Tag Archives: “Glücklich in Berlin”

November bricolage roundup- shadowboxes, passementerie and mantelpieces!

mantis bricolage shadowbox by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2017More bug stuff, because it’s not like our house can have too much creepy bug decor.

I made this mantis shadowbox using some 1970s upholstery fabric I got in Berkeley in the late 90s, some vintage velvet flowers and little bees saved from the same era, and a machine-embroidered mantis from this amazing artist in Kiev, who is doing totally innovative textile art with the digital embroidery tech now available.

Egg shadowbox by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2017I’d always wanted an egg glossary display box.

No natural history, curiosity cabinet-themed library is complete without one! I used the 70s fabric again; a glue gun is my method of choice for stretching even wrinkled fabric smoothly across the particleboard backing of a shadowbox. Some of the little speckled eggs and the grapevine nest came from topiary ball displays I made for my first wedding, in 1993 or 4.
Glue gun party by Suzanne Forbes Nov 2017

I have nights where I crash around the flat asking, “What would Tony Duquette Do?”

And the answer is always, “Glue gun, Passementarie, MORE.” I added a couple trims to this silk velvet patchwork upholstered bench. After the intensity of the first three quarters of this year, with teaching and drawing and painting and my hub becoming a cyborg and being sick quite a bit, I really need this November make-cation.

jewelry holder by Suzanne ForbesI made a display holder for some of the earrings I’ve sculpted, made and modified.

I just took the glass out of a deep frame and gluegunned fabric to the backing. I used a beautiful textured knitting yarn left over from some lovely crochet blossoms my mom made me; the texture keeps the earrings from sliding around.

And most significantly of all, I got one of my first adult textile art pieces back up on display.

mantel scarf by suzanne forbes 2000I made this mantel scarf of crushed changeant velvet and celestial Czech glass buttons and bead embroidered wire and pleated ombre ribbon cockades in 1999.

I was living with my second husband in a gorgeous Craftsman fourplex in North Berkeley. It was the first place I ever painted like I truly wanted my home to be, in insane shades of aniline violet, quinacridone red, and chartreuse. It was full of built-ins I decoupaged with gilt paper Dresden trim, Victorian frogs and lizards, and accented in burnt orange.

We gave such parties there. It was such a beautiful home. I loved my second husband, or who I thought he was, so much. 

This piece was in storage for a long time, and it hurt me every time I came across it in my increasingly desperate and disenfranchised moves.

When the Great Recession finally ebbed a bit and I moved in with the man who became my third husband, I thought about getting an electric fireplace, where it could be displayed. There just wasn’t enough room in the exquisite jewelbox Craftsman apartment in Oakland that I designed to showcase his Black Irish beauty.

Here in our home in Berlin, we have plenty of room.
mantel scarf and fearless pink Gay Santa by Suzanne Forbes 2000 2016I used my glue gun to apply an emerald botanical brocade to the top of the particleboard shelf I had attached to the top of the electric fireplace I got on eBay.

Again, using a gluegun and moving fast, smoothing the glue flat with my fingers as I go, allowed me to get a nice flat surface bonded to the mantel. Then I just gluegunned the mantel scarf onto the brocade and added a few tacks to stabilize. I’ll add some finishing gimp braid and brass upholstery tacks soon as I get around to making it to Bauhaus.

Sorry I couldn’t get a better picture in our dark haus but we like it this way :))

mantel scarf and Fearless Pink Gay Santa in salon by Suzanne Forbes 2000 2016

More interior decorating and bricolage posts:

Our home, Halloween decor, decoupage and bug shadow boxes, passementerie and staining furniture, lamps and frames, more frames, No-Kill Butterfly Gallery, bas-relief rococo insect mirror, and Fearless Pink Gay Santa, as seen on the mantelpiece.

Another fabulous Uke Boogie!

Dara Star at Uke Boogie by Suzanne Forbes Nov 9 2017This month’s theme at Uke Boogie Berlin was X for Xtra-Terrestrial.

