Tag Archives: traditional portraiture for alternative lifestyles

Painting live at Berlin Burlesque Week with Rafa Alvarez!

Suzanne Forbes and Rafa Alvarez painting at Ballhaus Berlin May 28 2017During Berlin Burlesque Week I did a live painting session with my friend and colleague from ESDIPBerlin, illustrator Rafa Alvarez.

Rafa had been approached by Laura, who runs Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin, and asked to do a painting during the Dr. Sketchy’s session. He suggested I join in, and so I did! Suzanne Forbes and Rafa Alvarez painting at Ballhaus Berlin May 28 2017

It was a nice day and we had a lovely time!

The theme was Garden of Desire, so of course I had to dress up in some leafy flowery business. I brought a leaf crown for Rafa too. His partner came (her parents were watching their little lad, who you can see in this drawing) and took these great pictures. Paintings by Suzanne Forbes and Rafa Alvarez for Dr Sketchys Berlin May 2017

Isn’t it amazing how two artists can create such different works, on the same theme in the same amount of time?

I love Rafa’s style so much. He used these acrylic paint markers, which he got at the graffiti store (we have two in Berlin!) and which I had never seen before. Last pose Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 28 2017

I also snuck inside the (gorgeous, historic, old school cabaret) venue and did drawings of the last two poses.

The tables have these telephones you can use to call the bar and order a drink, and apparently they still work though a bit crackly. The globes light up, of course! Ballhaus Berlin is simply a mad spectacular place to hold a drawing session.At Dr Sketchys Berlin Burlesque Week by Suzanne Forbes May 28 2017

The models, lighting, props, set and music were amazing.

Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin is a seriously nice event, going strong for over seven years, and I absolutely plan to make the next one. Hopefully next year I’ll actually make some of the performances at Berlin Burlesque Week. I know I missed some fantastic ones. Darn lack of spoons. More spoons next year!

Uke Boogie! Local music, without guitars.

Rah Hell at Uke Boogie June 8 2017 by Suzanne ForbesI went to the Uke Boogie for the first time!

Here is host Rah Hell, playing an obscure Amanda Palmer song on her amazing ukulele that has travelled all over the world with her and has more stickers than the bathroom at Urban Spree! You can see another drawing of her performing in Donut Heart here.

This is Luke Smoke, who sang songs I could not understand, but certainly enjoyed.

Later he put on a huge red wig but sadly I did not draw that.

Smoak at Uke Boogie June 8 2017 by Suzanne Forbes

Out of nowhere, Joe from Chicago, who used to live around the corner from Lagari where the Boogie is, appeared.

Chicago Joe at Uke Boogie June 8 2017 by Suzanne ForbesHe is a mad fucking talent on the piano, a fantastic fucking entertainer, and being a Chicago guy he fucking swears like me, a fucking New Yorker. You can see us all freak out on this video Rah took.

There were many other performers, and I wish I could have drawn them all.accordian at uke boogie june 8 2017 by Suzanne Forbes

at uke boogie June 8 2017

Not to mention the lovely audience, which included Suzanne Wegh of Curated by Girls, so I did another SuzanneXSuzanne drawing!

Suzanne Wegh by Suzanne Forbes June 8 2017

Cannot wait til the next lovely music event in Berlin. It’s cheap (or free!) and easy to see music here and so accessible and chill. Berlin, du bist so wunderbar.

Drawing loved ones in West Berlin on a summer evening.

M and J in the kitchen by Suzanne Forbes May 29 2017

Lots of dear ones in town. Trying out my new conte-crayon on kraft paper style with portraits.A at Xantener Eck May 29 2017With bone structure like A.’s, the picture pretty much draws itself.

Alex at Xantener Eck by Suzanne Forbes May 29 2017Sitting outside the cafe downstairs in the warm summer night with dear ones, could there be anything better?

 

Drawing woman musicians and a boylesque Jesus at the Donut Heart video release party!

Donut Heart at Ludwig Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 25 2017I love to draw musicians. They are among my most favorite subjects.

As a non-musical person, being able to create music is like some kind of sorcery to me. So when I was invited to draw live at the party for the release of Donut Heart‘s new video I was very excited. Look at Alfred Ladylike and Rah Hell tearing it up!! The songs are hilarious, “Dude Band” is possibly my favorite. Rah used a heavy piece of chain for percussion at one point, which is not a thing I had ever seen. Although I dated a drummer for two years in my teens!

