Tag Archives: traditional portraiture for alternative lifestyles

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!

House party, dance party.

Dance party by Suzanne Forbes March 10 2018Just some drawings of friends on an evening in West Berlin.

I actually started another drawing on this particular evening but got derailed by talking to folks and being social, which happens at friends’ houses more than out at events.

House party by Suzanne Forbes March 10 2018Drawing live is the perfect substitute for alcohol for an introvert like me.

Usually I start drawing at a party to have something to do while other people are drinking, or to make a personal record of a great moment with dear folks. At the home of a friend where I feel safe and comfortable, I don’t *need* to do it, so sometimes the drawing trails off as I get drawn into conversation! Glad I managed to finish these two anyway 🙂

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

Drawing women doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Berlin!

Giulia at Spitfire 2 by Suzanne Forbes March 27 2018What could be cooler?

My friend Giulia invited me to come draw her training at BJJ class. She is an artist and art teacher who also loves combat sports! Would you believe the gym is called Spitfire and they offer a discount to women who train there!!! Cause they want more women at the gym!!!!

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Spitfire 2 Suzanne Forbes March 27 2018Giulia wears a gi from Fenom, who make BJJ wear only for women.

I learned so much today! I don’t think I’d ever drawn any martial art before. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is very grapple-y, and moves from slow to incredibly fast without warning.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Spitfire Gym by Suzanne Forbes March 27 2018The instructor made me welcome; one of the most charming parts of the experience was his twin girls, toddlers, roaming around the mat during the class.

If there are kids hanging around me I usually let them help with the drawing, and you can see several of these drawings are collaborations.

I kept it loose and didn’t try too hard to get details.

I wanted to focus on getting the movements as little wrong as possible! Just like drawing the tango, it’s inevitable that I will get movements and gestures matched up wrong.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Spitfire Gym by Suzanne Forbes March 27 2018I was right in the middle of the scene; it was just like being at a sex party or dungeon.

Just like at a sex party, I positioned myself out of the way but sometimes the action moved over to me and sweaty people bumped into me. At least nobody used me to brace themselves at Spitfire! And just like at a dungeon or play party, there were very clear boundaries, consent was asked and given, and I had to stay alert for flying bodily fluids.

Grapplers at Spitfire by Suzanne Forbes March 27 2018I didn’t realize how much force and power was in the movements until someone’s arm slammed into me.

Right after I drew this one of the grapplers got a bloody nose and had to walk off the mat cupping a handful of blood. Just like at a dungeon, action immediately came to a halt while the blood on the mat was cleaned up and the area disinfected. Safe combat!!

It was a great adventure, and I’m so grateful to Giulia for inviting me (here’s her Patreon!), Spitfire Gym for the hospitality, and my Patreon Patrons who make my documentary art possible. 

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!

An evening at Barbiche, a woman-owned art space!

Alfred Ladylike at Barbiche March 18 2018 by Suzanne ForbesDo you know what Barbiche means? It means the little beard of the goat!

Isn’t that the best damn thing ever?? Barbiche is a new bar and art space created by artist Lena Braun, legendary Berlin queer gallerist, salon hostess and culture curator. I went there to see my friend Alfred Ladylike perform. Here she is rocking out onstage!

And below is woman rocker Kitty Solaris.

Performer at Barbiche March 16 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI took the bus in the snow to get there, which sounds onerous but was actually delightful.

I was bundled up and cozy, the bus comes every five minutes and is right on the corner, and the snow flickering down in the night was like glitter. And Barbiche is in the West! It’s a gorgeous space with lots of cool art on display. In Schöneberg, where the art scene is getting stronger and stronger. As per Lena: “In the west of Berlin,” she says, “something is happening again.”

Alfred’s consort Chris was petting their dog Georgie Boy here. One of my Patreon Patrons also makes an appearance in this drawing, as does the hostess herself, Ms. Lena Braun!

At Barbiche March 18 2018 by Suzanne ForbesIt’s totally normal to bring your dog to your gig in Berlin.

And Georgie is a good boy! You can see I’m drinking Fritz-Kola, the ubiquitous independent soda of Berlin, in my fave flavor, rhubarb. Pink vegetable soda, sweet doggos, original art, woman-owned art business, friends rocking out. It’s a damn good life.

Wandelism in Wilmersdorf!

 

limo destruction at Wandelism March 16 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI finally got out to visit the Berlin graffiti/street art community!

