October 23, 2012

with my bear hands

hello out there, friends of Betty Turbo who for some reason don't follow me on Twitter or Facebook, or art fans trolling the interwebs for burgers and bears!  i've just hung eleven original paintings at The Hazel Room in Portland, Oregon.  so stop in for some DELICIOUS brunch, a cozy warm beverage, or to pick up a dope piece of art for someone mega special on your holiday shopping list!  meet some of my tribe of magcial friends like Burger Bear and Pizza Wolf.  tell 'em Betty Turbo sent ya.

September 27, 2012

you're getting pizza for christmas


getting in holiday mode around here!  you know what that means, lots of pizza and ice cream, as opposed to the rest of the year when... yeah nevermind.

September 8, 2012

holiday madness begins!

the holiday season sweatshop feeling has begun as my batches of new fabric roll in!  the S'Morrissey pillow and my new tea towel calendar are the first goodies i've prepared!  bon appetit!

August 30, 2012

a sweet, snuggly sensation

greetings out there in Turbo land!  i'm trying something a little different for a few of the products i'm rolling out for the holidays this year: for the next three weeks i'll be taking pre-orders for all varieties of my scarves.  three tasty flavors are listed now in my Etsy shop.  you can grab them at this discounted price to get one of the first batch, and it'll help me to have an idea of which one(s) to make more of for holiday shows.  can't wait to show you what else i've been working on!!

July 6, 2012

ice cream made of awesome

It's been a while since I've shared REAL food on my blog and not just drawings of it, but I didn't want you to miss out on this bodacious ice cream I concocted for our Fourth of July dinner.  The other day I cracked open Alice Medrich's Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies book to try some Cafe de Olla cookies.  The dough smelled amazing, but the taste was really subtle in the final cookies.  I fantasized that if I amped up all my favorite parts of that flavor combination and made it into ICE CREAM, we would really have a winner on our hands.  Taking flavor infusion cues from my ice cream bible, The Perfect Scoop, I came up with this recipe.  I'm skipping super descriptive technique details here, so if you're not solid on ice cream basics, really, go pick up The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.


1 tsp. whole anise seeds
1 cup whole coffee beans
1 tsp. black pepper corns, coarsely cracked
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
5 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sliced almonds


Toast the anise seeds in a saucepan for a couple of minutes, until they get really aromatic.  Pour in 1 cup of cream, and the milk, sugar, salt, coffee beans, and cracked pepper corns.  Stir until warm, then remove from heat and let steep, covered, for an hour. 

Rewarm that spicy mixture.  Put the final cup of cream in a bowl with a mesh strainer set over it.  (Nestling this bowl in an ice bath in a larger bowl comes in handy if you're impatient to cool things, like I am.)  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, and slowly temper the eggs with the warm spicy milk mixture until they're combined.  Pour back into saucepan and stir over low heat until it thickens enough to coat your spoon or spatula.  

Strain the custard into the bowl with the cold cream, discarding all the seeds, coffee beans, and miscellaneous chunks.  Stir in the vanilla and the espresso powder, and continue stirring the custard mixture until it's cool.  CHILL THOROUGHLY.  I always forget to leave enough time.  IT'S GOTTA BE COLD.  Overnight would be great.  I managed success on just three hours of refrigerating this time around.  To kill time, toast those slice almonds in a skillet just enough to lightly brown them.

Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker of choice!  (I love my CuisineArt machine.)  Chop up the toasted almond slices and add them in the final minutes of churning.  Eat a few spoonfuls of yummy soft ice cream straight off the dasher for quality control, then freeze the rest for a couple hours before serving.  

We enjoyed this batch with individual berry tarts for maximum holiday color coordination, but the ice cream really stands alone as a superb dessert.  If you are an affogato fan, this would be SUPERB with an espresso poured over it.  Enjoy!!

July 5, 2012

June 26, 2012

pizza totem

it's tomato art season again!  i cooked up this tasty slice to send off to the annual tomato art show at Art & Invention Gallery in East Nashville.  think it needs to become a whole series, for tribes of all toppings...

s'mores for breakfast


June 1, 2012

winter is coming

Recently made this bodaciousness exclusively for my pals at Greyslater.com.  They actually suggested "Jon Snow's snowcones" in an email to me, and the rest was just a blur, because honestly, get me picturing my favorite nerdy characters with ice cream and I just can't help myself.  Stay cool everyone!