Suzanne and Rah Hell making vegan donuts May 25 2017What a great time I had! Such a wonderful circle of people, and such delightful performances.

Donut Heart is fucking funny and also rocks out. I first heard Alfred Ladylike perform “Professional” opening for Amanda Palmer here in Berlin (click for live drawings of Amanda, my very favorite musician to draw).

I helped Rah glaze the vegan donuts because if there is one thing I know, it’s getting sweet treats ready for a party. There were many highly drawable attractions at the Donut Heart event, as you can see.Boylesque Jesus at Ludwig by Suzanne Forbes May 25 2017

Kay was a boylesque Jesus, and kindly expiated one of my many sins.

photo of Suzanne Forbes by Natascha Artworx May 25 2017

Natascha did body painting like this cupcake on my bosom!

Natascha bodypainting at Ludwig by Suzanne Forbes May 25 2017You can see her here body painting live on stage. She is an artist on non-human canvases as well.David Hawkins at Ludwig Berlin By Suzanne Forbes May 25 2017

David sang “Chocolate Jesus” from the Holy Book of Tom Waits.

It was grand!At Ludwig Berlin May 25 2017 by Suzanne Forbes

Ludwig is a wonderfully cozy clubhouse of a bar/gallery, staffed by barefoot punks in skirts!

It feels like your friend’s living room. Look how chill the altar boys are, enjoying their beers.

Religious support staff at Donut Heart video release party by Suzanne Forbes May 25 2017I met so many cool people of all ages, like the fabulous Merlin Dietrich!

These are some of the best drawings I’ve done in years. I feel like I’m truly recovering my health and finding my feet in Berlin. Thank you, amazing Patreon Patrons, for making it possible for me to document art and young artists like this. I love my life!

The video, filmed in Mauerpark!

Behance Portfolio reviews at ESDIPBerlin!

Maria at ESDIPBerlin by Suzanne Forbes May 13 2017Earlier this month ESDIPBerlin had a lovely event, Behance Portfolio Reviews.

Our wonderful María was the MC. My colleagues and I gave some short talks and then we looked at portfolios and ate vegan cupcakes. There was music and Fritz-Kola and beer of course!

ESDIP folks May 13 2017 by Suzanne Forbes

Wow, what incredible talent there is in Berlin.

My colleague and friend the amazing illustrator Rafa Alvarez and I looked at illustration portfolios of people from all over the world. Lookit his gorgeous fam above! Remco, sorry I cut off your head!

From Japan, Brazil, Warsaw, everybody is here in Berlin to make their creative dreams come true. Rob Hanna made this awesome video of it all!

Behance Portfolio Reviews at ESDIP Berlin 2017 from Robert Hanna on Vimeo. Featured presentations by Rafa Álvarez, Marcos Morales, Suzanne Forbes, Juan García Segura, and Jorge Chamorro.

Drawing at the Drink and Draw Berlin Midnight Society Party, May 20 2017.

Kelsey in mask she made at Drink and Draw Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 2017

Kelsey in mask she made at Drink and Draw Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 2017

Daria, Marina and I went to the Drink and Draw party.

The theme was “Secret Society”, emphasizing “Eyes Wide Shut” and occult iconography. Fine. At Drink and Draw Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 20 2017

On the one hand, it’s an easy theme.

catwomen at drink and draw berlin may 20 2017 by Suzanne ForbesAmazon.de surely sold out of cheap hooded costume cloaks, and even twenty-somethings have a suit or a cocktail dress and a mask or a strip of lace.

no shirt no hair by Suzanne Forbes May 20 2017And a roomful of beautiful young people dressed up Eyes-Wide-Shut style is pretty.

hooded boy by Suzanne Forbes May 20 2017The flowing capes were pretty.

On the other hand, it made the crowd of identically beautiful normative-bodied cishet or performative-queer twentysomethings even blander.

drink and draw berlin may 20 2017 by Suzanne Forbes red lanternI was passing out during live sex acts at the Hellfire Club in the Meatpacking District in 1986, so…whatever, this is fine. I certainly have plenty of practise drawing this look from the hundred hours the hub and I logged at The Upper Floor.

Kelsey and friend at Drink and Draw Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 21 2017The organizers had decided not to hire any actual professional models or performers, so all the models were volunteers. The only ones I was really intrigued and moved by were those who’d put some work into their costumes. Like illustrator Kelsey Bass, above and in the top image, who made her amazing goat mask completely out of recycled materials (Amazon boxes!).