I’ve been wanting to start documenting this huge and crucial part of Berlin’s art scene since we got here. But it just hadn’t worked out until now.

This week I heard about an art installation, an Urban Art Temple, called Wandelism.

Denis and Marina at Wandelism March 16 2018 by Suzanne Forbes

And it was only three subway stops away! So I contacted the organizer and was invite to come by and make drawings of the artists at work. Work was wrapping up but I met some lovely folks and got to sketch some of the action. Everyone was super friendly and chill. I met Marina Zumi, one of the artists, who had the coolest Jessica Jones vibe going on, and Denis Leo Hegic, who was documenting the event with a camera guy.

Artist on scaffold at Wandelism by Suzanne Forbes March 16 2018I was very happy to begin connecting with this community, which is both so familiar and so different.

There is a great range of works in the Wandelism Temple. There are murals, pieces, large scale flaming sculptures made with played cans, scale models of trains (I want one for my action figure dollhouse so badly!) and entire rooms painted up by individual artists. You can reserve a time for a guided tour here, or come to the vernissage on Saturday March 17 at 3pm. You can see tantalizing pics on Instagram here!

Art team at Wandelism March 16 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI was shocked to see everyone wearing masks, like AT-8 and Damian Yves Rohde here.

In my day the idea of graffiti artists wearing masks just hadn’t occurred to anybody, and if it had, none of us would have had money for them. Although of course they could have been racked from Pearl Paint like cans, I guess!

Young artist at Wandelism March 15 2018 by Suzanne ForbesWe just called what you spit up after a long night “technicolor phlegm.”

Much better to protect your lungs and health, so you can have a long working life. My people died young, mostly, and there is grief in revisiting the graffiti world for me, but also hope and joy. Like the sight of this young woman artist, Alice Gruen, drawing in her book. I’m looking forward to the opening on Saturday!!

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!

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.

Works in Process – drawing pastel clothing with pastels, yikes!

WIP VIva Lamour by Suzanne Forbes detail Feb 2018I’m working on these three pastel drawings from Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin veeeerrry slowly.

This first one is of the beautiful Viva Lamore, who wore a marvelous outfit with a cage hoop. Because the theme for this Dr. Sketchy’s was Broken Baroque, everyone was wearing ropes of pearls and masses of ruffles. Plus fluffy white cotton batting wigs.

WIP VIva Lamour by Suzanne Forbes Feb 2018I’m struggling to control the “dust sticks” as I call them and render some kind of believable volume with such pale colors.

I find it so hard to get any detail with pastels. Especially drawing things like pearls and lace. As you can see, for important areas like the models’ faces, I just cheat and use ink. I’m using both my beloved PITT brush pens and 50% grey scale markers here to add in darker values. For the pearls, I started using a white color pencil.

WIP Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Feb 2018As much as I’ve hated and ignored color pencils all my life, I can see how on paper this good, they can be a nice tool.

Each of these drawings is on a different shade of Mi Teintes paper, as I randomly chose from my pad of sepia, umber, and buff paper in order to provide “new experiences”. Mighta gone a little overboard on adding complicating factors there, as the effect of each color of pastel stick is startlingly different on light vs dark papers.

WIP Evilyn Frantic by Suzanne Forbes Feb 2018So I am working on them just a little bit at a time, trying not to set myself the overwhelming goal of “finishing” or “getting them right”.

You can see the drawings I’ve finished so far from this Dr. Sketchy’s here.

Thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon whose financial support makes it possible for me to explore new materials like this. You are the best.

Drawings of friends

Miss Natasha Enquist with umbrella by Suzanne Forbes Feb 20 2018I’m finishing up a lot of orphaned drawings.

This one, of Miss Natasha Enquist at our Ladies Halloween Art Salon, is perhaps the best likeness I’ve made of her. More from this series here and here!

LaLaVox by Suzanne Forbes Feb 18 2018Here’s LaLaVox, co-producer of Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin, bringing some serious bustle action.

More from this event, the Victorian Spiritualist Edition, here and here.

Rah Hell dancing on New Years Eve 2017 by Suzanne ForbesRah Hell dancing on New Year’s Eve.

More from the Sunday Slips NYE Warhol/Basquiat Extravagenza here! And a bonus drawing also made at Lagari, from the June Uke Boogie.

At Uke Boogie June 8 2017 by Suzanne Forbes