Tura Satana: an actor, force of nature, and now object of art.
When the buxom Hollywood B-movie star died, her many fans mourned but the world awoke to her power and beauty.
Many tributes, including one in L.A. in late 2014, helped tell Tura’s story. At a time in cinema when women were getting slapped around on screen by leading men, her chilling portrayal in the Russ Meyer flic Faster Pussycat Kill Kill! turned the tables and launched the era of powerful ass kickin women. Quentin Tarantino would go on to base his Kill Bill character on Tura.
I was honoured to be invited by Tura’s manager Siouxzan Perry to produce a tribute piece for the December 2014 show. The piece, “Faster Pussycat” was in good company at the show, surrounded by G0-Go dancers and Tura’s on-screen co-stars. At Lethal Amounts gallery I got a chance to connect with fellow artist Johnny Coffin and his partner, musician Linda Kay Parker, and the amazing Siouxzan Perry. Great people, great show!
Bev grew up sketching a full cast of characters in her hometown of Fenwick.
The 1960s TV series Green Acres could have easily been filmed here with corn fields to run through and a 1920s-era gas station at the centre of town. The farming village was a station stop on the Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway, so it was both connected and disconnected from modern events.
The unhurried pace of the place gave her, and everyone here, freedom to look at the world with an independent eye. Her early observations, captured as sketches and drawings, endure today in the dark humour of the artist’s distinct blue paintings.
After a stint in magazine illustration, Bev caught the attention of the public in 2000 with a series of portraits of fading film stars and other imaginary figures that she called Blue in the Face. Though they shared a monotone acrylic style, each 12 in. x 12 in. canvas had its own story with names like “Mary Tyler Mood”, “East of Ethyl” and “Service with a Smirk.”
The series was a hit with early collectors and set in motion the creation of her trademark Beluxe, new adaptations of lifestyle products based on her images, and the expanding Blue or Nothing collection of original paintings of women and wildlife.
When it came time for Bev to find a location for her permanent studio, it was a no surprise that she chose a gallery space in Fonthill, one winding road away from her beloved Fenwick.