Tag Archives: Suzanne Forbes art

Mixed media portraits of women.

Portrait of Anna May 3 2018 by Suzanne ForbesA fellow New Yorker came over to visit and was kind enough to pose for several hours so I could make a careful study of her beautiful face!

Portrait of Anna May 3 2018 by Suzanne Forbes detailI can hardly believe it was less than a year ago I was so scared of adding color to my drawings that I thought it was a big deal to buy one pink pastel.

Now I am routinely adding color. Not a lot, not every time, but I keep gently pushing myself to experiment.

The drawing below is of my Beloved Friend-Muse-Patron Monique Motil, who came here to spend her birthday with me and her sister Marie!

We were dining at Restaurant Lutter & Wegner sei 1811, an amazing Charlottenburg treasure.

I discovered this beautiful little gem of a traditional German resto when I was hired to live-draw at a birthday party there earlier this year. This time I had Spargel for the first time, with sauce hollandaise.

Although Spargel looks like zombie dildoes or White Walker penises, it is absolutely delicious. Monique and Marie by Suzanne Forbes West Berlin May 12 2018

Seeing my beloved Monique and spending time with her and her amazing sister was a glorious time.

yes this is miniature and yes I own it thanks to my mom who I shipped it to and who sent it to Monique so she could bring it to me.

She is a cherished friend, fantastic human, AND one of the most gifted artists I’ve ever known, as well as one of my longest-time collectors and Patrons.

She brought me fantastic art treasures as well as the miniature LEDS and miniature defibrillator for the Dollhouse Underground Laboratory.

I was able to go out and do things with M&M, in the daytime (!!!!!!), thanks to the wonder of the HRT treatment I’m taking for my menopause symptoms.

You don’t have to settle for a shit quality of life, uterus/ovaries-having women of a certain age. You can be stronger, clearer-headed, better rested, full of energy.

Aren’t you worth finding out if HRT is for you? It’s working for millions of menopausal women in the UK and Europe and for so many trans women every single day!

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!

A Visit to the Vault – Self-Portraits.

Self Portrait Rachel Ketchum Suzanne Forbes Fall 1989 smokingI was trained in art school to archive and document my work.

But although I am a excellent archivist and curator (and collector and hoarder), I am a terrible photographer. I took photography in the analog days, and learned how to focus a camera and develop film, both in the Illustration Program at Parsons and in the Fine Arts Program at MCAD.

I hated it. At MCAD, having slides of your paintings prepared was part of your grade, and I got my boyfriend at the time to do some of the work. I still have very nearly all the art I’ve ever made except what I’ve sold, but even with the advent of digital cameras, I haven’t photographed very much of it. Until today, no photographic record of these works existed whatsoever. If we had a fire, they would just be gone.

Self Portrait Rachel Ketchum Suzanne Forbes Fall 1989I did scan a lot of what would fit on the scanner back in 2009, and you can find it here.

I find handling a camera physically exhausting and stressful, but scanning is just tedious.

Self Portrait Rachel Ketchum Suzanne Forbes Fall 1989 smoking detail faceA couple years ago my bestie Daria gave me a proper digital camera.

She had upgraded, and brought me her Lumix from her flat in Moscow (she made sure to change all the settings to English from Russian!) I hadn’t had one for a while and it took me forever to find out what kind of cable it needed to connect to the computer (Daria couldn’t find hers) and then to order it on eBay.

But the computer I had until January was an ancient Chromebook, and it didn’t have the power to run photo editing programs or any storage.

So I had another excuse to put off documenting the archives of work I have here in our flat and in my artwork storage locker north of the city.

Even though the pressure to do it has been growing for years, as much of it is on newsprint paper or cardboard and it is not archival.

In January a friend and patron gave me a new-to-me computer, a proper ThinkPad with vast memory. (As my friends and Patrons know, I hate to buy technology and hardware and almost always get it as gifts from my tech-loving loved ones!) It’s time.

