Friday, March 5, 2010

Big Top Magic

There is something very thrilling and a little scary about circuses, carnivals and traveling shows; Whenever those trailers come to town, and tents start going up, like a tiny city lit by thousands of colored lights, you can't resist the pull of it. The strange klezmer music, the people in cheery, yet sort of creepy makeup and costumes lure you like a scary movie . The biggest thrill of course, is the RIDES. That's what separates the brave from the cowards. To ride on every single ride at least once is a true badge of courage, where I come from. Carnival and circus rides just seem scarier when compared to the rides at amusement parks. They travel thousands of miles on trucks, from town to town, and are put up and torn down, over and over again. They often look a little worse for the wear, too. Just enough rust and flaking paint to give you the chills as you stand in line, waiting your turn.
I have always loved carnivals at night--they seem all that much more magical. Riding the High Roller coaster or the ferris wheel at night when all the lights are lit is as good as it gets. The blur of the lights as the rides roar through the air, whirling, twirling and hurtling through space, as screams and laughter pierce the night air. The combined smell of cotton candy, popcorn, corn dogs and beer wafts through the breeze--the aroma of sinful delights. Far below, the carnies shout out their temptations: Ring Toss! 4 for a dollar! Drown the Clown in the dunk tank: 10 balls for 2 dollars! See The Great Firenzo, the fire magician: Show starts in five minutes in the red tent!
For some reason, lately these are the images that have been drifting through my dreams, so I created these two paintings which can be hung together or separately. One is a continuation of the other, but each holds it own individual charm. the one with the ferris wheel is nearly twice the size of the one with the High Roller coaster, and the smaller one is 2 inches thick where the larger one is 1 inch thick. I work with what I have. It all adds to the funky offbeat festiveness.
Perhaps I am drawn to carnivals because I love color so much. I always seem to paint in carnival colors.....

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