Why I Had to Buy This Original Artwork Featuring Bettie Page

driftwood art decoupages with images of bettie page
Original New Orleans Artwork
Driftwood with Decoupage Bettie Page Images

My Beautiful Driftwood Art Piece from New Orleans Featuring Bettie Page

To the artist who created this piece: be happy knowing it is in a place of sacred veneration in my home. I cannot tell you how much I love my newly purchased original artwork featuring Bettie Page, purchased at New Orlean's gallery, Zele, on Magazine Street

end of the world studios driftwood art piece from new orleans

Zele Art Gallery on Magazine St in New Orleans

As I shopped around Zele, I found plenty to catch my attention. If you are ever in New Orleans, I highly recommend this art gallery featuring lots of stalls where local artists sell their work. I bought quite a few things there, and will have more posts about my purchases upcoming. However, this one I had to write about first, because I love it so much and it came into my life at the exact right moment; it was kismet.

Why I Had to Buy This Artwork Featuring Bettie Page

I rarely ever talk about the creative writing work I'm doing while I'm in the middle of it, so consider this one of those rare instances. While I was on vacation at my mother's house in New Orleans, partly in town to go to the New Orleans Poetry Festival, I began earnest work on a manuscript had I been slowly building up. Since I still want to hold this close to my vest, so to speak, I won't go into too much except to say that one of the major, long poems in the manuscript is about, of course, Bettie Page.

With that poetry on my mind, I practically jumped when I saw this. However, since I am a Bohemian Budget Bargain Hunter with not a lot of disposable income, I don't tend to spend more than $20 or so on decorative pieces for my home, if I can help it.

In this case, I could not help it. I walked around after seeing this piece and pondered if I wanted to go outside my usual budget. I had just, that day, received my tax return. Bettie, in all her driftwood decoupage glory, was speaking to me. With all the stars aligned, of course, I bought it.

Divine Feminine Shrine Art Wall
My "Divine Feminine Shrine" Art Wall

The Sacred Veneration of Bettie Page, Among Others, on My "Divine Feminine Shrine" Art Wall

Almost as soon as I bought the driftwood piece, I knew where it was going in my home. My bedroom has a round wall in the corner that faces my bed. Up until this past Beltane, it was a blank canvas. Once I purchased it, I knew I was putting this art piece, along with some prints I had also purchased in New Orleans, in my bedroom. The above is the final result. I will write in more detail about my "Divine Feminine Shrine" Art Wall in another upcoming post. But I wanted to have a feature on this Bettie Page original artwork, as well.

What Bettie Page Symbolizes to Me

Even though in her later years, Bettie Page turned to Evangelical Christianity and away from the work she did in her late 20s and early 30s, I still hold what she did, explored and popularized, as important work in the venerable cause of normalizing and appreciating sexuality, particularly female sexuality. This here feminist is fiercely SWERF-averse (Sex Work Exclusionary 'Radical' 'Feminist' --quotes added for specious emphasis).

As I've talked about often on the plus size pin up blog, sex positivity, is an important part of my being, both as part of my spiritual practice as a neopagan, and as part of my spiritual practice as a recovering raised-Catholic. The blithe yet determined way that Bettie Page channeled her inner sex goddess for the entire world to see, feel excited by, and enjoy is something I will be forever grateful for, as I feel it is important to the see the value of "smut" in our lives as sexual beings. To my mind, there is no inherent bad or good in sexuality. Consenting adults can and should view, explore, and do whatever they consent to do with each other. (Notice how I used the word consent? I did it twice. On purpose. Enthusiastic consent makes this world a good place to  live in.)

During one of our most conservative times in recent history, her work as a model and actor broke the barriers of what was deemed appropriate and brought to light for many a whole bunch of fun things that had been on their minds but never dared to broach. For this, many of us owe gratitude for the power she so expertly, instinctually showed off for the world. Many of the things I love and hold dear--pin up style, burlesque, sex positivity--wouldn't be the empowering movements they are now without Bettie Page.

So, of course I had to buy this artwork. It was destined for my Divine Feminine Shrine.