And corsetiere Emma Caponi, who designed and made her astonishing deco gown out of exquisite eyelash lace she got on a trip to China. Emma at Drink and Draw Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 20 2017Her pretty boy killed the suspenders-no-shirt look, too.suspenders by Suzanne Forbes May 20 2017

These lovers posing later in the night were especially pretty, even without any effort at costuming.

lovers at drink and draw berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 21 2017I guess part of my OG/elderkinkster snark comes from the fact that we had such a great time at the last Drink and Draw Berlin party we went to.

unfinished drawings by Suzanne Forbes from Drink and Draw Berlin May 20 2017It was at the old venue, so much less fancy, so much less formal, everything so much more casual. People worked hard on their costumes, the costumes were more playful (though more problematic also!) and less “sexy dress-up”, and the model was a professional performer. I felt like my drawings were more interesting.

And the people drawing were there to draw, and they were mostly ridiculously good. Some of the Drink and Draw Berlin organizers are extremely, extremely good illustrators and draughtsmen. However they didn’t seem to have time to be drawing themselves at this huge event, with everyone drinking fairly vigorously, interactive performances going on, live tattooing and a huge dance floor. For me, so much energy at a drawing event comes from seeing other people do really good work. And certainly there was some, but it was hard to appreciate it in such a busy setting. Ah, so it goes.

roughs from Drink and Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 20 2017So this time I just focussed on making blandly attractive slick-looking drawings that hopefully will do well on my Instagram and help grow my Patreon.

After all, I can see conventionally beautiful twenty-somethings in half-assed costume at KitKat any weekend.

Plus people my own age, real queers, and some gender, body and ableness diversity.

Damn you, San Francisco, for setting an impossible-to-follow standard for costuming, themes and costume parties!!

Balsa Man was 1/16th smaller last year by SandwichGirl 2010

Balsa Man was 1/16th smaller last year by SandwichGirl, 2010

Drawing Laurence Philomene at the Non-Binary Portraits show.

Laurence Philomene at Curated By Girls show COGalleries Berlin May 19 2017 Suzanne ForbesI have been a huge fan of Montreal photographer Laurence Philomene since their first showing in Berlin, at the inaugural IRL Curated by GIrls show.

Kink cz zine feat Curated By Girls and Laurence PhilomeleI’ve been following Laurence on Instagram and delighting in their Non-Binary Portrait Series. These luminous works are alive with compassion and love. With Laurence’ permission, one of the works is reproduced below. It doesn’t compare to seeing them in a bright gallery, printed large, though! They are so fucking exhilarating.

Each work was exhibited with the model’s name and their pronouns of choice. You can see the bts video here! The show was at coGalleries on Torstr., in our old neighborhood. I bought a piece and also snapped up a zine from Kink.cz. Which Laurence signed!

Thanks so much for letting me draw you on your first trip to Berlin, Laurence!

Portrait by Laurence Philomene 2017

Portrait by Laurence Philomene from the Non-Binary Portraits Series, 2017 Copyright the artist, all rights reserved.

Broadly has a nice interview with Laurence here, and there’s a story on CBC Arts here. You can buy prints here on Society6 and here on Post Collective.

If you are interested in gender study, trans pride, portraiture, or color photography, Laurence Philomene is seriously someone to watch. Thank you Laetitia and Suzanne for curating their work in Berlin!

May unterwegs and the Berlin Music Video Awards

Amanda at the Berlin Music Video Awards by Suzanne Forbes May 18 2017Miss Natasha Enquist invited me to see her perform at the Berlin Music Video Awards opening, but I missed her!

I was teaching at our ESDIP Illustration Program, and there are no cabs in Friedrichshain! At least not at 6pm on a Thursday. I thought I could just come out of Grunberger Hof and grab a cab, like you can where we live in the West.

Nope! Seriously, in our neighborhood you can get a cab in 30 seconds. Not in the East! So I got to The Nuke Club late. But I saw Natasha in her wonderful golden sequin hot pants and fishnets outfit, and met Amanda, who let me draw her, seen above.

Tomibaez at Berlin Music Video Awards by Suzanne Forbes May 18 2017I asked her if I could draw her portrait, and she was like, no I’m sorry I’m working, I manage the VIP bar, I’m just grabbing a smoke and a drink and a snack then I gotta go back to it.