I hope my patrons will find the process interesting; I plan to do one or two archive posts a month.

Self Portrait Rachel Ketchum Suzanne Forbes Fall 1989 smoking detailThese two self-portraits were done in my earliest painting class, I believe, in Fall 1989. I was 22.

It was a class I took when I was less than a year sober, waiting to get into the full-time BFA program at MCAD, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. I had gone to St. Paul, Minnesota to follow up my initial 34-day drug treatment for alcoholism and heroin addiction with four months in the Hazelden halfway house, Fellowship House.

Getting out of the halfway house, I decided to stay in Minnesota, as all the New York junkies I knew who went back to New York relapsed.

Self Portrait Rachel Ketchum Suzanne Forbes Fall 1989 2 detail braidSo I needed to finish art school in the Midwest, and there was only one: MCAD, a school much more focused on Fine and conceptual art than Illustration.

I took the painting class because it was in St. Paul rather than Minneapolis and I didn’t know how to drive or have a car yet!

I was just barely learning to handle the brush and the physicality of the paint and had done almost no work in color.

They are both on cardboard and are large, 18″ x 24″ (close to A2). I love them, honestly, for how fearless and crude they are!

One of them has another painting on its back, of Kathleen, a superb life model who did a lot of work for MCAD.

Portrait of Kathleen Rachel Ketchum Suzanne Rachel Forbes Fall 1989I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon for supporting my work.

I hope you find this process of documenting my history and development as an artist interesting!

April 2018 Unterwegs

Unterwegs April 22 2018 by Suzanne Forbes So Many DogsThis punk girl with so many dogs was reconstructed from a glimpse I had on a train.

I tried several perspectives to get the scene to make sense without reference; it was really hard to figure out how to show all the dogs. I’m not sure even now if you can tell how many dogs there were. Which is fair, because I wasn’t really sure when I saw her either!

Unterwegs April 22 2018 by Suzanne Forbes LookingThis father and son were looking at something, but I couldn’t see what from where I was standing.

Unterwegs April 21 2018 by Suzanne Forbes Pre Gaming the NightI saw these two girls in the front seat of the upper deck of the M29 when I was on my way to some  fetish party.

They were pre-gaming the night by drinking vile-smelling booze out of a plastic soda bottle and listening to music and giggling. They were happy!

Previous unterwegs are here:

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

A Tom Petty Tribute in Berlin.

Friends performing at Take it Easy Baby Tom Petty Tribute April 20 2018 by Suzanne ForbesMy friends organized a tribute to Tom Petty and performed his songs by the river Spree!

Hosted by Liliana Velasquez and masterminded by Wasp Summer aka Samantha Wareing, Rah Hell, and Miss Natasha Enquist, it was an amazing night of music. You can see them left to right above, bracketed by Baron Anastis and Joe Sparkle.

Liliana Velasquez at Take It Easy Baby Tom Petty Tribute by Suzanne Forbes April 20 2018Here’s Liliana, sharing some filthy and hilarious anecdote about how Tom Petty was the soundtrack to her teens!

I know you can relate. The man wrote some sexy music! She also said something I loved, which was that she’s not an expat in Berlin, she’s an immigrant. As are we. She hosts the Freudian Slip Club, among many other things in this city!

David Hawkins at Take It Easy Baby Tom Petty Tribute by Suzanne Forbes April 20 2018Check out David Hawkins singing his heart out!

He’s so multi-talented sometimes I forget he’s a rad musician too.

Rah Hell at Take It Easy Baby Tom Petty Tribute by Suzanne Forbes April 20 2018And the drummess sang! Rah Hell sang AND drummed on several songs. Most impressive!

The venue was the fabulous Marie Antoinette, which is right on the river. I felt a little disoriented finding the place amidst the darkness of riverside warehouses, but then remembered the website said it’s behind the BVG building.

And the BVG building is conveniently lit up with neon in the distinctive BVG piss-yellow!

