I woke up this morning with a couple visions in my head for new art involving clowns. Seems timely provided the media’s coming clown fixation (Lady GaGa’s ARTPOP cover art, the upcoming American Horror Story: Freakshow, “Crazy Steve” from IMPACT Wrestling and rumors about who will play “The Joker” next). I have a feeling pop culture is about to enter the funhouse.
The first image I created, titled Clownin’ Around features a clown doing a backward bend. This picture may seem kind of random – but it’s very specifically inspired. I like the idea of a figure in motion, which is something dictated by using a clown as a subject. Next, I thought of the costuming – how does this clown need to look? I didn’t want the image to be overly cliché and feature a frilly body suit. Then, I remembered, about a year ago, I’d sent a tweet to Todd Sanfield (a PharmD student, model and owner of The Todd Sanfield Collection underwear line). I recall asking Todd if he’d ever accept design ideas – because I fully intended to submit a few – but I never did (that’s life in grad school). So, Todd, if you’re reading – consider the underwear featured in Clownin’ Around a submission – and consider the idea for a potential photo shoot or next book possibly titled Circus or Funhouse (like Motel | Hotel, or Virgin Island)?
By choosing to feature the clown in underwear, I’ve provided a homoerotic undertone – which, along with the color scheme, is timely considering it’s National LGBT Pride Month. Finally, I wanted to do a new take on rainbow-colored hair. Why do all clowns have to have gigantic afros that remind me of the Madagascar 3 song, “Afro Circus” (I saved the ‘fro for the second image!)? Without any further ado, I present to you:
(c) 2014, Bobby James
The next piece, titled Straight Jacket was the logical progression for this narrative. What’s the one thing I could do that could drive this clown absolutely mad? Take away his movement and change his hair – essentially transforming him into a generic performer. This image is about confinement and restraint. Despite the clown’s situation though, there is a devious and dastardly smirk. With reference to ARTPOP and Heath Ledger’s “Joker,” I smudged the make-up to provide the illusion of instability. Here is:
(c) 2014, Bobby James
Thanks for reading. Hope you like the work. Let me know!