Missy’s website now live!!!


Missy wanted to be Cynthia Rhodes when she grew up. Life not always throwing the right kind of lemons, she instead trained in ballet, gymnastics and dance (as well as a good healthy dose of Fine Art Theory and History thrown in) – and has become one of the Southern Hemisphere’s top cabaret pole dancers.

It was clear early on that Missy is definitely not in the tacky plastic shoes, flat alcopops and bad r n b school of pole dance. It was clear we going to have some fun creating a look that instantly shows this distinction.

The site feel takes a lot from the silent movie era. It is hard to say exactly how this came about, but we talked a lot and had a common love of Weimar era styling. In fact, her formidable Art History knowledge, insight and sense of aesthetic set the tone and benchmark for this project. Whilst we didn’t want to directly copy a particular vintage design, the sense of romance and drama and magic of was definitely high on the list for the new website look.

The site homepage sets the stage for what Missy is about. Instantly distinctive, with an elegant image of her effortlessly posed on the pole. It is one of the most minimal homepages I have produced, with hardly any text – letting the imagery speak. On pressing Enter, the homepage flickers and fades away in almost the blink of an eye to show the new page. It is

The site details are based on 1920s ornamentation. The thumbnail images on the news page are small porthole pictures in Black and White. They softly saturate to full colour when you roll over them.

The menu bar takes cues from early movie theatres, and the calendar and gallery are styled in a panelled ‘leather’ upholstery.

Technically and artistically, this has been an extremely challenging site to make. The lack of text on the homepage is anathema to modern SEO compliant sites. I took a cue from live performance and theatre to get around this. The homepage is actually a ‘curtain’. When you enter the site, the homepage magically fades away to reveal the news page. The site, and search text is, essentially in waiting behind this curtain.

This site is the first one I have produced with the new WordPress TwentyTwelve as the parent theme. This particular theme is actually so new, I had to search around to find a download link for it. TwentyTwelve proved to be a perfect partner to the project for its own elegant and lean coding.

The calendar uses schema.org coding for perfect visibility on Google’s event searches.

Back to Missy, she is an extremely enigmatic person and performer. Her work on the pole is distinctive and quite unlike other performers. Go and see her in a show (check out the calendar page!), or if you are a promoter, hire her now, you need her in your show!

See the Artballs portfolio for Missy here

Australian Burlesque Festival 2012 Pre-purchase passes available -10% discount!

The Australian Burlesque Festival is the bigger than ever this year – covering 6 cities and ten shows.

Special pre-purchase passes are now available for Melbourne and Sydney, saving you 10% on the price of the shows.

This years festival features top international stars:

And homegrown stars:

And of course, the festival hosts:

Discount festival passes are available here.


Australian Burlesque Festival 2012 redesign complete!!!

The Australian Burlesque Festival is back! Bigger an better than ever. Now in it’s third year, and with more cities added.

The ABF team wanted something more grown up this year. They worked with Kathy St. Clair (check out her postcards) to produce the logo rework and titling, then Artballs used the branding colour scheme and created new site layouts.

The site was extremely successful last year, and as mentioned here, top of Google for a lot of Australian Burlesque related search terms. This is in part due to SEO management being an integral part of the site structure (admittedly it is also in part of Artballs nagging advising the team to post more! 😉

The site flow has been turbocharged based on looking at the site analytics. The site still features the ‘high street’ banner system from last year. This is basically a cute looking column of banner ads (not showing on this screengrab – 2012 sponsors live shortly!). Rather than have annoying and intrusive ads within the page, Artballs came up with the High Street idea – of  putting all the banners together, all on, all the time. Audacious, but it had the feel of shopping on a high street, hence the clever name!

The ads were very positively received displayed in this way and got huge click throughs.

If your business is involved in burlesque, cabaret, costume or make up (headline sponsor was Illamasqua last year), his site is THE top online advertising/sponsorship destination in Australia right now.

Just Google ‘Australian Burlesque’ if you don’t believe us!

Now here’s the really fun stuff. The site navigation has been improved. It is easier to navigate and find things, and on the back, easier to update too – bonus!