No way was I gonna miss that! Check out alien co-host Dara Star getting some psychic energy from her glowing eyeball orb.

Toby playing theremin Uke Boogie Nov 9 2017 by Suzanne ForbesToby performed with his torso-mounted theremin, described by Crayon Jones as the world’s first Theremin Cock!

Rah Hell at Uke Boogie Nov 9 2017 by Suzanne ForbesHost Rah Hell kept things running smoothly.

Follow her on the Instas and twitter for drum, ukelele and CAT FUN.

Women performing at Uke Boogie Nov 9 2017 by Suzanne ForbesNice to see these lovely women singing German folk music again!

Dancers uke boogie nov 9 2017 by Suzanne ForbesSome young folks were dancing.

Alfred Ladylike at Uke Boogie Nov 9 2017 by Suzanne ForbesAlfred Ladylike was in fine form, rocking out on several songs.

Davepool at Uke Boogie Nov 9 2017 by Suzanne ForbesAt the end of the night, surprise guest Deadpool AKA Davepool!

You may remember David Hawkins performing at the Donut Heart video release party.

As always, a wonderful, free evening in Berlin at Uke Boogie. You can see the previous Uke Boogie drawings here. Thank you so much Rah and everybody!

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Beau Belle Brothers!

The Beau Belle Brothers at Vaudeville Variety Revue by Suzanne Forbes Nov 4 2017I got to meet and draw the Beau Belle Brothers in October at Vaudeville Variety Revue!

What a thrill! They are the most gorgeous, creative boylesque pin-up models. I have been a fan of these multitalented muses since I discovered them through the work of master gay erotic artist Ali Franco. He has made a whole series of amazing paintings of them, collected in this beautiful calendar which I got myself earlier this year.

Beau Belle Brothers usherettes Wintergarten Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Nov 4 2017The Beau Belle Brothers started three years ago as an art project for a photo shoot. Now they are muses to artists all over the world!

Deathbirds makes incredible costumes and loves comics, like me! Mybeautyspace is the genius hair and makeup artist behind their superb vintage aesthetic, and also loves comics.

The Beau Belle Brothers by Suzanne Forbes Nov 5 2017I had never drawn twins before, and it is a perfect challenge for a portraitist!

The Brothers are the kind of inspiration that make artists gleeful with happiness. And they are super nice!! It took me forever to finish these drawings, because I was wanted them to be perfect and to do justice to their beauty. I’m still not sure if the colored versions are better than the black and white.Beau Belle Brothers by Suzanne Forbes Oct 15 2017 wip

So I am just very much hoping to get a chance to draw them again sometime soon, perhaps at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin 🙂Beau Belle Brothers and Suzanne Forbes at Wintergarten Berlin Oct 2017

More drawings from Vaudeville Variety Revue here, here and here; thank you Sheila Wolf for having me as your guest!

BTW, If you like hot, tender, superbly rendered man-on-man love, check out Ali Franco’s Patreon!

First Women’s Halloween Art Salon!

women sketching Oct 30 2017 photo by Suzanne Wegh

I hosted an art salon for female-identifying people in our flat the night before Halloween.

It was wonderful! It was incredibly special to have a group of women artists gathered in our home, feasting on veggie and vegan treats before settling into a life drawing session with a professional artist’s model. It was like Eat and Draw instead of Drink and Draw!

Miss Natasha Enquist with crow friend by Suzanne Forbes Nov 5 2017I made vegan pumpkin pie, which is weirdly way better and easier than the dairy version. Way pumpkinier too!

Many people had not previously had pumpkin pie, which isn’t a thing in Germany or really most of Europe, and are now very seriously into it. Suzanne Wegh helped organize and brought hardcore salty Dutch licorice, which I thought I would not be into but really enjoyed.

Thanks to my Patrons on Patreon and their financial support, I was able to hire my favorite artist’s model, electro-accordion chanteuse Miss Natasha Enquist.

I met her teaching at ESDIP Berlin, and we became friends and now I hire her when I need a terrific life modeldraw at all her superb music performances and also we go to sex clubs and leather daddy cigar lounges!

