I used to love going to the circus as a kid and my favorite performers were the elephants. I decided to doodlewash a baby elephant because while I was thinking about elephants and circuses the Henry Mancini song popped into my head. Since there’s no way to show scale in a single object drawing, I’m not sure if the baby is coming across. I decided to go fast and loose with this one and I opted for a very limited palette of Burnt Sienna, Neutral Tint, and Dioxazine Purple.
Philippe says we can’t go to the circus anymore, not because we’re far too old, but because he doesn’t think they treat the animals well. I admitted that the tigers looked pretty pissed, but the elephants always seemed to be having a wonderful time and truly proud of their performance. I was assured that this was not the case, but I still like to think of elephants as the world’s fattest and most lovable performance artists.
I was an actor during college and taking on whatever gigs I could find in order to put food on the table and buy crap I should never have eaten. One day, memories of my childhood circus love came rushing back when I was asked to be a clown for the grand opening of a major restaurant chain. I, of course, said yes without thinking about it.
I was thrilled to have the work and immediately imagined myself as the next star clown on the circuit (whatever the clown circuit was, as I wasn’t entirely sure). But I knew I would rock it and thought this could really be a great new direction for me.
There were, of course, two very important problems I hadn’t considered. First, I am terribly afraid of clowns and as it turns out, so are many other people. Second, I had absolutely no idea how to apply clown makeup and this gig did not come with a stylist or any idea of what this newly formed character should look like.
The only clowns I remembered well were the ones from horror movies I watched in high school. So with those images still etched firmly into my brain, I jumped in and enthusiastically applied my greasepaint. The outcome was, in a word – terrifying.
I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror after putting on the costume and makeup. And I spent the better part of the day feebly apologizing to parents as I created what was sure to be permanent, lasting, and expensive psychological damage to their kids.
That marked the end of my short clown career, but it was probably for the best. Yet the child inside me still loves the circus and elephants, even if he’s still not a fan of clowns. And in my imagination, these awesome creatures will always be fabulous performers who enjoy attention to the delight of children everywhere. Something I wished I had been able to pull off as a clown. We can’t always be good at everything we try. But that doesn’t stop me. At least the memories are always worth it in the end!