May 22, 2012

are your feet tired from kicking your own ass??

it's me, your friend Betty Turbo, here with an important public service announcement:  it's time to break up with the false limits you've placed on yourself.  pick something today, that you've told yourself you aren't, or can't be, or can't do, and rewrite that message.

i've been an "art girl" my entire life, and am generally comfortable with that label, except when people assume that by specializing in art, i have zero skills or interest in other areas.  i have also always been a lady of letters!  it burns my toast when people are shocked that i could excel at reading & writing.  yes, some artists are unable to express themselves in words.  i am not one of those.  but here's a tricky part of having many interests:  i like doing a LOT of things, and i insist on being an expert before i start them.  if i can't observe, or read all about it in a book, before i have to try something, i will make excuses for why i'm really not interested.  so i had no problem wearing a giant "A" for "artist" on my chest during every gym class or other physical challenge.  i accepted the lack of evidence of any natural athletic ability and my dedication to art & academics as perfectly good reasons to suck at sports.  besides my brothers were superjocks with giant muscles.  that was obviously "their thing," not mine.

a year and half ago i was in a place of having to re-invent and re-structure a lot of my life, and trying to choose what big changes i could make for a "fresh start."  i decided the most shocking habit i could develop would be to become a runner, something i had openly ridiculed to most everyone who knew me.  now this is an entire long story itself, which i'm happy to tell in detail sometime if anyone's interested, but the short version is:  i ran a marathon a few weeks ago.  

there are plenty of details which may make that story seem more or less of a big deal, but the important part is, this message i had carried in my brain FOREVER about "not being able" to run was some STRAIGHT UP BULLSHIT.  and this post title about your feet being tired from kicking your own ass was a sign i saw on the side of the road along the marathon route.  yes it's cheesy. (i love cheesy, who are we kidding?)  if you are not kicking your own ass, what are you waiting for?

i'm thinking hard about this now.  i'm asking myself the tough questions and looking at my art, this thing that is really MY THING, and trying to clear out whatever false limits have snuck in there to mess with me.  words are so important, even if they're only words you're saying to yourself!  have i been setting up false limits by making wimpy goal statements??  a year ago, (after i got past the point of refusing to visualize the future because i was terrified of latching on to something and feeling destroyed again when it didn't come true), if someone asked me what i wanted i would lamely mumble, "oh... i just want to make art all the time."  and  i was munching some cookies at a gallery opening a few weeks ago with one of my favorite local art dudes, talking about people who "make art all the time" like it was this lofty aspiration.  "wait a second," he said, "isn't that what YOU do?"  WELL, SHIT!  that is what i do, but i am definitely not satisfied with my situation staying like it is right now.  time to think BIGGER.  more specific, more grand, more open to ridiculous abundance and discovering new possibilities.

i laugh when i look at ways i've behaved over the past few years, because i think i "used to be" way ballsier!  in college i was the one at the writing awards luncheon in a neon NKOTB shirt and red cowboy boots while everyone else was in business suits.  i think that summarizes how i feel i fit (and enjoy appearing!) in any group.  as the wise Andrew W.K. has said, "my place in this room is the same as my place in this universe."  wait, i used that quote in my commencement speech, when i had no problem being a giant exclamation point with a microphone in front of thousands of people.  where did THAT girl go??  i'm calling myself out, you guys.  i'm calling myself out on my bullshit and trying to get back to clarifying what i REALLY want to be doing here.  DEATH TO FALSE LIMITS!

i challenge you to do the same.  what is something you've always wanted to do but told yourself you couldn't?  what excuses have you made for not striving for excellence and awesomeness in everything you do?!  what statements have you made about yourself that are not built of facts but actually built of fear and resistance?  break it down.  you can borrow my sledgehammer.  and if you care to discuss it here, you know i'll be your cheerleader too.

