Tag Archives: queer art

Work in progress: Painting Shakrah, while being photographed by Mirella Frangella!

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

Shakrah and I had our second sitting for the new portrait the day before I was in a bus crash.

Work in Progress portrait of Shakrah Yves by Suzanne Forbes June 2018It was very lucky timing, as we had also scheduled with amazing portrait photographer Mirella Frangella.

Mirella is a career photographer whose personal work focuses on intimate character studies.

My friend Miss Natasha Enquist met her when Mirella’s photos of gauchos in South America were exhibited at The Ballery.

Mirella did a shoot with Miss Natasha, and was looking for other artists to photograph. Natasha suggested me!

Mirella came to the house and photographed me in fancy clothes the week before last.

She wanted to do another session, while I was actually working, so we set up a time with Shakrah, who I had recently started a second portrait of.

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

I love Mirella’s work and her way of using available light and her handheld flash to capture a close and realistic view of her subject.

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

We were so relaxed and comfortable with her presence as she worked.

During the sitting, at one point Shakrah was lounging elegantly on my boudoir chair while Mirella shot some close-ups of me.

I looked up and saw her and I yelled, “THAT is the look!” and grabbed my brush to make superfast big changes to the painting.

I changed her pose from standing to sitting in about ten minutes!

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

As you can see, I changed the painting quite a lot. I don’t often make such big changes between the first and second sittings, unless some new aspect of my model just captivates me. Or I accidentally painted my model standing on the wrong leg, like in this portrait of my beloved Friend-Muse-Patron Ramon!)

WIP Portrait of Shakrah Yves by Suzanne Forbes first and second sittings 2018Somehow I feel like you have more of a sense of Shakrah as a singer in the new version even though I haven’t painted the mike in yet, like she’s pausing by your table in the cabaret.

You can hear Shakrah singing vintage jazz here and see Mirella Frangella‘s beautiful portraits here.

We had such a lovely time working together with Mirella, it was amazing. Once my hand is healed enough for the cast to come off Shakrah and I will reconvene and finish the painting!

You can see our first sitting here and the previous portrait Shakrah and I did together here. Thanks so, so much to my beautiful Patrons on Patreon for providing the monthly sponsorship that allows me to tell women’s stories and collaborate with women artists!

Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin delivers a gangbuster show for Berlin Burlesque Week!

Betty Fvck at dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 8 2018 second lookAnd I brought the drawing magic.

Check out Betty Fvck from Finland! Seriously, I am doing some of the best drawings of my career to date at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin.

Trixie Tassels 2 at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 8 2018Trixie Tassels at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 8 2018 detailThe superb models, the wonderful sets and music, and the gorgeous setting of Ballhaus Berlin all come together to inspire me profoundly.

Trixie Tassels, above and below, is a former professional life model.

She combined classic life modeling skills with her bombshell looks and amazing costume. What a fabulous treat!Trixie Tassels at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 8 2018

This show had more than fantastic showgirls- it had live singing by some of the best cabaret singers I’ve ever heard.

Among the many performances was an unbelievable version of “Fever” by Rachel Von Hindman, absolutely stunning. She sang classics from Cabaret too, with house-on-fire power!

Rachel Von Hindman at Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 8 2018Maya Full Power steampunk queen at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 8 2018I found Maya Full Power exceptionally lovely.

I was crazy for both her costumes, a steampunk princess and a hardcore full-on peacock look.

Maya Full Power at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 8 2018

And Betty Fvck had three different looks!

Sadly, I was only able to draw two of them.

Betty Fvck at dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 8 2018But I knocked it out of the park for both of them!

Mad kudoes to LalaVox and co-producer Syren Joey for this wonderful, wonderful time.

And I am so profoundly grateful to my Patrons on Patreon. Thank you so very much for making this sweet life possible by funding my art.

Anyone can help, for as little as a dollar/euro per month!

 

Saturday night at the KitKatClub.

Dancers by the stripper pole at the KitKatClub by Suzanne Forbes April 29 2018Always lots of sexy people at the KitKatClub!

This gorgeous ponygirl was dancing in her own world, perfectly happy.

Alex Dermatis at KitKat by Suzanne Forbes April 6 2018Alex Dermatis of 6mmjute was doing his usual suspension art with a lovely, friendly model.

We had a quick chat before he covered her in oil and gold glitter like a statue of a goddess.

Coat check at the KitKatClub by Suzanne Forbes April 29 2018Coat check can be a wait by 4am.

I passed the time drawing some of the lovely coat check staff. Other drawings from KitKat here and here 🙂

Last Days of the Bassy Club.

Scotty the Blue Bunny at Bordello Bizarre 3 Bassy Club by Suzanne Forbes April 28 2018A Berlin institution is closing down, victim of gentrification.

The Bassy Club closes this weekend. This kind of thing happens everywhere, even in Berlin. Nothing is permanent in life except the cuteness of cats and the value of love. Still, it’s a heartbreaking loss of a ridiculously cool (though grubby) venue. It means events that have had a home there forever, like Chantal’s House of Shame, have to look elsewhere. (Chantal’s has moved to Suicide Circus as of May 3!)