Miss Natasha Enquist with skull by Suzanne Forbes Oct 30 2017Although I do love two-minute gesture poses, for the salon we went right into short poses, ten to fifteen minutes, then twenty minutes. Everyone wanted time to capture MNE’s whole lewk!

We used lots of props! Our house is so full of weird stuff and dead stuff and creepy stuff, we were spoilt for choice.

Miss Natasha Enquist And Giulia Caruso by Yvonne Prott Oct 30 2017

Miss Natasha Enquist And Giulia Caruso photographed by Yvonne Prott, Oct 30 2017

Almost everyone came prepared to draw or paint, except for Yvonne Prott of Yves_Art, who takes amazing photos and shot a collection of beautiful spooky images.

Yvonne Prott self portrait Oct 30 2017

Yvonne Prott self portrait, Oct 30 2017

Clockwise below, Giulia Caruso, Ksenia Shaw, a redheaded visitor from Australia, Suzanne Wegh, Daria Rhein and Marina Belikova. Sorry about my terrible photography “skills”!

womens art salon oct 30 2017 photo by Suzanne Forbes

 

Marina and Daria at womens art salon oct 30 2017

Everyone made such beautiful drawings. It was incredible, such a gleeful creative energy in our safe space!

I loved all the different styles. Lydia is a crackerjack draughtsman with terrific style. Her character selfie drawings on her Insta give me life.

Miss Natasha Enquist drawn by Lydia photo by Yvonne Prott Oct 30 2017

Miss Natasha Enquist drawn by Lydia, photo by Yvonne Prott, Oct 30 2017

Miss Natasha Enquist with Crow by Natascha Artworx Oct 30 2017

Miss Natasha Enquist with Crow by Natascha Artworx Oct 30 2017

Here are two of the many drawings made by Natascha Artworx. 

She came down from Hamburg for the salon despite the storm, and she has a lovely post about it on her Patreon!

She and Suzanne Wegh and I previously collaborated, and worked with Miss Natasha, for our A(RT)ffair at Ludwig this summer.

It was pretty funny having only two names to go around that time; we’ve gotten better at it now!

 

Miss Natasha Enquist by Natasha Artworx Womens Art Salon Oct 30 2017

Miss Natasha Enquist by Natasha Artworx at the first Womens Art Salon, Oct 30 2017

 

Miss Natasha Enquist with Natascha Artworx and Kelsey Bass Oct 30 2017, photo by Suzanne Wegh

I adore this digital version Kelsey Bass made of one of her drawings!

Miss Natasha Enquist by Kelsey Bass Oct 30 2017

Miss Natasha Enquist by Kelsey Bass Oct 30 2017

Each artist brought their unique style and approach to the poses.

Daria, who has been doing a lot of digital work lately when she isn’t tattooing, used watercolors. Keep an eye on her art Instagram and you might see ’em!

Crucial event support and photography provided by Suzanne Wegh; check out her Patreon!

Top photo by Suzanne Wegh, left to right: Daria Rhein, Marina BelikovaNatascha Artworx and Kelsey Bass.

Artwork made at the First Womans Art Salon Oct 30 2017 photo by Suzanne Wegh

Artwork made at the First West Berlin Womens Art Salon, Oct 30 2017, photo by Suzanne Wegh

 

Miss Mosh performing at Vaudeville Variety Revue, Wintergarten Berlin.

Miss Mosh performing at Vaudeville Variete at Wintergarten Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Oct 27 2017I got to draw Mosh!!!!!

As a longtime fan of beautiful alternative model and burlesque performer Miss Mosh, I had always wanted to draw her. Sheila Wolf, the producer of Berlin’s fabulous Vaudeville Variety Revue, was kind enough to have me as her guest again.

This time I got to come five hours early and draw the dress rehearsal! It was wonderful to be in the beautiful Wintergarten Berlin when it was mostly empty; I got to take a really good look at all the gorgeous details. And I was able to make preliminary sketches of the performers and get a sense of their movements.