I was like, “Don’t worry! I can easily draw you in the time it takes you to have a snack and a smoke!” She was super-nice and friendly. Her mom is a painter!

I also got to draw this nice young man, who caught my eye for his gingery coloring in the Berlin sun. He was shooting for the event, so he filmed me while I drew him!

This is one of the fastest portraits I’ve ever done, less than five minutes in the crowded courtyard at Nuke Club!

I finished up two May unterwegs as well on Thursday. How I love the faces and characters of Berlin.Unterwegs butch by Suzanne Forbes May 18 2017Unterwegs femme by Suzanne Forbes May 18 2017

You can see more Unterwegs here!

April

March 2

March

January

December

November

My first art show in Berlin – what a wonderful night!

Vernissage Suzanne Forbes photo by Sarah Kilcoyne May 12 2017

Thanks to my amazing friend Daria Rhein, who is a tattoo artist there, I met the lovely folks who own Tremuschi Ink Tattoo and Art Gallery in Friedrichshain.

vernissage tremuschi ink for Suzanne Forbes May 12 2017 by Uschi Tremuschi

vernissage for Suzanne Forbes May 12 2017 by Uschi Tremuschi

I was invited to show my works and we had a vernissage (that’s what we say in Europe instead of opening!) on Friday night.

The night before, Daria and her sib from another crib Marina helped me hang the show.

What a wonderful, glorious time we had! So many dear ones new and old attended.

Here you can see Miss Natasha Enquist chatting with a fellow whose name we couldn’t pronounce!

Nathan and Daria in front of Darias mural at Tremuschi Ink by Suzanne Forbes May 12th 2017Our friend Nathan, who was hub’s acupuncture doctor in the Bay, was in Berlin for re:publica, working his awesome new Makerspace networking startup, MakerNet.

He took care of Daria’s headache problem! One of my old lovers who lives in Berlin came and bought a piece. Our friends Ben and Ursula came and took the hubbin over to Santa Cantina, and returned with delicious Mexican food for me to nom.

vernissage for Suzanne Forbes at Tremuschi Ink May 12 2017My ESDIPBerlin fam came and represented, as well as new internet friends like curator Suzanne Wegh and Rah Hell of Berlin Uke rock band Donut Heart.

Several of the hub’s co-workers made it, as well as cool hackers from CCC, and lots of Berlin-based or soon to be Berlin-based programmers and Burners we hadn’t met before.

Half a dozen pieces sold immediately. I simply had the most wonderful time. I am happier here in Berlin with my hubbin than I have ever been in my life. Fifty is amazing; I am so grateful I lived, so grateful to be in long-term remission from depression, and to be able to make art.

My Patrons on Patreon make it all possible, so take a bow, supporters of the arts! I love you.

 

A special portrait of a Bay Area legend, Kitten on the Keys!

SuzXSuz Suzanne Ramsey by Suzanne Forbes April 27 2017What a treat to host the lovely Suzanne Ramsey as a visiting artist in our salon.

I have known Suzanne tangentially for years through my beloved friend-Patron-muse Monique Motil. Monique makes exquisite costuming and custom clothing for both of us. But in the busy Bay Area club/performance/burlesque scene, I never got to spend more than a few brief minutes with Suzanne.

Monique Motil dolls by Suzanne RamseyRecently I’d started following Suzanne on my new Instagram account, and totally loving her amazing photos of Bay Area life, vintage postcards, and recently her stay in Paris.

So I reached out and suggested she come to Berlin, and she did!

Here in Berlin, where I am always in the kitchen/craftroom working, there is time to really talk with visiting friends. Suzanne and I got to talk and visit, even though I was unfortunately sick while she was here. She is so talented, beautiful and kind, and knows everyone.

She took care of me and went to the Apoteke to get me medicine. She took lovely pictures of our house. And on her last night, when she came in around 1am after a dinner with some of her many friends who live in Berlin, I drew the portrait above. We both felt it truly captures her.

Suzanne Ramsey with Miss NatashaHere is Suzanne meeting up with Miss Natasha (see my last post for our recent adventures!), who has been a fan of hers for years! They had their first IRL meet at Frau Behrens Torten, an absolutely delightful cake shop near our house.

Ah, what could be better than sharing Berlin with loved ones?