Artist Profile: Betty Turbo

road warriorsIn Betty Turbo’s world there is no typical day and that’s just the way she likes it. Call her Betty, call her Agnes Barton-Sabo, just call her talented. She describes her art as “Always food. Always popular culture.” She’s into doughnuts, ice cream, and after being asked to commission a wrestler piece she’s continued to learn more about the wrestling culture. “I was interested in the alternate public persona.” Agnes had already created her own alternate persona as Betty Turbo back when she was a senior in college. “Betty Turbo became my super-self. Super-ballsy and brave.”

Brave indeed. Her prints, cards, and even pillows take on Holiday Frank Zappa, Walter White and Jesse with the blue stuff (yes, in pillow form!), vegan macaroni. But don’t think you’ve got her pegged. She covers pepperoni pizza wreaths and even taps into a milkshake-loving Andre the Giant. It doesn’t get better, folks. But then again, yes it does. Agnes says, “I don’t draw any lines. I want to cultivate new audiences to involve people in a bigger discussion. On one level it’s goofy and fun, but then that can be an access point to have conversations about art and shared experiences. How we eat. What we watch. What’s masculine? What’s feminine? What is the expectation.”

twin peaks donutsAfter graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York with a BFA in fine art photography, Agnes went to Nashville, Tennessee to work for Hatch Show Print doing letterpress printing. All of her current work with lettering is hand-drawn. “I was the girl in second grade who’d write people’s names in bubble letters for twenty-five cents.”

As for how the holiday season went, she was relieved to be busy. She finished her holiday prints and cards at the beginning of October. A few weeks back she did a talk at Oregon State University for an honors class, “The Art of Science and the Science of Art.” One of her original paintings was on display in the annual Around Oregon exhibit at the Art Center in October – November of this last year. She just completed artwork for a cookbook and she is currently working on a children’s book. “2013 was really experimental. I do want to have more self-published things. I want to bring my art and writing together.”

Check out more art by Betty Turbo in her Etsy shop at and her website, and witness for yourself how her work comes “Blastin’ out of the funky boombox of my heart.”