Here is Mosh using a screwdriver to adjust the struts of her enormous feather fans.

Miss Mosh preshow at Vaudeville Variety Wintergarten Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Oct 27 2017Like most beautiful famous people I have met in person, Mosh is tiny!

She is like a little absinthe fairy you can imagine perching on a wrought iron balustrade. And yet also, like most performers I’ve met, plainly and obviously strong as hell. She appeared onstage in an oyster silk playsuit and ballet flats, with her hair in rollers, and lit up the stage. I always want to draw dress rehearsal now, it is the best! You can see my drawings from the previous Vaudeville Variety Revue here! More from this one coming soon.

Thank you Sheila Wolf for your hospitality, Miss Mosh for your kindness, and my beautiful Patrons on Patreon for providing the financial support that makes it possible for me to make this work!

Finishing my big new portrait of Sadie Lune and Jo Pollux!

Portrait of Sadie Lune and Jo Pollux before bifurcation by Suzanne Forbes Oct 17 2017

Portrait of Sadie Lune and Jo Pollux before bifurcation by Suzanne Forbes, Oct 17 2017

I finished my biggest painting in like twelve years!

At 30″ by 80″ (76cm by 204cm), these conjoined canvases form a fine large surface. I could have gone the traditional route, setting my sitters deep within the pictorial space with plenty of air around them. But I wanted something more demanding of my abilities and more interrogative of the viewer, a compressed space with an exploded perspective that tips the viewer into the painting’s world.

Portrait Sadie Lune cu by Suzanne Forbes Oct 17 2017Into the dangerous, powerful air breathed by artists Sadie Lune and Jo Pollux.

Portrait of Sadie Lune by Suzanne Forbes Oct 18 2017I set up the perspective of the picture with the idea that Sadie and Jo should take up as much space in it as possible.

At some point in the 90s I read a quote from Roseanne Barr, where she advised young actresses to “take up as much space as you possibly can.”

I think this is a great idea for women, to just occupy space with our presence and authority and strength and certainty, and in Sadie’s case, coiled professional menace.

I had done a painting that utilized an exploded perspective in 2005, the portrait of Khris Brown that is still one of my favorite things I’ve ever done (below right).

I approached the portrait I did of Rah Hell this summer the same way, opening and flattening the pictorial space to force the viewer to acknowledge her carelessly confident drummer’s body (below left). Our Art Nouveau herringbone wood floors work even better for distorting the perspective than the floors in my Berkeley Craftsman did.Portraits by Suzanne Forbes 2005 and 2017

To get the exaggerated foreshortening of my model’s forms, I simply alternate between sitting and standing with the easel very close to the model.

Then I make decisions about scale and positioning, as described in the previous post, and position one foot to break the frame, my signature! This is a straightforward way of suggesting that the power of the woman in the portrait can’t be contained by the picture plane. And it also references my career in comics and my love for comic panel design.

You can see here how close I was to the model chair.After the third sitting Sadie and Jo WIP by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2017

During the long third sitting, Sadie and Jo and I talked about art and sex and power.

Sadie and I reminisced about the wonderful Oughts’-era climate for sex-positive kinky art in San Francisco. We talked about the many performances and shows we did for Madison Young’s queer art gallery Femina Potens and the events, like Sadie’s birthday party, at the Center For Sex and Culture. For a while the background of the painting looked like the Leather Pride Flag!After the third sitting Sadie and Jo WIP by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2017

Jo, who is a photographer, told us an amazing story of when she met Nan Goldin.

The whole process of making the painting has been nourishing and strengthening, a collaborative meeting of minds and talents. Sadie and Jo both brought their A game to the work, serving tremendous presence and face and great physical stamina.

Portrait of Sadie and Jo detail by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2017After the final sitting I dug in and sorted out the background and details. As much as I liked the Leather Pride colors, I wanted to paint the realistic space of my salon, to ground the figures in a real world and place the viewer in it with them.

