Friday, December 12, 2008

Bettie

I didn't know her, never met her but Bettie Page and I had a long term relationship. I first met her in 1991 when I was about 15 and instantly fell in love with that smile. Her smile was amazing! It was the thing that separated her from the rest of the pin-ups and nudes I had seen before. Bettie's smile always felt natural, in fact all her emotions seemed natural or playful, never forced and that was her magic. I was hooked on Bettie.


After our first encounter I sought out as many images of her as I could find. It was the pre-internet days so I was lucky to find stray pictures in second hand books and tattered magazines but I ate them up! While everyone else I knew worshiped rock stars and sports people I worshiped Bettie and she slipped into every part of my life in some way. She was a major influence on me...this woman I never really knew, but I knew the pictures and that was enough. At some point I began to draw her, not obsessively, but a lot. I wanted to capture her smile, her energy in my art and did my best but I don't think I've ever really truly done it. How could you? Over the years my affection for Bettie has only grown, I've been able to appreciate different things about her pictures in the different stages of my life.


When I found out that Bettie had passed away it really upset me, even though her modeling days had ended long ago I always liked the idea of knowing she was somewhere out there in the world doing her thing...and now that she's not I can't help but think the world is a little dimmer without her smile. Still we have those amazing pictures of her to keep her memory alive.


Thank you Bettie for being an inspiration.

6 comments:

Bubs said...

That was very sweet. The smile was really the thing, wasn't it?

Michael Nyiri said...

Dear Becca,
I've been sporadicaly dropping by to see when you'd post this tribute. (Your profile pic gave it away.)
I've been in "love" with Bettie Page since the 70s.
As mentioned in my previous comment, I put up a tribute
article
post as well.
Are these your pencil drawings? Fantastic. You're talented as well as a cultural chronicler.
Michael F. Nyiri, poet, philosopher, fool

Arkonbey said...

Betty always seemed like a real person (yes, that smile). She seemed to always be a 'Norma-Jean' and never became a 'Marylin'.
Maybe that's why she lasted to 85. I hope she had a good run.

have you seen the video that Swinebread put up on his site? Yum.

William Daniels said...

I have a draft for a remembrance post but so far have not been able to figure out what to say or do, especially since this falls on the heels of Forry Ackerman dying. Both were so influential on me in so many ways.

I had to let my collection of Bettie things go before I left the US and came to China, including a post card from the 50'2 with her on it, and all the issues of The Betty Pages, plus other things. But the net people like her are always a click away.

She was one of a kind to be sure.

Bill at the Uranium Cafe

Becca said...

Bubs-
It was indeed :)

Michael-
It's so wonderful that there has been such an outpouring of love for Bettie! Your tribute was great.

And yes these are my drawings, thank you! You are too sweet!

Arkonbey-
Yes she felt completely real, not just a nameless model in a photograph.

I just saw the tribute on Swinebread's page, that's one of my favorites. Did you know that there was never any music playing when Betties did those dances? They added it after it was filmed and she used to just make her moves up in the silence :)

Bill-
I completely understand how hard it is to put into words how deeply someone you never met could have affected your life! But for me at least they were equally as influentual as a parent or teacher. And it's so cool that so many others feel the same way. It's a great tribute to their lives.

And yes thank the gods for the internet! You can find almost anything!!! Such a miracle.

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