Tag Archives: Berlin music scene 2017

Band practise with Baron Anastis and the Erinyes in a secret space!

Rah Hell at the Catacombs Dec 6 2017 by Suzanne ForbesMy wonderful drummer muse Rah Hell is in a second band, besides Donut Heart, now.

The band is called Baron Anastis and the Erinyes and consists of Baron, Joe Dochtermann and Rah. They are a sexy-punk glam-punk triad! They rehearse at an undisclosed (and remarkable) location, in a space called (with reason) The Catacombs.

Baron Anastis and the Erinyes by Kim Hven of Kimera Photography

Baron Anastis and the Erinyes by Kim Hven of Kimera Photography

The band came and had a photo shoot in my studio last month, it was lovely to help them get all funky and be photographed! I was flinging props and wardrobe at them like a maniac, my secret fantasy career has always been set dresser or costume designer.

Here’s frontman Baron at The Catacombs, growling and crooning over his handsome polished wood bass.

Baron Anastis catacombs Dec5 2017 by Suzanne Forbes

Drawing Joe, below, is such fun. He is a classic rocker.

The guys were coming in on one of the songs a little Hendrix-y, as I drew these, and arguing about a pedal. I was loving being in a rehearsal space for the first time in a long time, really enjoying the way you can hear the music when you are an audience of one. It sounds different when there’s only a couple meatsuits for it to bounce through. The band already has a real sound, too.

Joe Dochtermann at the Catacombs by Suzanne Forbes Dec 5 2017I did four drawings of Rah behind the drum kit, in front of the space mural with its flaming asteroid.

I think you can see the progress in them. I did a pencil sketch of the drum kit for the first, to get a handle on how it takes up space in the space. You can see the ghosts of innumerable corrections for scale and perspective. With the second I opted to use just a stick of compressed charcoal on the smooth paper, for crude power and speed.

Rah Hell drumming in the catacombs Dec 5 2017 by Suzanne Forbes 1 and 2I am getting used to drawing the physicality of a drum kit, and the struggle to find an angle where you can actually see the drummer’s movements.

I’ve been drawing accordionist and guitarist musicians for decades, and made a great long-term study of a cellist with Unwoman over eight years in the Bay Area, but this is the first time I’ve worked on getting a drummer’s energy and movements down.

On the third drawing I sketched in a rough outline with charcoal, wiped it out and drew over it with my PITT “B” pen. And the fourth was pure charcoal again.

Rah Hell drumming in the catacombs by Suzanne Forbes Dec 5 2017 3 and 4

Next time I go to the secret space I’m gonna take my Windsor and Newton Series 7 Sable, some Sumi Ink and a big newsprint pad.

Gonna get SERIOUSLY loose and kick out the jams!

You can see dozens more musician drawings here on flickr. As always, I am so grateful to my beautiful Patrons on Patreon for providing the monthly sponsorship that allows me to document Queer, Indy, Punk as Fuck Berlin!

 

Women who rock: Das Fluff in Berlin!

Dawn and Das Fluff by Suzanne Forbes Sept 18 2017I finally got to see Das Fluff perform! Post-punk electric filth!!

My friend and muse, Donut Heart drummer Rah Hell, told me I would love them. And I did!!!

I went to frontwoman Dawn’s 51st birthday party gig at her favorite Berlin bar, Leydicke. You can’t explain Leydicke; it’s one of those Berlin places that just breathes magic. I had met Dawn at the Donut Heart video release party and liked her very much, and i was excited to hear her music. We are the same age and share much cultural and aesthetic furniture. I missed two of their Berlin gigs this summer due to my ever-present perimenopause health variances, and they are frequently playing in London and soon again touring Japan. It’s hard to get paying gigs for bands in Berlin, whereas in Tokyo serious rock is always in demand.

So I was determined to make this gig in my own part of Berlin, the West. I arrived at midnight, in time for the second set, and it was fantastic. Das Fluff has a sound that is both very modern and very responsive to the era Dawn and I became adults in, the 80s. And it is FILTHY and raging.

Das Fluff audience at Leydicke by Suzanne Forbes Sept 18 2017The crowd was all ages, as so often in Berlin, and international, and multi-gendered.

Berlin is a dress-down town, so most people were in leather jacket and black jeans mufti, except a couple gorgeous genderqueer belles in gothabilly style.

