Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Circus of Silhouettes

   I have always liked the old carnival side show scene; the Barkers, the freak shows, the strange desire to see something you know isn't quite real, the seedy atmosphere and the darkened tents full of people wanting to see but not be seen, the tawdry attractions and poorly glimpsed weirdities.
   So here is my homage to the old time classic side show attraction.  All artwork is shown here framed and hanging on a wall.  I have formatted the art to look like it is painted on a canvas banner stretched across a tent.  Lots of weathering and distressing to give it age and a bit of "grunge" (just like the real thing.
   My Circus of Silhouettes is from right around the turn of the century, the twentieth century that is.  Vintage Americana.

This is the first one I created, the Dog Faced Man.  I imagine that he is a bit of a dandy.  

          This is my second image, the famous Two Headed sisters Tilly and Trudy (real people from 1905).  Apparently, Trudy was very shy and had to be coaxed to perform by her "sister" Tilly (her other half); hence the parasol to hide behind.
                              What carnival would be complete without it's own Strong Man?  You gotta love the old waxed handlebar mustaches these guys sported.

This is one of my favorites, the Elephant Man (not the guy from the movie).  I imagine he is a gentleman here (note the pocket handkerchief and bowler hat in hand).

Every side show has it's own Fiji Mermaid.  They are never as beautiful as you think they are going to be.  If you don't believe me, look it up.  The banners would always emphasize the traditional notion of a mermaid; beautiful and seductive.  But the real "Fiji Mermaid" was a gruesome stuffed mummy that looked like half dog, half fish.  As  you can see, I went for the beautiful and seductive look here.

                   And finally, the star of the show, the glamorous and beautiful High Wire Helena!  You gotta have at least one beautiful act amongst all the freaks and oddities, its a tradition.  This is the only one of the series that is not if full profile, her face is turned more of three quarter look.  I wanted some variety and you don't always have to show everything to carry a likeness.

All are available at my Etsy Store.