Wednesday, June 27, 2007


When the kids were younger, we visited the Circus.
I took the mighty SLR and snapped a few shots.
I was always fascinated by the sense of atmosphere
and lighting in the tent.
Little faces all focused on the centre ring.
The bizarre little performers eking out a living.
The weird shadows and sad clowns on the fringes.
This drawing is really based on the impressed
memory of those photos.
Sort of a combine of various snaps of a burlesque event.
The original photos were coloured, but for some reason
I remember printing black and whites.
Maybe, I was influenced by all those weird carny/circus films
we watched as kids, on black and white TV's in the sixties.
Anyway, this quick sketch suggests a whole potential
series. A potential wonderland of animals,
carnies, acrobats, bearded ladies, and circus tents etc.
I know it's been done before, but I would like to
one day, portray the bizarre, darker side of circus life.

Circus Performer


  1. so that;s what you've been doing...the new look is smart and edgy. I thought perhaps you were jumping ship to your oz artists blog.
    Sideshows and tacky freakshows are especially seductive as subject matter to me. No surprises there. I made a whole series in the 70's based on the bearded lady,hermaphrodites, strange animals etc. Lost all the slides to my SOB ex husband and had to leave the actual work -too poor to pay for transportation. It wasn't that good. Circus performers have always inspired painters.

  2. We have had the nephews and nieces up from Brisbane.Been making up bed time stories for them and going for walks in the rain. This circus drawing must have been drawn in the early nineties. It was actually meant to be a start of a different series. But I must have got diverted somehow. Too many fractures too many fragments, too many events and pieces to put me together again.

  3. Your bedtime stories are scary , David. I'm sure Tom still has nightmares about giant teddybears coming in at the window. We have been visiting him + girlfriend down in the big smoke this week, it's cute to see them so happy being domestic.

    Have you seen prints of acrobats etc by George Baldessin circa 1980's, there's a show at local gallery here of his work and others associated with him.

  4. I know the artist but can't recall the acrobat ones. There was a photo exhibition of carnies in Melbourne when I was down, Chris and I had a quick look. The nephew and niece did get Big Ted stories. One about a giant toad that drank all the water between Caloundra and Bribie Island.
    And another about a giant snake unburied at the base of Uluru, that comes back to life. Big Ted saves the day of course , with the help of the nephew and niece and their special whistles that only Big Ted can hear. The mountain walk was to the base of Beerburrum to show where Big Ted lives. Poor kids have psychological damage now.


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