Betsy Youngquist: A Sense of the Fantastic

Fig12Betsy Youngquist _Androcles and the Cat_2010_12x22x8[2]Betsy Youngquist’s “ Androcles and the Cat” ( 2010). Size: 12 x 22 x 8 in.  Glass beads and stones, antique porcelain doll parts, vintage prosthetic eyes, urethane foam, unsanded tile grout, sealer.

Mixed media artist Betsy Youngquist is definitely in the business of creating new life forms.  She starts with carefully sculpted shapes (often made by collaborator R. Scott Long) adds doll parts and prosthetic eyes in strikingly unconventional ways, and then clads her creations in luscious beaded mosaic patterns that are reminiscent of fabled Rajahstani carpets.  She calls this work “surrealistic anthropomorphism.”

Androcles and the Cat” is all at once playful, lush, gorgeous and . . . just a tad creepy.  Inspired by the ancient Roman tale of the slave and the lion, here a mouse has removed a horn from a cat’s paw. Youngquist pulls you in with her extraordinary bead mosaic work and cuddly animal shapes and then startles you with those mismatched eyes and baby hands.  There is no way that you can pass by this work without taking a second, third, and maybe even fourth look.  Likewise with Otto.

Fig13Betsy Youngquist _Otto_2010_7x11x17[2]Betsy Youngquist’s “Otto” (2010).  Size: 7 x 11 x 17 in.  Glass beads and stones, antique porcelain doll parts, vintage glass prosthetic eyes, urethane foam, unsanded tile, grout, sealer.

Otto is a proven crowd pleaser and took home a Juror’s Choice award from Mosaic Arts International 2010.  Youngquist’s research into the subject matter took her to the Blue-Ringed Octopus, “the world’s most venomous invertebrate and only 8 inches long.  I like the idea of taking a creature that is feared and turning it into a likable character.  The message here is seeing the beauty in all things.”

Fig14Betsy Youngquist _Otto_2010_7x11x17_Detail1[2]Detail on Betsy Youngquist’s “Otto” (2010).

Youngquist’s work is not for the faint of heart, but belongs in a place where bold thinking, a love of the fantastic and a wry sense of humor are part of everyday life.  


Many of these beautiful artworks are for sale.  Please contact Betsy Youngquist for more information. 


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nancie-pipgras-portrait-crop[7][3] Nancie Mills Pipgras is the Editor of Mosaic Art NOW, an online publication devoted to the very best in contemporary mosaic art and thought.  An unabashed promoter of the art form, Mills Pipgras is a former president of the Society of American Mosaic Artists and has been dubbed “The Mosaic Maven” by  Join the mosaic conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Flipboard.