The windows of the club look out over the water, and late night cruise boats and ducks went by all evening. It’s a really beautiful place to see a show.

Miss Natasha Enquist by Suzanne Forbes April 2018Here you see me working out the elegant lines of Miss Natasha Enquist’s look.

This was the first time I’d heard her indoors with decent quality sound and a live band backing her, and I could really appreciate her phenomenal singing. Check her out, seriously.Performers at Take it Easy Baby Tom Petty Tribute by Suzanne Forbes March 2018

Some folks I didn’t know performed too!

Including the amazing Ok!Chorus, which I didn’t draw because it’s like 30 people! Stephan Paul Taylor is on the right above, and that’s a quick scrawl of Joe Sparkle in the middle. More info and links coming soon! 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.

Life Drawing at Lydia’s!

Collection of life drawings by Suzanne Forbes made on April 19 2018My friend Lydia and her housemate Flavia hosted the most glorious life drawing session.

They are both working professional artists and know a lot of amazing artists. The flat is gorgeous and was full of evening light.

Life drawing 2 by Suzanne Forbes April 19 2018Here in Berlin, where some of us have generous flats, artists can have models pose right in their homes and invite other artists to join in.

(I did it in October!) This was an absolutely fabulous session, and I am so grateful to Lydia and Flavia for organizing it and hiring such terrific models.

Life drawing 7 by Suzanne Forbes April 19 2018The modelling team, Eli and Louise, are absolutely great.

They are young and strong and beautiful and do wonderful dynamic poses as well as tender, intimate ones.

Life drawing 10 by Suzanne Forbes April 19 2018You can follow them on Instagram at Rosiichbinnackt, which means “Rosi I am naked!”.

Me and Daria and Marina were all in a row in the back, with the usual giggling and super-fast talking in Russian from those two hooligans.

Life drawing 8 by Suzanne Forbes April 19 2018Funny story: I have drawn naked lovers before, but never naked lovers holding still!

I’ve drawn beautiful naked young people together many times, but it has always been at sex parties or porn shoots, where they were actively engaged in having sex!

Life drawings by Suzanne Forbes April 19 2018So it was really cool to draw these two professional models, who posed for short poses and twenty minute sets, as well as traditional gestures.

Thanks a million to Lydia, Flavia, Eli and Louise! Visit my flickr for free downloads of these drawings and many, many, many more. Remember you’ll need to be logged in to a flickr account with adult safeties turned off to see some of them 🙂

And as always, I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to work and grow as an artist. You can help!Three life drawings by Suzanne Forbes made on April 19 2018

Dollhouse Underground Laboratory: Work in Progress Part 2

Action figure dollhouse laboratory surgery WIP by Suzanne Forbes April 2018Dang, I have been consumed with this long-delayed project!

SOOO much to do. So many things to figure out. So much foamcore to cut and glue. So many pipes to make out of styrene and straws!

Action figure dollhouse laboratory tube room WIP by Suzanne Forbes April 2018But I am really making serious progress.

Three of the rooms are almost complete, the operating theater (above), the Tube Room, and the Machine Shop.Action figure dollhouse laboratory tube room full view WIP by Suzanne Forbes April 2018

Action figure dollhouse laboratory cryo tube WIP by Suzanne Forbes April 2018What on earth is a Tube Room, you might ask.

Well, in the 90s I had a dear friend named Rob Simpson, who was an editor at DC. We were talking about superhero powers, as we did so often, and he said there was a simple solution to most things in comics.

Somebody loses their powers/needs superpowers? “Put ’em in a tube!” Somebody is dead and needs to be restored to life? “Put ’em in a tube!” Somebody has an evil entity possessing their psyche and needs to be held in stasis so they don’t destroy the world? “Put ’em in a tube!”

Tubes are also known as pods or stasis chambers. Basically they are a MacGuffin where anything can happen. The McFarlane Toys X-Files line from the Oughts provided most of these tubes.

