The desire to rub a fictional reality up against the everyday probably best describes what drives my practice.
Over the last couple of years I have been creating a series of characters to populate an imaginary circus. Initially the ideas of spectacle and facade drove these brilliantly coloured and patterned performers to distort themselves for their audience, showing off their luxurious paint and vibrant palette. The heightened colour and textured surface mirrored the exhibition of display and theatricality associated with performance and the circus.
Recently I have followed the characters into a more domestic sphere. Andrew McConnell Smith’s The Pantomime Life of Joseph Grimaldi, with its enduring image of the celebrated clown performing his last benefit from a chair, influenced the introduction of a new character: The Sitting Clown. And with his emergence came the foundation of an entire clown dynasty: The Cluen Family.
The Cluen Family Tree is a collection of 19 portraits representing members of The Cluen Family, including favorites: Uncle Tony, The One Armed Strongman and Bozo, The Clown Who Ran Away. It is accompanied by a book by Bella Lordwarf (anagram of Flora Bradwell) detailing the intrigues and tragedies of this great and fabricated family. Here the convention of portraiture is subverted in order to take the viewer into the imagined reality of this strange Clown dynasty.
I am now branching into two new series, both offshoots from the Cluen Family Tree. One is a succession of group family portraits and the other follows the Infamous Pyramid Gang, the last members of the Cluen Family as they go about their daily life in North London.