Circus series - my inspiration

circus series

I have always had a fascination for the circus, and in particular, the surreal, fantasy aspect that emanates through the visual stereotypes we see in the older vintage style images. Circus entertainment is anchored in pure escapism and the possibility of witnessing the impossible. Circus performer lifestyle is intriguing in its surrealness, and we are always left wondering what kind of life these enigmatic and sometimes sad characters lead.

This series of digital images have been created with a combination of photographed objects, paper cut outs, landscape photos, textures, and Photoshop tools to render these colourful and magical artworks. The circus characters were made with dolly pegs, fabric, molding clay, craft bits, and imagination. The circus tents, forest trees, lions cage are made from paper. (See the Circus series here.)

After venturing back into photography after many years, I invested in a canon 5D mark II camera and a bunch of lenses. The immediacy of taking a photograph really appealed to me after spending many weeks finding the time to finish just one painting. I had no idea at this stage exactly where this medium would lead me.

I wanted to look at ways of combining art and photography and I wanted to explore the concept of creating miniature worlds. I started to look for images and artists to provide me with ideas and more importantly inspiration. I went to Flickr, Pinterest, 500px and many other photography and art websites that have communities of amazingly creative individuals. I am so grateful that the world really is full of talented artists.

I started creating and photographing objects made  from plasticine, paper, and other craft materials from anything that inspired me. I used Photoshop to enhance my images further. Then I discovered dolly pegs. I was struck by inspiration soon after this to create circus characters and tiny circus scenes. I have always been fascinated by circus performers and have created other artwork focusing on this subject. This led to many weeks of creating tiny circus people using fabric, paper, paint, corks, modelling clay and an array of other craft materials. I also created paper tents and forests to use as part of my scenes.

I have, over the years and at various times, created circus characters as lino prints, pastel drawings and digital paintings. I love the old-worldy feel about the circus, the intrigue and magic that the characters evoke. In my circus imagery, the vision was to capture a surreal, dreamlike quality, that is both mysterious and dark, beautiful and haunting. The doll-like characters add a childlike naivety to the scenes, and help to create a story in every image, which take on a life of their own. I wanted each scene to feel like it could be an animation still, and the vintage look and dark landscapes to capture a quirky moment within a journey.

Although I initially imagined just circus scenes, the project evolved with the use of Photoshop to the creation of other types of fantasy landscapes incorporating photographs of outdoor locations montaged with a series of other objects but always including the circus characters as the focus of every art work. In this imagery I have tried to captured a surreal, dreamlike quality, that is both mysterious and dark, beautiful and haunting. The doll-like characters add a childlike naivety to the scenes, and help to create a story in every image. The vintage look and dark, sometimes creepy landscapes capture a quirky moment in time.

Next!!!!

October 01, 2013 by Carrie Webster
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