They were intended for alien containment of some kind. I built out the structure around the one above using illustration board covered with chrome selbstklebefolie, which is like contact paper you can’t remove, styrene tubes and the various lids of things painted chrome. Action figure dollhouse laboratory machine shop WIP by Suzanne Forbes April 2018

The Machine Shop also contains the break room/coffee bar.

Action figure dollhouse laboratory making stanchions WIP by Suzanne Forbes April 2018I figured people would be constantly bothering the engineers in the shop for things they want fixed anyway, so they might as well get their coffee while they’re there. The two women robots are “Platinum” from the Metal Men and Angie Spica, “Engineer” from The Authority.

All the rooms are missing a lot of signage and posters (I’m working on figuring out how to get the best results from the self-adhesive inkjet-printable paper I’m using) plus safety tape.

On the right you can see I’m making stanchions for a safety rail using dowels, epoxy clay and blue pearl half-rounds I kept for eight years because I had a feeling I might need them for something.

Most importantly, all the labs need their ceiling panels and lights.

My beloved Friend-Muse-Patron Monique Motil, a fellow creator of Small Art, will bring the lights in May, and then I’ll figure out how to install them, woohoo!

Yes, there will be a “Safety Third” sign!

First Laboratory post is here. Main dollhouse post here.

Merlin’s Berlin at Monster Ronson’s!

Merlin Dietrich at Monster Ronsons by Suzanne Forbes April 14 2018Merlin’s Berlin is a queer mini-music-fest hosted by glamorous Merlin Dietrich.

Merlin Dietrich at Merlins Berlin Nr 6 by Suzanne Forbes April 16 2018I went to the sixth edition at the renovated Monster Ronson’s.

What a lovely time! I enjoyed all the acts tremendously. Merlin himself performed some of his amazing super-earworm gay love songs plus some cuts from his upcoming album. He is fabulously erudite and wildly sexy and his songs are mad clever. I was delighted to get a chance to draw him and Mr. Chips!

Wrench and Franks at Merlins Berlin Nr 6 by Suzanne Forbes April 16 2018Gentlemen troubadours Wrench and Franks performed pop songs from another century. They are so good!

You can see their cool animations here and their torch songs from times past here. They made a bananapants video for Merlin’s song “Flying Out to Berlin” with a creepy marionette which you can enjoy here.

Das Fluff at Merlins Berlin Nr 6 by Suzanne Forbes April 16 2018The headliner was Das Fluff, with a new lineup including dear friend Joe Sparkle and Angel Melodyhorn.

They were great! Frontwoman Dawn Lintern was in a truly spectacular outfit featuring a snakeskin corset and hoop skirt. She is a snarling, seductive, ferocious performer who leaves it all on the stage. If you want to catch the filthy, raging Das Fluff live show, look here – they are playing everywhere all the time, in London, Berlin and Japan.

Dawn Das Fluff at Merlins Berlin Nr 6 by Suzanne Forbes April 16 2018There was lots more at Merlin’s Berlin but I couldn’t draw it all, especially by the light of TWO disco balls. 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!

If you would like to see a very entertaining video and don’t mind having a song stuck in your head for the next two days, check out Merlin Dietrich’s video for Like/Unlike.

I have never in my life seen anything more charming than Berlin’s “Advanced Style” icon Günther Krabbenhöft dancing.

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!

March 2018 Unterwegs: including the artist at work!

Self portrait on S Bahn by Suzanne Forbes March 29 2018I drew myself in this month’s unterwegs!

It’s good practice for a portrait artist to do regular self-portraits, but I did so many in school I can’t get excited about it. I know other people find it entertaining though!

Noodles on the bus by Suzanne Forbes March 28 2018This elegant young lady was having some hot noodles on her way home.

I loved her sneakers with stars.

Bubble gum by Suzanne Forbes March 10 2018This girl was really OVER her older sister.

Previous unterwegs are here:

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