I adjusted the perspective of the floor over and over, to give the immanence I wanted to Sadie and Jo.

And I repainted Jo’s hands like a million times, so they would only be substantial artist’s hands, not disorientingly large! I had fun painting the Autumn goddess head-dresses of leaves and rosehips Jo and Sadie wore to Folsom Europe for a performance this year.

I very carefully composed the shadows at Sadie’s feet to guide the eye to the vicious tip of her singletail, which actually is the dark blue and black colors I painted it.

I gave Jo a branch to hold because I was like, “Needs moar witch!” Once the details were done, it was time to separate the two canvases for transport to Ludwig, where they will be shown. I didn’t know what would happen once they were separated; the painting looked finished and resolved with them conjoined but….

With the canvases separated, the blue background wall panel behind Jo (right side) became a dead space!Portrait of Jo Pollux by Suzanne Forbes before and after Oct 18 2017I had to activate it visually with shadows.

Which was good, really, as it made the unused pink velvet boudoir chair more significant. I like to include pink velvet furniture, like my sadly lost dusty rose velvet model’s armchair, in my paintings. Not only is pink velvet a great visual reference to pussy, it references a powerful moment in my experience as an artist.

In 1993 I went to Philadelphia with my first husband. We went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where we saw the Cornells, Duchamp’s Étant donnés and the Degas known as both “Interior” and “The Rape”. I can’t begin to describe the impact that group of works had on me, but I can tell you the most important thing I carried away: that women need to make paintings of women.

Jo Pollux detail by Suzanne Forbes Oct 18 2017For decades I have been both inspired by the great male painters and furious that men have made most of the great paintings of women.

My spiritual master as an artist, John Singer Sargent, was not sexually involved with women. He made pictures of them as beings. Numinous, sensual, prickly, elegant, fearless beings. I am hoping in the next few years to really move into my abilities as a painter, and to begin painting women with all the strength I see in them.

It really helps to make big paintings, when you want to depict strength and grace, and I hope this diptych is a step towards that.

This work was made possible by the generosity of my Patrons on Patreon, who contribute monthly support to enable me to make art. I am so, so grateful.

You can help for as little as a buck a month!

In Berlin and wanna see it in person and hear me and Sadie talk about art, gender, portraiture as service and more? Come to Ludwig this Sunday, Oct 22, at 8pm for an artist’s talk and vernissage!

Sadie and Jo are both brand-new on Patreon, you can help them make feminist art!

 

 

The men of Folsom Europe!

Lovers at Folsom Europe by Suzanne Forbes Oct 13 2017FInally had a minute to finish the last of the drawings I made at Folsom Europe. I really enjoyed my time there.

It was a very comfortable and relaxed scene. On my way in I saw what I thought for a moment was security frisking backpacks. Then I realized it was just a group of uniform fetish players looking for their beer or gear or something!

Rope bondage at Folsom Europe by Suzanne Forbes Oct 13 2017

Folsom Europe really shines with Tom of Finland archetypes.

Because I was a child in Chelsea in the 70s, I really love the classic leather daddy and uniform looks. It feels like being wrapped in a warm blanket to see gay men rocking the old school Christopher St Clone style.

This performer, Georg Kroneis, was wonderful.

Georg Kroneis Folsom Europe by Suzanne Forbes Oct 10 2017However there were also plenty of casually dressed lovers just sporting crew socks and sweats, as seen in the first picture!

I was very casual myself, unlike my friend Sadie Lune who wore gorgeous high leather regalia and an Autumn goddess headpiece, which inspired the big diptych of her and her girlfriend Jo Pollux I just finished. You can see my previous Folsom Europe posts here:

Women of Folsom Europe 2017

Puppies of Folsom Europe 2017

Women who rock Berlin – Donut Heart at Arcanoa

Alfred Ladylike and Baron Anastis at Arcanoa by Suzanne Forbes Oct 20 2017I drew the Donut Heart folk at an amazing and magical Berlin bar, the underground wonderland that is Arcanoa.