Performer at Bordello Bizarre 3 Bassy Club by Suzanne Forbes April 28 2018And a newer event, Bordello Bizarre, was only on its third go last night, when I was invited to draw.

I had a great time at the previous Bordello Bizarre and I love the Limelight-in-1992-meets-Burning Man aesthetic of the party. This one was the last ever at Bassy, which closes its doors forever on Monday, April 30.

Dancer at Bordello Bizarre 3 Bassy Club by Suzanne Forbes April 28 2018Going out with a bang, it was emceed by Scotty the Blue Bunny!

You can see him at the top, wisely wearing one of the more sheer of his many blue bunny bodysuits. There were cool performances, a great band, and a gyrating mass of really gorgeous young people dressed in glitter and faux fur. Bassy is (was) a club that is always hot as hell, winter or summer, like hot yoga; the dance floor was packed body-to-body, and everyone seemed to be having a good time. It sucks that places like Bassy Club are displaced by what will likely be a greenjuice cafe for tech people. But change comes, whether we like it or not.

DJ Booth with Anto Christ at Bordello Bizarre 3 Bassy Club by Suzanne Forbes April 28 2018I was just glad to be there, documenting the moment, drawing like hell in the dark and smoke and sweat.

Multi-disciplinary art genius Anto Christ was wearing a new work of art, the second version of her “Anxiety Dress”. The little follicles are all entirely hand-crocheted, and she explained that when she feels anxious she can just finger them. I hung out by her and her husband in the front room for the last couple hours, catching a breeze from the street through the front door!

You can see my drawings from Chantal’s here and here, and the previous Bordello Bizarre here and here. More to come soon from last night!

DJane Alice D., mistress of the hard beats, at Carneball Bizarre.

DJane Alice D and dancers at KitKat by Suzanne Forbes April 17 2018I was invited by legendary Berlin DJane Alice D. to come to the Saturday night party at KitKatClub.

I arrived planning to make a bunch of new sexy drawings for my art show at Other Nature, a fundraiser for Berlin trans* support services.

Dancers at KitKat by Suzanne Forbes April 6 2018However I was absolutely sucked in by the driving beat in Alice’s room.

I wound up staying there, drawing the dancers and just being in the music, for hours!

Young dancers at KitKat by Suzanne Forbes April 17 2018I drew these beautiful young people who were dancing, and the lovely young lady kissed me on the cheek when she saw it.

Good thing I am used to being kissed by gorgeous, sweaty, half-naked or naked young people at clubs and sex parties, or I would have fainted from delight!

Alice is a Burner too, and you can catch her djaneing on the Playa this summer – check her site for deets! As always, I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to document Berlin life and art.

Full Moon Cabaret!

Viva Lamore at Full Moon Cabaret by Suzanne Forbes April 9 2018I finally made it to a Full Moon Cabaret!

My Hormone Replacement Therapy for menopause is working amazingly and I have more energy all the time. It’s simply grand! So when I was invited by the wonderful burlesque performer and producer Viva Lamore to draw at Berlin’s queer and wild woman-run burlesque show Full Moon Cabaret, I was happy to go.

Ms. Lamore hosted the event as a glamour unicorn, seen above. Although she did not perform any numbers, she demonstrated her burlesque powers in some sweet moves!

I had a lovely time.

Dancers at Full Moon Cabaret by Suzanne Forbes April 13 2018The music by DJ Don Rogall was terrific and in between acts there was much dancing, with some excellent dancers hitting the floor.

The venue, Diskothek Melancholie 2, is delightful and it reminded me of going to see my beloved Hubba Hubba Revue at the Uptown Oakland. In the drawing below, Violetta Poison, aka The Mexican Spitfire, teaches this blow-up man doll some manners.

Violetta is performing at Hubba Hubba San Francisco on May 11, follow her for news! Burlesque lovers can also enjoy about a zillion drawings I made at Hubba Hubba and other SF burlesque events from 2006 to 2013 here. Upcoming Full Moon Cabaret shows here!Violetta Poison at Full Moon Cabaret by Suzanne Forbes April 13 2018

Lolita Vavoom at Full Moon Cabaret by Suzanne Forbes April 6 2018Here’s co-producer Lolita Vavoom doing some beautiful work with fabric.

And Scotty the Blue Bunny performed although I didn’t have time to draw him! I did get a quick sketch of this rad performer, Rubyyy Jones!at Full Moon Cabaret Suzanne Forbes April 13 2018

As always, I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to document Berlin life and art!

An art salon in West Berlin.

Moscow artist Katya Elizarova at art salon March 21 2018 by Suzanne ForbesThis week I was invited to the delightful art salon of curators Denis Leo Hegic and Michelle Houston, in the historic queer art neighborhood of Schöneberg.

This is Moscow graffiti artist and fine artist Katya Q in front of her latest work. There is a deliberately ephemeral work at the heart of these salons, a huge antique chalkboard that is turned into an artwork and then erased a month later.

