This local’s art career continues to blossom as her infamous PhoebeNewYork pop-art pieces make their way to a Denmark museum.
“Overload (PhoebeNewYork),” cutout, 78 by 30 inches
Many are familiar with Bryn Mawr native and artist Elizabeth Schoettle’s (libbyschoettle.com) alter ego, PhoebeNewYork: a round-faced, paper doll-like character pasted on canvases like buildings and street lamps throughout the Big Apple. Conceptualized in the early 2000s, the sassy character is familiar for those who spend time in downtown Manhattan, and is often made from pieces of magazines, vintage photographs and clothing—among other materials. “Phoebe is everything I am and all the things I cannot be,” Schoettle says, noting that the alter ego has helped her to overcome insecurities and comfortably express herself. In turn, the icon embodies Schoettle’s love for New York City and fashion as she dons couture with graphic phrases like “Rebel,” “Fear Nothing” and “Be Confident.”
Now, Phoebe has gone international with an exhibit titled MY PAPER WORLD: PhoebeNewYork, at the Horsens Kunstmuseum (horsenskunstmuseum.dk) in Denmark. Over 600 works of Phoebe art arrived at the museum in February 2020 and are on display through February 20, 2022.
While the exhibit follows PhoebeNewYork’s evolution, it also documents Schoettle’s career progression. She may be a Main Liner, but New York City is where Phoebe was born. “Finding New York was like falling in love,” she explains. “This city gives me life to create art.” As Phoebe personified in ripped magazine pages and photographs, Schoettle transitioned from introvert to artist, learning to value the wrinkles and tears in her life. “Art isn’t perfect, and it helps me to see imperfections in myself as beautiful,” she notes.
Seventeen years into her career, the Horsens exhibit is a surreal experience for Schoettle. “I think my whole life has been made up of looking for a certain feeling and purpose, and I know I have found it,” she says. With Schoettle’s passion for her paper doll, there’s no knowing where Phoebe will go next, but we can be certain of one thing: It’s Phoebe’s paper world, and we’re just living in it.