Tag Archives: portraiture

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

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

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.

New portrait painting in progress: Sebastian in brights.

Portrait of Sebastian by Suzanne Forbes work in progress Oct 30 2018I am super pleased with how this portrait of a new friend is coming along.

Portrait of Sebastian by Suzanne Forbes work in progress Oct 30 2018 detailSebastian is a circus performer and producer who comes from the Oz steampunk scene and has some fabulous outfits.

He calls this one his “Snow White” colors and I love how the brights pop against the soft colors of the salon.

I have had more of a challenge finding people who are into dressing up for fun in Berlin than I did in the Bay Area. This isn’t a dress-up town, alas.

I love people who love clothes and fashion and performative identity and was happy to find another collaborator!

Above is after the second sitting. Here’s after the first.

Using a canvas toned gray the way Sargent did has speeded up my painting even more. You can see the edge of the gray along the right side below!

Portrait of Sebastian by Suzanne Forbes work in progress Oct 30 2018 first sitting

This portrait will be done in one more sitting I expect.

And then I need to get back to the painting of Shakrah, which was interrupted for a long spell by the bus accident and my hand injury!

 

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.

Hansel and Gretel at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin!

Evilyn Frantic as the Witch Dr Sketchys Berlin Oct 24 by Suzanne ForbesSecond in the Fairy Tale series, and full of witchy goodness.

I had a lovely time as always at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin. Wonderful costumes and posing by models Banbury Cross (Gretel), Hedoluxe (Hansel) and Evilyn Frantic as The Witch.Banbury Cross and Evilyn Frantic Dr Sketchys Berlin Oct 24 by Suzanne Forbes

Hedoluxe and Banbury Cross at Dr Sketchys Berlin Oct 24 by Suzanne ForbesAt one point the witch got a bit less clothing, in gorgeous vintage lingerie.Evilyn Frantic as the Witch en dishabille Dr Sketchys Berlin Oct 24 by Suzanne Forbes

Co-organizer LalaVox and The Narrator, Marijn van der Waa.
LalaVox and Marijn Van der Waa at Dr Sketchys Berlin Oct 24 by Suzanne Forbes

My mom was here visiting and got to see the beautiful and historic Dr. Sketchy’s venue, Ballhaus Berlin.

Thanks again to Le Pustra, LalaVox 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!

Here’s the previous Fairy Tale session, Baba Yaga, posts one and two, and

previous Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin:

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!

Das Flüff “Anxiety Dreams” release party at Monster Ronsons

Das Fluff Anxiety Dreams release party at Monster Ronsons Sept 28 2018 Suzanne ForbesI was feeling wrecked but I got myself out the door to see Das Flüff, because I knew I would be glad I did.

As always, frontwoman Dawn Lintern and her lineup of sexy Gen-X rockers burned the place down. Wendy, on bass, is a woman Dawn played with in their twenties, and they were back on stage together in the 21st Century, making post-punk electric filth!!

Dawn and Misty at Das Fluff Anxiety Dreams release party at Monster Ronsons Sept 28 2018 by Suzanne ForbesFormer bandmate Misty joined in for a bit to spell Joe Sparkle, recovering from some time in hospital. I drew him with Das Flüff the first time I saw them so it was fun to draw him again 🙂

Rah Hell films Dawn at Das Fluff Anxiety Dreams release party at Monster Ronsons Sept 28 2018 by Suzanne ForbesHere is Rah Hell being the videographer!

Seeing a woman my own age dominate the stage and growl and rage was good medicine this week. Das Flüff always sounds amazing and leaves it all out there. You can buy the new album “Anxiety Dreams” here, follow on Instas here and check out the upcoming London and Vietnam tours here. Thank you, Dawn, for being an inferno of sound and fury. I needed it.

More drawings from Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin Baba Yaga session!

Marin van der Waa Narrates at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes sept 23 2018Marijn was the narrator, reading a spooky fairy tale in a voice that filled the room like smoke.

I have drawn Marijn before at Dr. Sketchy’s and was pleased to be able to do so again. Having a narrator really added to the experience of the show! Marijn is an illustrator herself, and you can follow her on the Instas here or check out her website here.

Women artists at Dr Sketchys Berlin Sept 27 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI also drew some of the artists this time!

I wound up sitting right next to the organizer of Berlin Museum Crew, artist Samantha Stover, (her mane of 60s movie star hair was covering her face alas!) and several other young woman artists. That’s Lucille Lehr with the two-colored hair! Plus my dear friend, artist and art teacher Giulia Caruso, was just a few seats away! That’s her with the fuschia streak and tattoos 🙂

Models at Dr Sketchys Berlin Sept 21 2018 by Suzanne ForbesAnd the one sketch I made of the other model besides Valentina Demonia, Hurricane Irina !

Another amazing Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin, thanks to LalaVox and Le Pustra. So excited for the Hansel and Gretel session, October 21 at Ballhaus Berlin!

More drawings from this session here; previous Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin:

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!

Thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon, and welcome to the new Patrons who joined this month! You 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.