"Motivational Speakers" from Betty Turbo

May 3, 2012

March 23, 2012

new paintings

I'm making a mess again! This has been a goal for a while. Kind of felt like I got Etsy tunnel-vision, as much fun as I have making prints of drawings, I'd been craving some Photoshop-free creations. I wanted to return to making larger, more involved originals, and give more attention to gallery shows again. I've also had requests and suggestions to make the original drawings behind some of my art prints available for sale, which kind of gives me hives to be honest, as I never considered them "finished products," but I'm trying to chill out a little! Being totally flawless and smooth is not (necessarily) the point of an original drawing, not to mention most people I've shown them to with excuses about how much they needed to be cleaned up in Photoshop say, "You're joking, right?" Okay, I'm trying to be brave. Two original drawings are now in my Etsy shop, with more to come. This series of paintings (more on my flickr page) are awaiting jurying for a show, so they'll either be on a gallery wall or in my Etsy shop in the next couple months. Hmm, now what!?

February 24, 2012

same sheeeit, different day

did you know i like wrestling and ice cream?? if not, where have you been?! Beth Phoenix drinks your milkshake.

February 2, 2012

the origins of Betty Turbo

Are you ready to go... Inside the Agnes Studio?

Feel free to pretend James Lipton is asking all your questions. Let's begin! The number one question on the minds of Betty Turbo fans today is... What Inspired the Name?

Well. Let us travel back in time. Betty Turbo came into existence in my final year of college at RIT, when most of the work I was creating shifted from photographs to illustrations directly based on photographs. I felt like this change in style made my own vision more clear and deliberate - I could create these "documents" which still somewhat resembled a snapshot aesthetic, but they could be anywhere, and with anyone I wanted. With that in mind, the illustrated "me" needed to be the most awesome, badass, ballsy version of myself possible.

Choosing "Betty" was the easy part. My middle name is Elizabeth after my grandmother, who was called Betty. She is but one of many amazing historical antecedents in my artsy bloodlines. Betty Sabo was a superb baker and also a master of crafting with plastic canvas! This is her:

So my "Betty"character needed a surname to indicate her total radness, and at first I considered "Shred" because it sounded terribly rock & roll, which, as anyone who knew me then will tell you, was all I talked about. But upon further research, I realized "shred betty" is a thing snowboarders say and that would just confuse my meaning. Which brings us to "Turbo." It was a nickname of sorts. It was some goofy inside joke amongst my close friends at the time, I hardly remember the details...

It had to do with that Judas Priest song, didn't it?

Okay. Yes. So, I had already collected several random items with the word "turbo" on them. It was high-engery and extreme sounding! And it also had five letters like Betty, which was promising for pleasing design options. BETTY TURBO was born! And she went around doin' stuff. Like this:

"Reading rebels" 2004

Are you sure you don't have multiple personality disorder?

Betty Turbo has a specific focus, which is achieved partly by sharing parts of myself (Agnes), and partly by adding fiction to reach a level of myth and storytelling, which, while not directly mirrored in "reality," feels more truthful to me in some ways. I can choose when I need to be Betty Turbo. You know, like Batman. Betty Turbo is made up of ideas I solidly believe in, but without the unnecessary accoutrements of anxiety and self-doubt.

Do you want to be greeted in public as Agnes Barton-Sabo or as Betty Turbo? Do people ever confuse the two?

I will answer to either. Sometimes people confuse the two, if they haven't snooped around enough to realize it's an alter ego. Some interviewers specifically request to speak with Betty Turbo (knowing the difference), so those are the ones who get the biography in which I was raised by wolves or grizzly bears. Betty Turbo is me. I just don't always have to be her.

So there ya have it. Next question?? Email me, or chime in on my Facebook fan page! Or follow me on Twitter and ask questions all day long.
Scope out my Etsy shop, or Flickr photos and tell me what you're curious about. Also, if James Lipton is busy, who else should pretend interview me?

January 18, 2012

i'm exploding with enthusiasm

a college friend (who once made a self-portrait out of fruit loops, btw), requested this special drawing to commemorate a real life exploding jar of salsa. i love that my friends think "how can i a preserve this wacky food incident for all time?" and then they come to me... i'll draw your kitchen drama too! it's very therapeutic. for you. trust me. tell Betty Turbo what happened.

January 13, 2012

i still love you!

trying to keep up that awesome holiday momentum and keep making heaps of new stuff! here are a few new valentines (or anytime cards) to get 2012 going in style! keep your eyeballs on my Etsy shop for more!