I was so happy I got to chat briefly with Dawn after the set. There is nothing like talking to a woman your own age, who has as much hard-won experience and personal power as you do. We are both here in Berlin, doing our art in the most truthful and authentic and finally distilled way, after long hiatuses from our work. We are beautiful and strong and staying the course.

There is a story to the woman in her 80s who was rocking out hard to Das Fluff, but I’m not going to tell it. She was there, she was dancing. She is part of the mystery of Leydicke, part of the mystery of Berlin. Sometimes both art and life are long.

Follow Dawn on twitter, Das Fluff on fb, and buy new Das Fluff album “Flower with Knife” on vinyl or DL here.

My big new portrait finished and hanging at Ludwig!

Portrait of Rah Hell by Suzanne Forbes Aug 2017I am so proud of this painting of Rah Hell I hate to be separated from it even to exhibit it!

painting of Rah Hell by Suzanne Forbes at Ludwig photo by Suzanne Wegh

Rah Hell by Suzanne Forbes at Ludwig. photo by Suzanne Wegh

Rah Hell ukelele from portrait by Suzanne Forbes Aug 2017However I am thrilled to have it shown at Ludwig, where Thorsten took such great care in hanging it and positioning the lighting.

Ludwig is a beautiful queer space in Neukölln where art is really respected. I was so grateful to see my work handled with care. It will be the first thing visitors to our show this Saturday see upon entering!

Portrait of Rah Hell by Suzanne Forbes Aug 2017 black and white versionIt is the first big personal project portrait I’ve done in Berlin.

I see it as a companion piece, à pendant, to this big portrait I did of friend/muse/Patron Khris Brown in 2005, when I had just returned to painting after a thirteen-year hiatus. This portrait, one of many I did of Khris, is probably my favorite thing I’ve done to date. And this picture of Rah is right up there.

Portraits by Suzanne Forbes 2005 and 2017I painted Rah on a pink ground.

That means before she arrived, I painted the primed canvas an allover bright pink. I used to do this occasionally in college, but had forgotten about it until I saw the work of Natalia Fabia. She is one of the wonderful modern figurative artists I’ve discovered on Instagram. She very often paints on a pink ground.

It adds so much warmth, plus serving as a light mid-tone. Not entirely unlike the many drawings I’ve done on Kraft paper in the last few months! Since I paint alla prima and leave a few areas of bare canvas on every painting I make, you can see the pink peeking through at the edges.

Modern technology makes it so easy to photograph your work, even if you are as bad a photographer as I am.Portrait of Rah Hell by Suzanne Forbes Aug 2017 detail

I’m amazed at how easy it to record and share my new pieces. You can see the details of how I paint easily, the scumbling and bits of impasto. I used quite a bit of gel medium in this work, to get translucent layers that would capture Rah’s luminous youth. Young people’s skin has so much subsurface specularity!

You can see it in progress here and here.

This painting didn’t exist a month ago, and now here it is, on the internet and hanging at Ludwig. My Patrons made it possible.Portrait of Rah Hell by Suzanne Forbes Aug 2017 detail

I’m incredibly proud of it and so grateful to Rah for posing for three long sittings. I am so very grateful to my Patrons who support me on Patreon and make it possible for me to do this work.

If you’re in Berlin, come see our show at Ludwig, opening August 19, 2017! Check out Rah performing in Donut Heart! Celebrate queer Berlin!! YAY!!!!

Painting a new large portrait at last!

rah wip cu July 2017 Suzanne ForbesI am so excited and happy to be working on this portrait of amazing Berlin rockstar Rah Hell.

rah wip cu July 2017 Suzanne ForbesI met Rah IRL for the first time when she came to my art show at Tremuschi Ink.

Then I drew her performing in Donut Heart for their video release party and at Uke Boogie. We were talking about a plan to make a painting but had not sorted the details.

rah wip July 2017 Suzanne ForbesWhen I went to see Donut Heart again at the Lesbian and Trans stage at the Berlin Lesbian and Gay Festival last weekend, Rah was wearing the perfect outfit.

You all know how I like style and how a great outfit truly inspires me! I was like, would you please wear this awesome outfit to be painted and she said yes! She is wearing a sequined fedora, you will be able to see it better as I work on the details. We’re working again tomorrow, so there will be an update with the progress of this piece soon 🙂

yay I love painting portraits I love my life I love my Patreon Patrons who make it all possible so much!!