The show was called the “Sunken Ship Show!” Check out Alfred Ladylike and Baron Anastis, above. I feel like I got a very good likeness of Baron, who is a professional life model as well as rocking out with both Donut Heart and Baron and the Erinyes.

Rah Hell and Donut Heart at Arcanoa Suzanne Forbes Oct 20 2017Pirate costumes were on point! Here is Rah Hell drumming in high seas style.

Donut Heart at Arcanoa by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2017Well and truly is it said that she is the sexiest and most amazing dork in all Berlin. Also kinda cool, the drawings form a panorama of the stage! By accident mostly, I’ve never done that before.

Natascha Artworx came down from Hamburg and she wore an amazing mermaid outfit she had made herself, much like she created her outfit for our A(RT)ffair.

I also wore an amazing mermaid outfit, although I only made the jewelry and headpiece of mine!

Suz Natascha Artworx and Alfred Ladylike at Arcanoa Oct 2017Here we are with Alfred Ladylike posing like merpirates or something!!

Check out how great we look and how cool Arcanoa is! There is a running stream built into the bar. It is probably neither safe not sanitary, but it is beautiful. Living in Berlin is heaven.Natascha Artworx and Suzanne Forbes at Arcanoa Sept 28 2017

Last but not least, the show opened with a thrilling oceangoing yarn spun by the shifty Old Tom Haggardy!

He belted out some fine sea shanties later as well.Tom Haggardy at Arcanoa by Suzanne Forbes Oct 20 2017

New Donut Heart video online here.

The big diptych – work in progress! My portrait of Sadie Lune and Jo Pollux.

wip Portrait of Sadie Lune and Jo Pollux by Suzanne Forbes Sept 2017Now we’re at the stage where I make serious refinements to scale and positioning.

You can see I’ve scaled down Jo’s body significantly and adjusted the room and furnishings as well. I made her enormous hands much smaller, although enormous hands are cool! I had made them so large I had to repaint them twice to get them normal size 🙂

One foot of at least one model always breaks the frame in every one of my portraits, and it was best if it was Sadie’s new Fleuvog boot, so I moved Jo’s knee and feet back.

WIP Portrait of Sadie Lune and Jo Pollux by Suzanne Forbes color clarification pass Sept 24 2017You can see the previous pass of post sitting work above, the color clarification pass where I clean up muddy colors from the first sitting.

WIP portrait of Sadie Lune and Jo Pollux by Suzanne Forbes Sept 24 2017And the first sitting, which I painted almost entirely with sponges from the euro store and sponge brushes, in 2.5 hours.

More info in the first post!

The Women of Folsom Europe

Miss Natasha Enquist in Butcherei Lindinger at Folsom Europe Sept 9 2017 by Suzanne ForbesMy friend Miss Natasha Enquist performed at Folsom Europe 2017!

So of course I was there to see her. And the other women on stage.  There were plenty, despite the event being produced by male.space! ! Miss Natasha was styled for the event by legendary Berlin fetish wear designer Butcherei Lindinger.

She played a set you can check out here and also my favorite cover, “The Cat Came Back”. She got down and twerked and waggled her cock at the audience. You might have thought it was pretty transgressive for a mainly-gay-men event, but the crowd loved it!

And I was surrounded by big, buff leathermen who were cheering Miss Natasha on and saying incredibly nice and supportive things about my drawings.

Liliana Velasquez at Folsom Europe by Suzanne Forbes Sept 26 2017Then we enjoyed Power Woman Ms. Liliana Velásquez from the Freudian Slip Club and  Fetish Comedy Show.

She told jokes about working in a house in New York, which I was greatly entertained by. It took me back to the 80s when my friends worked at a house in the Meatpacking District. She was wearing a bespoke latex gown from The Baroness!

Comedy Singer at Folsom Europe by Suzanne Forbes Sept 26 2017I will have to get the name of the very young and very funny woman with the ukulele.

She was hilarious and pretty shocking!

See more drawings of Miss Natasha Enquist here and here and more Folsom Europe here.