"I set out to create portraits of the most powerful actressess of the silver screen who were known to have relationships and affairs with other women. Audiences were mesmerised by these silver screen goddessess who exerted a powerful, androgynous magnetism through the camera lens. An air of mystery and class will forever follow these women that deserve to be remembered." A. Emmi
Well I had always known that Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich were bi-sexual. That throughout their lives had love affairs with other women and may even had an affair with each other. But it wasn’t until I had read The Girls: Sappho Goes to Hollywood by Diana Mc Lellan, that I became aware of other fabulous actresses of the same era who did the same thing. They shared lovers, arranged lavender marriages so that no one would question their sexuality all the while living a high profile life.
The first star that inspired The Sewing Circle was Tallulah Bankhead. She was a woman who lived her life the way that she wanted, even though it was very destructive with all the drugs and alcohol. I admired her strength and intelligence; immediately wanting to paint her. But what inspired me the most were her quotes which I just had to add to her painting. There were so many good ones to choose from, but the one I chose suited the life she led. To say something like that in her day, took a lot of courage. I dare any celebrity in this day and age to do the same.
LG:Her razor sharp wit has transcended the ages. I also love these two Tallulah quotes:
"I've tried several varieties of sex. The conventional position makes me claustrophobic. And the others give me either stiff neck or lockjaw."
"If you really want to help the American theater, don't be an actress, dahling. Be an audience."
"Nobody can be exactly like me. Even I have trouble doing it."
"I'll come and make love to you at five o'clock. If I'm late start without me."
The most Iconic for me was Marlene Dietrich. I remember flipping through a book on HollywoodGoddesses when I came across her in a top hat and tuxedo. From that day on I was smitten. I wanted to know everything about her. And there was so much to discover because she lived such an open life. Open to anything and everything and got away with it. She appealed to both men and women. She set the trend wearing men’s clothing bringing the androgynous look into the mainstream.
LG:I know what you mean - I grew up with this massive poster in my bedroom, which I then carried around with me for years. I remember putting it up whilst I lived in a squat in my late teens, and I remember it instantly injecting some glamour into the establishement, it really lifted the place - and only Dietrich could do that.
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PSSSST, OVER HERE In need of a Garbo fix?
As mentioned before, we are still looking for one final account of a Dietrich grave visit to complete The Girls Grave Trilogy.
Only smokers need apply.