Tag Archives: berlin graffiti

Bug Stuff! And street art, and one of my very oldest mixed media pieces.

Beetle crown and Suzanne Forbes at Club Gretchen July 16 2022It’s been a while since there’s been any bug stuff!

I didn’t stop loving bugs, as you can see from these pictures!

Iridescent insect crown by Suzanne Forbes July 2022 detailI tried a new material for the first time on this metal crown: chrome/chameleon powder, like you see in fancy gel nail polish. I’ve been wanting to try it for ages, but I’m always skittish about new materials.

So I did a trial run on just a tiny part of the crown – the small brass bugs at the tips of each ray. I did my usual hot water and soap soak of the brass findings, then dried them in the sun and attached them to the metal filigree crown with uv resin.

Sprayed the whole thing black, then added AB Jet crystals, gradient pearls, and iridescent titanium finished cicadas.

Then I rubbed the green/purple chameleon powder on the black-painted brass bugs and varnished them with an acrylic varnish. The brushful of varnish picked up the powder easily, smearing it around, and the duochrome effect was limited. It was obvious that I really needed to use the recommended tacky UV resin base coat and UV resin top coat for the best effect.

So I did, in my next big project – The Purple Queer Wrath Tiger!

Suzanne Forbes photographed at Club Gretchen by fasermacka and gretl.wand July 16 2022I also had a wonderful Bug Art encounter at Club Gretchen, when I went to draw at the Queerberg Presents Festival.

When my taxi pulled up, I saw a crowd of femme and non-binary looking folks gathered around benches in front of the club. They were picnicking and working, with boxes of paste-up art. Some were my age, which I love to see! The group is a paste-up urban art crew* who renews the two large murals every two months. This month, insects were heavily featured! Imagine how happy they were when I walked up in my butterfly dress and scarf and beetle backpack!

@fasermacka and @gretl.wand took the pictures, and I gave them my card and they kindly sent copies soon after!

I also got to meet IRL the wonderful urban enhancer TextileStreetArt, who gave me a piece of tatting lace! How cool to meet this artist I’ve followed online for several years.

Tatting lace by Textile Street Art July 22 2022 with duochrome powderI took the tatting lace home and painted it with UV resin base, rubbed duochrome powder on it, and covered it with clear UV varnish.

It might seem rude to receive a gift of an exquisite handmade piece from someone and immediately transform it. But street art is a dialogue, an act of faith in leaving something to the elements and the street’s uses of things. It’s made to glitch/remix/collab.

Kaey with Tatting lace and paste up art by Textile Street Art at Queerberg Presents Whoriental Festival July 22 2022

Kaey with Tatting lace and paste up art by Textile Street Art at Queerberg Presents Whoriental Festival July 22 2022

I may wear this as a necklace or chest piece, as Kaey does above!

My relationship with lace and street art goes back to my own very beginnings as a graffiti artist.

I had lace doilies all over my West Village bedroom in 1981, and got interested in using them as stencils. Using spraypaint, the effect was remarkably like tie-dying, another thing we did a lot when I was a teenager.

Lace stencil tie dye dinosaur by Suzanne Forbes as Rachel Ketchum 1981The very oldest – I was 14!- of these projects survives, in our hallway in Berlin. I spraypainted the plastic T. Rex skeleton with Krylon Pastel Aqua, a color much loved by graffiti artists, then laid the lace over it and sprayed dark blue.

This was long before the days of plastic-friendly or acrylic spraypaints; it was in the days when I used solvent-based Krylon enamel exclusively of course (and you had to steal it, you couldn’t buy it.) Although I couldn’t afford to buy it now!

Krylon Pastel Aqua Spray PaintSo the unprimed dinosaur skeleton remained a little tacky for the first decade or two, until finally the paint and the plastic and the dust all kind of fused together.

I believe I tried the lace trick in the wild too, but of course there is no documentation. Still, the dino is here. Has always been in every place I’ve lived. I had a wonderful insight about my life today, one that speaks to why I am fairly at peace with a shortened lifespan and physical limits.

I thought, “I have been able to be exactly who I am my entire life, and that is a very rare privilege.”

*About the paste-up wall art at Club Gretchen:

On her post about the installation, Gretl Wand says,
“again 2 beautiful walls were created with a great crew thank you!”
otte von @omasgegenrechts.berlin
@stickermaidberlin 💋
and thanks for the support of

“Vampire Schmetterling!”- Antoine teaching kids origami at Hometown Berlin.

Antoine teaching origami at Hometown Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Aug 21 2018My friend Antoine was doing free origami workshops for little ones at an open-air street art club/installation near the Zoo.

Origami Werkstatt at Hometown Berlin Aug 12 2018I went to draw him teaching! His friend Fabienne and her little guy Hector were the first ones there.

When more kids arrived there was a funny American girl who kept busting out with these wild sayings.

The kids were all very calm, making origami butterflies, and she suddenly yelped,

“Vampire Schmetterling!”

Suzanne Forbes drawing at Origami Werkstatt at Hometown Berlin Aug 12 2018Schmetterling is German for butterfly; I was surprised she knew the word, as I had assumed her family were tourists. But perhaps she is bilingual.

Anyway, Vampire Schmetterling is my new band name.

Hometown Berlin is located on what I believe is an old bus depot, with street art, graffiti and murals, put on by the Euro-Wandelism crew.

Here’s the Instagram! Hometown serves as a club, dance floor, graffiti and mural gallery, artists’ creative space and staging area for artwork being made for Monumenta Leipzig, a huge street art installation being created in Leipzig.

Antoine teaching origami at Hometown Berlin Suzanne Forbes Aug 21 2018 detailI was sitting there in the shade drawing these beautiful people doing creative work, surrounded by artists quietly working away on projects, with excellent music from a live dj, and I thought, this is what perfect happiness feels like.  This is absolute wealth.
Suzanne Forbes live drawing at Origami Werkstatt at Hometown Berlin Aug 12 2018

You can see I’m holding the pen a little funny because of the bus accident, which I’m gradually healing from. It works fine though!

I was able to draw for an hour at Hometown, then go to the Peaches show in Mitte and draw for several hours there. My hand was swollen, but not painful.Dancer at Hometown Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Aug 12 2018

On this sunny Sunday there was an excellent DJ and I drew the first person to hit the dance floor.

It’s normal in Berlin for very casually dressed older people to be totally serious about hardcore techno dancing in the middle of the day.

I absolutely love the subway rocket in the middle of the floor. I wish we could have it in our house. In the background you can see graffiti art by kids, they just gave ’em spray cans and let them go nuts. Now I kinda also want to give our friends’ kids spray cans and let them turn our house into a total Basquiat mashup but I will hold off on that 🙂

Thank you, my Patreon Patrons, for making it possible for me to do this work and draw these beautiful people!! I make this live event art and share it for free because of my Patrons, and anyone can help for as little as a buck a month.