Each city was represented in the header last year, and this year we had the cunning idea of incorporating the city names directly into a secondary ‘Buy Tickets’menu bar. We used a 1930s style ‘feathered’ ticket office arrow to give it that subtle ‘romance of travelling’ hint! So, you not only see which cities the festival comes to this year, but the city names are functional too!


Australian Burlesque Festival 2012 sitelinks





The menu code design improves Google sitelinks – Buy tickets now shows – pow!

The slideshow is fully iPad/touchscreen compatible and the description text (showing on the Google screengrab) is lifted straight out of the user editable animated slidewhow – see SEO built right in!


Our favourite feature is the map – which features event dates and ticket links. We think it is the easiest ticket system we’ve ever come across! You just roll over the city stars and the show dates magically appear. Clicking the star gives you full show info and a ticket link. Voila!

Trumpet blowing, but Artballs is about innovation and fun.

If you are in Australia between 7th–24th of June, the Australian Burlesque Festival is the hottest ticket in town.

Australian Burlesque Festival 2012 website

Wanna see the old site?

Australian Burlesque Festival 2011 site design

Sapphira xmas card

Sapphira, one of Australia’s best known burlesque artists and teachers (and co-producer for Australian Burlesque Festival 2011) wanted something a bit cheeky, cheesecake and retro for her Christmas card. My first thought for an xmas card was ‘snow’. You’ve got to have snow on an xmas crd, right? Well, not in Australia you don’t – it can be 45 Celsius on the 25th of December! I must admit this was a bit of a challenge to a Brit used to the ‘festive season’ being pretty parky.

The chosen colours are reminiscent of ice cream. This in turn allowed me to use beautiful snowflake patterns. The resulting design suits the Aussies, viewing their xmas cards through a pair of sunglasses with a cold Cooper’s in hand, but remains firmly… festive in the good old British sense!


Doloresdaiquiri.com now live!!!

Dolores Daiquiri is a a very prolific performer based in Melbourne. She co-runs the Australian Burlesque Festival with Sapphira and Rosy Rabbit.

The site features a slide up ‘safety curtain’ on the splash page. The curtain slides up under a diaphanous menu bar. It sounds like a bit of frippery, but actually, it allows for a heavily visual splash page, but also keeps the news posts on the home page for good search engine visibility.

The pages all scroll up under the header, giving a very theatrical feel to the site.


Australian Burlesque Festival 2011 site top hit on Google

The recent site build and design we made for the Australian Burlesque Festival features some advanced SEO features and keyword system.

Having made many burlesque, showgirl and performer sites, we know how tough it is to get your site seen on search engines. It takes a bit of hard work, a bit of cunning – especially with ‘generic’ keywords, but the above shows that careful site architecture can really boost your site presence. It is much more cost effective in the long run to engineer your site with this technology, rather than constantly have to artificially boost it by paying for keywords.

The Australian Burlesque Festival runs over a short period between May and June every year and it is important for it to have premium web presence prior to the festival dates. The tickets page and festival information get the highest traffic on the site itself, and the site now shows as the first hit on Google! 🙂

Check out the site that Artballs built at:


Sapphira’s burlesque course poster

Sapphira wanted a new poster design to advertise her prolific burlesque teaching across Melbourne. She runs five classes a week in five locations. Somehow we needed to get all of this information onto a poster, as well as making it exciting and easy to read – and enticing!

The design is an extension of the work we’ve done remaking her website. Anyone who knows me knows that I want every poster I make to be nice enough to put up at home too. The design is a loose take on a late 40s–early 50s music hall poster. I didn’t want to get too tied down to looking completely vintage (especially as the Sapphira logo has a more contemporary classic look), but I did want to capture the excitement of live performance, and of course Sapphira’s favourite word of the moment – razzmatazz!

For more information on the burlesque courses, see misssapphira.com.


misssapphira.com now live!!!

Sapphira - Tease

So, hot on the heels of the recent design we made for australianburlesquefest.com, we continue the burlesque theme, we are delighted to present Sapphira’s new website!

Sapphira wanted a distinct site to replace the site she’d made in iWeb. She’d done a great job with it, but anyone who has used iWeb knows that beyond a few basic design tweaks, it really is the Fisher Price toy of web design, so…

We looked at a lot of sites together. Well, over Skype as Sapphira is in Melbourne and I am in London – and narrowed down a list of site features that she wanted.

