauvin’s trial begins.

Courtroom drawing by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum summer 1994 Lt Mike SauroMike Sauro.

Lt. Mike Sauro’s 1994 police misconduct civil trial was a big deal in Minneapolis. I was a courtroom artist for the CBS affiliate, WCCO-TV, in the ’90s, and I was there for much of it.

I strongly encourage those are interested in the Minneapolis police department and its history of misconduct and brutality trials to read this report by Human Rights Watch. It details events in Sauro’s tenure as well as other cases brought against the department. Sauro was involved in multiple cases; I only covered the police misconduct civil lawsuit filed by Craig Mische. The drawing of Sauro above is from that.

The jury found the city liable for “maintaining a custom of deliberate indifference to complaints about excessive force in the department.”

Courtroom drawing by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum June 17 1994Above, Craig Mische, seated with his attorney.

Mische was awarded 750K in compensatory and punitive damages for the battering he received. He looked a little like Robert Chambers, which bothered me as he was clearly the victim in this case. I think I captured his emotions well despite it.

I also recommend this recent article in Minnesota Reformer about how Minneapolis has historically protected its cops who are involved in police brutality cases.

I logged thousands of hours in the Hennepin County courthouse, listening to testimony, attorneys and expert witnesses.

Courtroom drawing by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum ca 1992 McKenzie trialThe juries, judges and courtroom officers in the Minneapolis courts were virtually all white, in the ’90s.

It was obviously a terrifying and grossly injust place to be for BIPOC and particularly Black people. Even the stenographers and us four courtroom artists for the tv stations were all white.

Courtroom drawing by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum ca 1992 1993 witness in red attorney with boxI tried to draw the way the atmosphere of white supremacy in the courtroom harmed and othered Black people.

Courtroom drawing by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum ca 1992I was always aware of the “Minnesota Whiteness” in my drawings; I didn’t know enough to do anything except try to represent it, then.

Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes courtroom drawing for WCCO TV 1990sI think this drawing of a teenager the state wanted to try as an adult is probably the truest thing I ever made in the courtroom.

I wasn’t supposed to be editorial, or political, but of course I was, where I could be. The reporter I was working with on a given day sometimes asked me to draw particular people, so my editorial powers were limited.

Win or lose, defense attorneys wanted to buy my drawings of them, as did expert witnesses and police forensic specialists and out-of-town Federal prosecutors and NFL players called to the stand in an anti-trust trial. But not Sauro.

I have never been good at concealing dislike, which is probably why Mike Sauro wasn’t interested in buying his drawing!

So I still have it, and was able to find it, at this moment when it is part of the throughline of police brutality in Minneapolis and a cop culture that doesn’t seem to have ever changed. But maybe it’s time, and maybe there can be a reckoning, finally.

I desperately hope there will be justice for George Floyd.

Unicorn Riot has very good on-the-ground Minneapolis police coverage and is where I will be following the events in the Twin Cities over the next weeks.

I’ll try and get some more of these courtroom drawings photographed soon. I didn’t have a camera in those days, and of course there were no camera phones. So until this moment, the only documentation of these drawings that existed was the footage the WCCO-TV cameraperson shot for the night’s news. And the station kept all that footage on BETAMAX tape.

I am incredibly grateful to my Patreon Patrons, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to take time to document my art archives.

Until today, no modern media record of these drawings existed – if we had a fire or flood they would just be gone forever.

 

Archiving 2006 drawings!

Lady in a Dark Garden corset Sept 23 2006 Folsom by Suzanne ForbesI found a bunch of 2006 drawings that had never been archived!

The 2006 album on my flickr has always been oddly scant, although I was documentary-drawing quite a bit already that year (though I was painting much more). For some reason, these drawings were scanned, but they were never posted. Now they are out in the world!

The top drawing is a lovely woman in toe shoes and a Dark Garden corset I drew at Folsom St. Fair that year; her partner bought it so I no longer have the original. I was working incredibly hard in September of 2006; you can see my drawings from the Folsom Eve party at Kink.com’s original headquarters here.

Eva at Folsom 9 24 2006 9x12 by Suzanne ForbesThis is the first picture I ever made of my Never-Muse!