H Geil at art Salon March 21 2018 by Suzanne ForbesThere was also a performance by H. Geil and R.L. Fardoe.

H. Geil sang the wonderful Marlene Dietrich song Wenn die beste Freundin, a lesbian anthem of the ’30s. He was accompanied on ukulele by Robert Lee Fardoe. It is a song about two married ladies going shopping and sharing secrets, revealing the intimacy of their relationship, and a very snappy number!

Hostess Michelle Houston and guests at West Berlin art salon March 21 2018 by Suzanne ForbesHere you see hostess Michelle Houston chatting with guests.

What a lovely evening, talking art, writing and cooking with creative people!

Souls of Berlin.

M at Ludwig by Suzanne Forbes feb 28 2018M. posed for this drawing at Ludwig on Valentine’s Day, while telling us stories.

She was born on the same continent I was; nowadays she identifies as a “Citizen of the World”, and teaches German here in Berlin. She’s lived all over the planet; maybe all the experience is what keeps her so young. My friend Maurus, who owns Ludwig, calls the beautiful photos he takes of his guests “Souls of Ludwig“. I love the idea that we are all souls, meeting here in this world.

Sarah Omar and Sara at ESDIP Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Feb 28 2018I drew these folks at ESDIP Berlin during a meeting.

We were talking about the schedule for the Illustration Intensive course for the summer, when we get students from all over the world. Sara is from Spain, Omar is from Ecuador, and Sarah is from the UK. But we were all united by a discussion of how appallingly expensive, and yet wildly desirable, the new iPad Pro with the stylus is.

Berlin is a place for all souls to freely be themselves.

And I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to tell these stories.

Boys of Berlin

Dancers at Chantals House of Shame by Suzanne Forbes Feb 20 2018Finally finished this drawing of dancers and smoochers!

These lovely boys were crowding the dance floor at Chantal’s House of Shame. It took me a long time to finish this one because at Bassy Club I always sit on a stool in the raised loge area and it makes my perspective of the dance floor a slight, tricky downshot. Eventually I figured out the foreshortening and how to fill the space. More drawings from this night here!

Young bartender at KitKat by Suzanne Forbes Feb 2018Bartender at the KitKat club.

This friendly young bartender reminded me of my boyfriend Richie Barton in the 80s. This is from the night Miss Natasha Enquist and I went to KitKat; more drawings here!

5 minute Life drawing at ESDIP by Suzanne Forbes 2017Five minute gesture drawings from ESDIPBerlin Friday night Life Drawings!

With excellent model Luciano. You can see more of these here.

5 minute Life drawing at ESDIP by Suzanne Forbes 2017

My first collage!

collage by Suzanne Forbes photo by Suzanne Wegh Feb 14 2018We had a Women’s Art Lounge for Galentine’s Day.

collage detail Suzanne Forbes Feb 14 2018On February 14, a small group of female-identifying people gathered at Ludwig Berlin to make art out of a pile of magazines, glue and scissors.

With the help and support of Suzanne Wegh, I tried paper collage for the first time. What a startling process!

It was not at all like I thought it would be! It was confusing, and mysterious! I thought it would be challenging, but it was in fact quite a bit harder than it looks.

First of all, it never occurred to me that you could move the pieces of the picture around before you glued them down.

Until Suzanne explained that’s what she does! I was as startled as I was the first time someone showed me windows being minimized and moved around on a computer, in 1996. With my bricolage shadowbox projects, I glue each thing down as I go.

This idea of fluid composition broke my brain!

Then, it didn’t go the way I planned. I had some ideas, and a color scheme, and the first collage  I did was actually the complete opposite of them.

I saw this greyed out pastel flower paper and wound up choosing a palette of images and materials related to it, and then making this rococo chicken being ridden by a chicken princess.

I wanted to make a Baba Yaga! What the heck??

So I decided to just go with the process, even though for someone as afraid of artistic failure as me that was pretty scary. I’m learning things I never expected to about composition, pattern and color from my bricolage and mixed media work. I can see how those things could be put to work in making collage art, but I’m a long way from being able to do it.

photo by Suzanne Wegh from Galentines Collage night Feb 14 2018

photo by Suzanne Wegh from Galentines Collage night Feb 14 2018

I was really amazed at how the other women could make their collages look like something so easily. I mean, make them look like resolved images. The one below, which Suzanne made, is just beautiful. You can read about her experience of our collage adventure on her Patreon here.

Collage by Suzanne Wegh Feb 14 2018

Collage by Suzanne Wegh Feb 14 2018

The Medusa with butterflies at the top was actually the third I made, and the only one I felt sort of resolved into an actual picture. And that expresses my style, with its beetles and jewel colors! Why is Megan Markle’s head on fire? I have no idea! It just happened!collages by Suzanne Forbes Feb 14 2018

I don’t know if I’ll try collaging again right away; it was pretty disorienting for me. But I’m so glad and proud we created a safe space for me to try it.