circus of wonders

Posted by on Apr 12, 2012 in Illustration, Maine College of Art | 0 comments

It must be spring. Illustration 2 students are warming up for their final project: a circus poster.
With the Shriners Circus due in town next week, we drew from a model who was a ringmaster, a clown, and strong man in the eyes of the class. I made the above drawing pretty quickly.

Chris Snowman drew this on a Wacom tablet, upon being handed a small plastic animal toy. I asked students to incorporate one somehow in relation to the figure.

Here’s a drawing by Morgan Cremins:

Below, Lucas gets loose with brush and ink, and the idea of looking but also imagining.

The model didn’t have a unicycle, but Shannon Owen thought he should, turning a static pose into a humorous sketch.

A top hat is one prop that conjures up many things.

Directly after class, I headed to Victoria Mansion, a magical journey into another time and place.
I’d heard all sorts of good buzz about their current installation, Wonderama, which proved more than worthy.


This inspired convergence of art and history is only in place for another week, but hopefully will be the seed for many more dialogues between an historical institution and contemporary artists.

Interior photography is forbidden: you really MUST see it to believe it. The pairings of sculpture, photography, paper cuts, and narrative installations will beguile you beyond belief.

A favorite feature was the time machine, outside.

It’s perhaps a cross between a gondola and the Tardis, only more ingenuous. This piece by Christian Matzke features thoughtful touches slyly interpreting steam punk parallels to human travel and communication.

Isn’t this communication center the most endearing device?

I’m looking back into a fantastical future here, thanks to docent Kathie Schneider, who gave me a personal tour on a quiet Wednesday afternoon.

Flash back to Tuesday, when I had a taste of tomorrow during Scott Nash’s “Drawriting” workshop at the Telling Room in Portland.

He demonstrated the fundamentals of drawing and writing with iPads for brainstorming a fluid blend of visual and word ideas.

I’m a died-in-the-wool analog girl, but took fairly easily to sketching with the stylus. My pal Richard Goldberg and I had great fun creating characters from simple features.

This was right on the heels of another demo earlier in the day at Maine College of Art. On behalf of the Pastel Painters of Maine, Wade Zahares shared his methods of madness with pure pigment dust.

He draws bodily, creating sweeping perspectives with dynamic spaces.

Working in bold colors, he blends wearing latex gloves, defining crisp edges that seem to defy the medium.

I’m entirely jazzed by such a mix of inspirations, tools, techniques. Thanks, Wade, Scott, and
the wondrous cast of artists at Victoria Mansion!

Now it’s time travels for realz: we’re off to London tomorrow.


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