I met Little Miss Never for the first time when she stopped at my booth at Folsom 2006. She was wearing a white rose in her snakes of black hair and one of her grandmother’s negligees, and I instantly knew that I must know her and paint her, at depth and breadth, for all time. This sketch was made with black acrylic paint, from memory, shortly after meeting her, then touched up with pen later.

In 2006 my second ex-husband was living in Los Angeles, working at a studio down there, and I went down to LA at least once a month.

I hated LA with a passion, and our marriage was on the rocks. It was horrible going down there. The upside of it was going to the wonderful LA goth clubs. I loved Bar Sinister at Boardner’s, where in September of 2006 the premiere party for Ernest Greene’s Story of O film was held.

Ernest Greene and Nina Hartley at O premiere Sept 14 2006 by Suzanne ForbesErnest Greene and Nina Hartley, legendary LA BDSM power couple, at the “O – Power of Submission” premiere party!

What a great event this was, and what a good time! I had a press pass and all the access I could dream of. I was of course dressed up in a pvc corset and lots of fishnet, black lace and fancy hair feathers. The crowd was pure Hollywood adult film royalty, in their finest latex and leather!

Nina Hartley at Story of O premiere Hollywood Sept 19 2006 by Suzanne Forbes

What a thrill! Holy cow it was an exciting night.

Nina Hartley, the iconic adult film director, performer, sex educator, feminist, and author, was a star of the movie as well, and kindly posed for me.

Nina Hartley at O Film premiere by Suzanne ForbesI even painted a quick portrait of Ms. Hartley.

I stood there at my portable easel painting while latex-clad porn stars squeezed past me in the crowded courtyard of the club and the band played. Ms. Hartley’s eye had been injured, so she was wearing an eye patch; I really liked the rakish effect. I donated this painting to a benefit, I think for SF Citadel, and it was bought by one of my clients, so I no longer have it, sadly.

After Ms. Hartley I painted a great portrait of the film’s star, Carmen Luvana, but I do not have a picture of it! I loaned it to a show in San Francisco, and there was some confusion and I was never able to collect it. It’s a shame because it was very cute, like a ’70’s Playboy cover, all blonde and tan.

Evan Stone O premiere 9 14 06 by Suzanne ForbesI also did a quick painted sketch of Evan Stone, another of the film’s stars.

I was, um, familiar with him from his work 😉 He was completely kind and surfer-dude friendly as he posed and I feel like I got a good likeness.

Ava Rose at O Premiere 9 14 06 by Suzanne ForbesAva Rose, a very hot young starlet, posed for a drawing.

She was utterly vamping me as I drew her, and she was so beautiful.

Performers at O premiere Sept 14 2006 by Suzanne ForbesHere are some young ladies posing for photos!

This was the era of Lip Service fetish wear and everyone was wearing pleated vinyl micro-minis, which I love! You can see another drawing of the guests at the event here. I’m so glad I was there documenting these sexy moments.

Audience at DNA Halloween 2006 by Suzanne ForbesI also made a lot of drawings at DNA Lounge on Halloween in 2006.

Most of them were published already, but I found the ones above and below in the “lost” file.

Fluffy parts DNA Halloween 2006 by Suzanne ForbesAnd I found several more orphaned drawings, including one I can’t share here from the Caligula party at SF Citadel in December of 2006!

Sleeping girl in corset Nov 4 2006 Revised 9x12 by Suzanne ForbesI went to the Vampire Ball, in Alameda, that year.

I drew this beautiful girl sleeping in her corset in the powder room. I sold the original years ago, to a fellow artist who recognized what a goddam banger of a figure drawing this is!

Guests at Kink dot com's old HQ Nov 4 2006 by Suzanne Forbes

Here are some young ladies at Kink.com’s original HQ (known as The Porn Palace)!

This drawing is from November 4, and I remember we were all up on the roof at the hot tub at sunset, and I really couldn’t believe the life I was leading. My marriage was ending, and that was so very painful and terrifying.

But I was surrounded by amazing people, making art about sexuality, and I knew I would survive.

None of these art scans had ever been published; until now, no record of them existed outside our home – if we had a fire or flood they would just be gone forever.

I am so grateful to my Patreon Patrons, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to take time to document my art archives.