Freak Show

freak show exhibition

Freak Show.

creepy scary clown portrait painting

Dissected Clown. Mixed media - transparent vinyl, pencil and acrylic on paper.

spitting clown portrait painting

Kafka the Clown. Mixed media - pastel, spraypaint and acrylic on paper.

skeleton elephant

Skelephant. Mixed media - pastel, pencil and acrylic on paper.

roll up toll up

Roll Up Toll Up. Mixed media - pastel, pencil and acrylic on paper.

flea circus poster

clown circus poster

I decided to use the Flea circus as a starting point for my illustrations. Flea performances were first advertised as early as 1833 in England, and were a main carnival attraction until 1930. Some flea circuses persisted in very small venues in the United States as late as the 1960s.

I had read about 'The Death of the Flea Circus Director' by Thomas Koerfer, a movie in which the main protagonist loses his performing fleas in a crop- spraying operation, seeks compensation from the sort of government agencies where fleas would never be found, and after a chance encounter with a macabre village pageant transforms his enterprise into a theatre of the plague.

It was fleas that carried the Bubonic Plague in the middle ages which lived on the backs of Black Rats, and I liked the idea of a Flea circus travelling around giving all the audience members and circus performers the Plague.

The second idea that drifted in to the mix was Frank Kafka's 'Metamorphosis' about a man that wakes up finding himself transformed into an insect. He is ostracized from society - much like people who were born with genetic abnormalities and were forced to make a living from circus 'Freak Shows' and the like, in the late 1800s onwards.

You can read what the press had to say in the Press section.

These artworks are for sale. Please contact me for more information or a quote.