Sounds like a breakfast cereal from the 80’s, doesn’t it?! “High Density Nutrition” was one of my favourite comments on my work from my Sydney exhibition recently (I added the rainbow part for effect) – but we’ll come to all of that soon…..
Firstly Hi!!!!!! Hope you are well?! Have you missed me?! I have managed to get myself together enough to send you another update within 6 months (I normally struggle to get out 1 of these per year!) So without further ado, here’s what’s been happening in Camp Beetson.
2019 got off to a slow start, but I found my mojo around May and things have gotten somewhat exciting since then! First, I hopped on a plane to my beloved New York City having been invited by my wonderful friends at Coney Island USA (home of the famous sideshow, museum and freak bar) to exhibit my body of Coney Island work that now spans 5 years!
That’s Laure Leber and I hanging the show, having driven through a New York City summer flash flood rainstorm from Greenpoint in a smart car with all of the art! (All driving credit to Laure!) As well as managing the CI USA Gift Shop, Laure is an amazing photographer whose work spans several decades of New York artists, and she created the beautiful photographs of the clowns that I painted. So this body of work was a true collaboration between Laure, myself, and clowns Jonathan Kyle Farmer (FIT professor) and Wendy Blades (Sideshow Star).
My wonderful NYC Illustration Agents Karen (in Beetson print espadrilles!) and Lauren, and several of our lovely artists came to opening night to support me, as did many of my wonderful friends from Coney Island and all around New York. Artworks went off to new homes, including the one Patrick Wall is holding which is destined to live in the Freak Bar (super honoured!), and I got to wear my 100% silk bespoke outfit printed with all of the art, created by the amazing Nadia Seo.
Honestly, I am not sure I have ever felt more love for my art, or acceptance for myself, than I do in my beloved Coney Island. Some of my favourite people and places in the world are here within these 179 island hectares, and I am so grateful to have been made an honorary member of the Coney Island family. No wonder I have made so much art here!
Speaking of silk printed with my art (see more riding the NYC subway above), I also created a range of silk scarfs printed with my Coney Island artworks. They were sold in the Coney Island gift shop during the exhibition, and almost 40 of them disappeared before I could grab the last few to sell on my website. I have finally gotten around to adding them to my webstore – BE QUICK though, there’s only 6 left AND YOU GUYS ARE HEARING THIS FIRST! Sewn by my incredibly patient mother in law, modelled by my ever patient sister in law, JUST LOOK AT HOW LUSH THEY ARE:
That link to buy a scarf again is: http://www.sarahbeetson.com/coneyislandclothing
And keep reading to find out how to get FREE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE!!!!!
Anyhoo, back to my trip. After NYC I went back to the UK to visit friends and family, and also to do a little 2 week residency in the place that started my fixation with rides, amusements and signage in my childhood – Blackpool. My lovely illustrator friends Danny and Leona Allison and their little daughter Nirvana invited me to share their studio space, and came out with me to photograph and snap polaroids of the glorious crumbling British seaside, and I stayed in an actual B&B (as opposed to an AirBnB). Here are some snaps of me drawing all things Blackpool in Danny’s studio.
Before I get to the final phase of my UK trip, I need to circle back and tell you all about the series I started working on earlier this year. So after I didn’t get all the grants I applied for, I needed to change tack in terms of projects, and I found myself with an opportunity to do something else. I had been following the School Strike For Climate Movement, and Greta Thunberg, and attended climate protests in Brisbane, The Gold Coast and Logan. My friends kids kept popping up all over my Facebook feed, at various protests around the world, holding a variety of inventive and articulate messages about the climate catastrophe we are hurtling towards. I thought to myself, when else in history has there been a global protest movement involving millions of children? And I decided to put my own slow burning anxiety about the situation into action. I began by making drawings of the School Striking kids.
I used a projector to trace off the drawings onto wood panels with my signature backgrounds underneath.
Here’s some of my works in progress:
That’s Greta Thunberg at the top – those images were created at my parents house in Devon, after I attended the huge September 20 strike in Plymouth (where Greta had sailed from to New York weeks earlier). Here’s some photos of me making art in the back garden and at the strike, taken by my awesome brother Rich:
Here’s what the finished climate kids look like. I added a bee to every kid’s painting, as a warning symbol, to remind us that if the bees die, we all die. When viewed together the collective message is extra emotive, I think.
And finally, the four Greta Thunberg’s. Because one would not be enough.
I felt this series really needed to be seen by a wider audience, so 3 weeks after I got back to Australia from the UK, Chad and I made the 10 hours 15 minute drive to Sydney to exhibit them at The Other Art Fair. This was my 4th fair, 3rd in Sydney, and the venue – The Cutaway at Barangaroo Reserve, was hands down the best yet. I mean, look at how spectacular it is!
Here’s some closer details of my booth setup:
I think this may have been my best fair yet – the reactions to my work were polarised, I had mums come up and look at the art, nod heads and smile, I had teens and their grandparents come and tell me how they’d attended climate protests together, a lady over 60 clasped my hands and told me she was so happy artists are talking about the environment, I got the “Your work is Highly Nutritionally Dense” comment, and every single child under 18 that walked past my stand stopped in their tracks, and came in for a closer look. I cannot tell you how much that particularly meant to me! I’m not sure if the kids were drawn in because of the school strikes subject matter, or whether it was because they were reading the protest messages (usually aloud), or whether it was simply because the entire body of work is of children, and that resonated? Whatever the reasons, nothing delights me more than kids and young people ‘getting’ what I’m doing, it feels like it helps me keep my work fresh and relevant.
There were sales too, Velvet and Atticus went off to new homes in Singapore and Sydney, plus I WON the Instagram competition having had my portrait painted Live by the fabulously talented delight that is Ali Rybczyk! So Chad and I are off for a free night of decadence at Ovolo Hotels Brisbane in December – whoop!
I had a lot of demand for prints of my Climate Kids at the fair, so I have since released made to order prints via my Etsy shop. The prints are A4 size, made to order (so no waste), on 90% bamboo sustainable Hahnemuhle paper, signed, and 10% of profits, from both the prints and any sales related to my Climate Kids series, go to Clientearth.org.
You can also check out and shop for my Climate Kids original art via Saatchi Art, they can ship it all over the world to you and the cost of shipping is included in the artwork price!
I have been losing my mind with happiness over these images of my Climate Kids IRL posing with their art! So awesome! I will leave you with these, some Greta Thunberg’s (below), and finally, a huge thank you to you for reading, and for your continued support for my art! As a little gift, I am offering FREE SHIPPING especially for you guys, across my stores until the Christmas post cutoff. For my website store, use code: FREESHIPXMAS at checkout to get free shipping, and for Etsy, use Code: FREESHIPPING2019.
That’s All, Folks!
Love and Rainbows,
The High Density Rainbow Nutrition Queen xxxxx