exotic contemporary art

Bettie Page portrait on mirror

Sweet Bettie Jesus

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Bettie Page, 50s pinup model and girl next door, was the ultimate sacrifice to the gods of sensuality. 

Gorgeous, adored and in the public eye for seven action packed years, Bettie Page mysteriously disappeared from view. Her cheeky smile had concealed a troubled past involving domestic abuse, rape, poverty and mental illness and it eventually overwhelmed her. 

For a time she sought refuge in religion, becoming a committed evangelist, however, it didn’t offer the salvation she sought and she spent 36 years destitute and abandoned. 10 of those years were in a mental institution, diagnosed with schizophrenia after being arrested for assault. 

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to her, the royalties were rolling in and designers were making their fortunes from commercialising her impromptu bikini designs created for photo shoots. Eventually in 1993, it occurred to Hugh Hefner of Playboy, that she was probably out there somewhere and it was about time she was resurrected. Sure enough Hugh found the bemused Bettie Page, and returned her to where she should always have been – a celebrated and incredibly wealthy woman.

Bettie writhes sensually on her crucifix, tied lightly with skeins of golden silk. A beautiful person who suffered and celebrated her life in equal amounts. The mirror in the crucifix is a reminder of the public’s role to play in her story.

Black enamel linework was applied to both sides of the overlaying sheet of glass. Coloured acrylic was airbrushed on the underside, before flipping the glass and placing it over mirror. It was then framed so the glass would sit a small distance away from the backing mirror. Slim black frame.

64cm x 90cm    |   9kg