Tribal Belly Dancer Drawings

This series of drawings inspired by the well known tribal belly dancer Rachel Brice whose brilliant dancing style influenced the world of belly dance. Tribal belly dance is different and "darker" than its traditional counterpart, blending tradition with contemporary street dance and fashions.

In this series of paintings and drawings, I try to really play with form and distort it so as to bring out the character of the dancers. Their beauty is not conventional, rather they are "outsiders" in every sense of the word with their unique bodies that defy mainstream ideals. 

Teahouse Fire Geisha Santa Barbara

The Teahouse Fire Geisha painting was inspired by the fire of the same name that burnt very close to our house in Santa Barbara. As one person who survived the fire (but saw her house burn down) said “It was one of the most terrifying things I have ever seen and yet at the same one of the most beautiful”.

For the many days these fires burned we lived in a constant hail of snow-like ashes, breathing air that hurt your lungs with each inhale, a darkened yellowish grey sky, a sun that glowed red midday and a general sense of impending doom. A reddish line of flames would constantly glide along the hills in the days and nights, spewing vast amounts of smoke into the air. At night the hills were crimson against a velvety black starless sky. We spent many hours viewing the fire with binoculars, watching it as it moved to the right, then to the left and then one terrifying evening, directly right towards us. In this painting the geisha is viewing the fire, much like one would view fireworks and at her feet an ember has fallen, signifying that the fire has gotten too close for comfort.

Disco Skates 1970's

When the disco skating fad took off here in California in the late 1970’s, I was happy to join in because it was so much fun. Dressing in outrageous clothes and dancing while skating to disco music with friends was a wonderful moment in time – it was the seventies! We began attending a large celebrity studded private skating party held every week in the San Fernando Valley hosted by Helena Kalliontes, a good friend of Jack Nicholson’s. It was always was well attended by all the biggest stars at the time and the entrance was surrounded by paparazzi. The parking lot was packed with Rolls Royces and Mercedes every Wednesday night and the ordinarily dated and uneventful skating rink became sparkling and alive after the sun set.
I painted my own skates in an Egyptian style complete with a portrait of my pet Dutch rabbit on them (these skates are now in the Experience Music Project Museum in Seattle). Other celebrities saw what I was wearing and so a series of commissioned skates was begun. Cher had me design some purple zebra skin roller skates to match her Bob Mackie costume all of which ended up on the cover of People Magazine. I painted a pink roccoco pair lined with faux ermine for my skating buddy artist Edie Vonnegut (see bottom photo). Articles soon appeared featuring my skates in Women’s Wear Daily and other fashion magazines, plus the skates were included in a book which documenting the disco skating world titled Roller Babies.