Sapphira wanted razzmatazz, red curtains, butterflies, (Callithea Sapphira, of course!).

So, with the operative word being razzmatazz, I decided to see if I could put all those elements together, and still keep the look showy, but elegant and easy to navigate.

We came up with the ‘postcard header’ idea. Sapphira has some really great photos that show off her personality. Each page features a different photograph and a different aspect of her persona.

We also put in the butterflies AND covered them in glitter!

The site features some lovely if subtly and slightly geeky other features, but the main points are that it is easy to manage and update. Homepage news can be updated in moments, there is a form builder for Sapphira’s showgirl classes, so she can make her own online enrolment forms.

Sapphira runs her own burlesque academy called Sapphira’s Showgirls. She also co-promotes the Australian Burlesque Festival (27th May–12th June, see australianburlesquefest.com for details)… She is also a damn fine singer. You can see and hear more of her on the new website:




Scarlett Jezebel gets a new website by Artballs

Scarlett Jezebel

Scarlett Jezebel new web design

Scarlett Jezebel, Swinging socialite, original it girl and remote royal.

Scarlett is part of the famed Southern Belles burlesque troupe. She is now working solo – mainly in Tasmania and the East Coast of Australia at present. Although from the UK, she is based in Tasmania – the land of ghosts, cannibals and rednecks (so she tells me).

Scarlett showed me some rough ideas as a starting point. The colour scheme, as you can see by the wig and feather combo on the homepage, was never going to be an issue: Red, bright red, and black… with a hint of gold and white.

I wanted to create something visually striking – that matches the vivaciousness of Scarlett’s character. Some of Scarlett’s shows and outfits are modern looking, so I didn’t want to go completely vintage on the look.

The design is very stripped down and features gigantic {} curly brackets – yes, that is their real name, as the main theme feature. They appear to have movement in them, which seems appropriate for burlesque dancing.

The static Scarlett picture on the top right changes with each page!!

The site features a simple shop for Scarlett’s home made pasties and garters. Because her items are low run (or one off), there is a stock counter that will show the item as out of stock once it is sold out.

Artballs Innovation

The site has the usual Artballs simple to update aspects, but this one features a new innovation. Many of the performers I’ve made sites for have a lot of photos on Facebook when they start out. It is the cheapest possible promotion of course! By the time they get big enough to have their own sites, they sometimes have hundreds of photos on a Facebook page. With this in mind, Scarlett’s site actually ‘gets’ the photos from Facebook. This means that when she updates a Facebook photo gallery, they automatically update on the website too!

Scarlett is a prolific performer. The show list is very easy to update. A subscribe button allows her fans to get automatic updates and show details on their Google or iCal calendars too!

Oh, did I say? It works on an iPhone too!

Sarina Del Fuego – new website design!

Sarina Del FuegoSarina Del Fuego is one of Australia’s most prolific showgirl performers. She has performed not only in Australia, but in New York, London and beyond.

Artballs have designed a website that suits her sparkly, glittery and feathery career. The site features deco architectural detailing and a striking colour scheme.

Sarina’s busy diary and calendar can be updated very easily whilst on the move. Sarina is in full control of the content adding new images, fan art, events and diary posts whenever she can in her busy schedule.

Please visit: www.sarinadelfuego.com

Mr Kite

Mr Kite's Birthday Party

One Deep Breath decided to have an ambitious second birthday event. The theme was a mix of dark and dirty Victorian style circus and a little Sergeant Pepper for seasoning.

I helped to bring in circus style acts for the night, which included a Punch & Judy show, old timers band playing bluegrass, fortune teller, badge making, a burlesque double act, as well as performing four sets of my own as Billy Spoons (with Billy Shears), and with my band, Mitzi Caspar.

I also designed some of the artwork, including the invite, which is made from a an original Victorian circus poster and features typefaces from the period to reflect the new event.

John Pole, Punch & Judy

Billy Spoons & Billy Shears, bawdy country, rock n roll and folk classics in a cockney/sarf london style

messrs C. Finer & the old timers , bluegrass and appalachian tunes, down from the mountain.


rope dancer

badge making

fortune telling