Saturday 17 July 2010

That's so hot right now!

Here's a picture of me sporting the must have item of this season, the exclusive t.shirt for UK burlesque star Beatrix Von Bourbon! Being one of my favourite performers, Miss VB has been the subject of some of my art work in the past, to see my portrait of Beatrix visit my website HERE

You can also find out more about Beatrix and her t.shirts HERE.

Friday 9 July 2010

Green Ladies

After sitting patiently in the corner of my studio for some weeks, my portrait of 1940's Chinese/American burlesque performer Noel Toy is properlly underway.

I discovered Toy while researching vintage burlesque, and found a lovely black and white film of this delightful exotic dancer. After finding out more about her and who she was, I was inspired to celebrate her in her own painting.

This image of Noel is taken from a still of the orignial film and I have included the name of the club she performed in as a tribute to her success and unique appeal; it is said her burlesque acts tripled business at the Forbidden City night club within three months!

My initial plan for this painting was to do the entire thing in black and white, but as I applied the layers of paint I noticed a distinct green glow to Noel's face. Subconsciously I had plied a green/blue tint to her skin making her now reminisent of the famous Green Lady. I decided I quite liked her accidental otherworldly look so I'm sticking to it. I hope Noel would appreciate the links with the other famous chinese green lady.

A little about the Green Lady:

Originally named, 'Chinese Girl' this painting was created between 1946 -50 by Russian born artist Vladimir Tretchikoff.
With the mantra, 'Express your passion, do what you love, no matter what', Tretchikoff was a free spirit who painted uncomplicated images using unmixed paint straight from the tube. His life reads like a thriller and you can read his beautifully presented biography at his website HERE.

'Chinese Girl' became a huge commercial success; in the austere post war years the painting was a slice of an exotic world many could only dream about. It was also one of the first affordable art prints, meaning even those from the working class had access to art works to disply in their own homes. This trend reached it's kitsch peak during the 1960's and 70's when the green lady graced many a living room wall giving her an instant recogisable iconic status.

It's rumored that 'Chinese Girl' has been printed more times than Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa giving more ammunition to the overall popularity and mystique of this well known image.

Tretchikoff went on to paint various other green tinted women but it is this particular green lady who has stayed a firm favourite triggering memories of childhood and trips to grandparents' houses when her popularity was at it's highest and has come to represent kitsch at it's best.

What people say about the the Green Lady:

'I wish it had never happened'
Art Critic Brian Sewell

'It means something about my background and where I'm from and my nan'
Designer Wayne Hemmingway

'To me it is very powerful and spiritual
Paranormalist Uri Geller

Saturday 3 July 2010

What a tease!

I've just finished reading the burlesque bonkbuster that is 'Tease' written by Immodesty Blaize. Channeling the genius of the original queen of sleaze Jacqueline Susann and the Hollwood scandal of Jackie Collins, Miss Blaize takes the reader on a journey through the fabulous world of the showgirl.

Being a showgirl herself, Immodesty Blaize has written a book that transports the reader onto the stage allowing you to experience for yourself the adreneline of being backstage and then performing before an live audience.

Feathers and rhinestones don't begin to describe the high levels of glamour and attention to stylish detail, from mechanical rearing panthers to giant sparkling birdcages, the book really paints a fullsome picture of the life of an international burlesque star.

Blaize also has a passion for detailing gorgeous haute couture, cosmetics and vintage outfits so this is definatley a book women will enjoy. In fact it strikes me that this book firmly puts the current craze for burlesque in the girls court; the majority of modern audiences being made up of women, it explains our fascination with the glamorous clothes, make-up and sheer sexuality of burlesque, mixed with the classic soap opera story of betrayal and secrets found in only the best bonkbuster!

The story itself is pretty predictable but the enjoyment of immersing yourself in sheer decadence for 429 pages makes the ride well worthwhile!