I’m always searching for ideas. Something to ignite my imagination. Though I’m never sure how, why or where the ideas spring from.
I keep abreast of what others around the world are painting and lately I stumbled upon work by Park Min Joon. He’s a South Korean painter and it’s his oeuvre that inspired this work.
The ‘circus performer’ subject matter appears in his work. But my take is markedly different.
There’s no rhyme nor reason to this one, it’s simply a notion that just grew and grew.
Because the entire work is fictional, imagined and totally made-up, once begun it’s not a journey for the faint-hearted!
Obviously the characters are ‘circus performers’ from some time in the early years of the 20th century. They’re gathered in a courtyard, possibly somewhere in France.
First I need to create a scene, a realistic background, against which my story can unfold.
Then I need to discover the characters who are going to inhabit my story and, individually, play their part.
So I have to rely on found images, archival reference, old photo’s – whatever helps – to conjure up the end result.
And this is where years of doin’ stuff pays off! Years of creating visuals for clients in advertising, rock ‘n’ roll the movies. It pays off in the end.
The female juggler for example. How do you get the hands throwing Indian clubs to be figuratively correct?
Well, you have to go out find a juggler and ask ’em if they’d mind you photographing them while they’re jugglin’.
And how big is a brown bear when it’s standing in front of it’s, not-particularly-tall, bald trainer?
Of course, I could have included well-known circus animals – ring-tailed lemurs, moles, boiler-makers, hippos, chameleons, badgers, yeti – then I thought maybe they’d have had a gorilla, so….
‘Life’s a Circus’ is the title and pretty much sums up the effort required to pull this picture together. Especially trying to get the gorilla to sit still!
Was it worth it? You be the judge and ringmaster!
Life's a Circus
152.4 cms width x 76.3 cms height
Acrylic on Canvas