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Running away to the Art Macabre circus

3 September 2013

First there was Victor – the strong man. Clad in faux bearskin underpants, leather wristbands and exotic touches of black facepaint, he growled his way out to centre stage before an audience of forty artists and struck dramatic one-minute and three-minute poses.

Next came Fevvers – the trapeze artist. In a feather tiara, with green feather-painted eyes, black feathered shoulders, classic fifties trapeze costume, Dr Martens, parasol and a train of ribbons, she stood erect and graceful to be drawn for seven minutes.

Finally came Egon – the skeleton clown. With a white painted face, skull-black eyes, nose and mouth, he wore a white swimming cap and a clown’s ruff, but was otherwise naked from the neck down. He posed for three minutes staring into the eyes of a skull mask, followed by five minutes atop a ladder… with a raven.

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© Art Macabre, Linsay Trerise 2013, all rights reserved www.deathdrawing.com

Raven Rouge – the ringleader – in white tutu, painted skull face, red-glittered nose and jauntily macabre black and red flowered hat, directed and narrated proceedings, whilst ‘It‘ – the saddest clown in the world – took official photographs.

This was the Art Macabre Drawing SalonsCircus of Skeletons‘, 6 August 2013.

Five days before this weirdness, I’d sent a speculative email to ask whether I might be of service to Art Macabre. As fate would have it, not only was the answer affirmative, it also came with an offer of immediate employment. Happiness!

I arrived at the venue, Cass Art in Islington, about an hour early. At the door I was told, “Sorry, we’ve closed as an art shop now.
But,” I enquired, “are you open as a Circus of Skeletons?
Yes!” came the beaming reply.

Words I never imagined I might one day utter: “I am one of your skeletons.

Indeed, I was to be Egon.

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© Art Macabre, Linsay Trerise 2013, all rights reserved www.deathdrawing.com

After our individual poses Raven Rouge brought us back as the family of skeletons for a ten-minute mini tableau. Fevvers was centre stage, Egon perched on a table to one side, forlornly proffering plastic flowers, while Victor sat at the other side turning the other cheek.

After a short break, for novelty we all mugged our family portrait faces whilst Raven Rouge commanded the artists to draw whilst holding hands with the person next to them. This was a real life drawing ice breaker, if ever I’d seen one.

Our finale was a long “after the show” pose, imagining Fevvers in her dressing room, Victor putting his feet up with newspaper and sandwich, and Egon cross-legged with his favourite pet raven now in its cage. It all went splendidly well and when at last we moved again it was to the sound of warm applause.

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© Art Macabre, Linsay Trerise 2013, all rights reserved www.deathdrawing.com

Raven Rouge invited the artists to lay out their works for all to admire. And certainly there were some very admirable works among them. Two artists in particular – a tall gentleman whose name escaped me, and Emma Alexandra Watts, resplendent with green-hair – had truly excelled.

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After the artists had drifted off home we all posed together for group photos. I washed off my skull face paint (the black eye paint stubbornly remained like mascara, which I rather liked) and helped the others to pack away numerous seats and props.

A thoroughly entertaining evening was rounded off with beer and wine at the Wenlock and Essex, before we all called it a night. I left in keen anticipation of more grimness and greasepaint with Art Macabre Drawing Salons.

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