Saturday, January 17, 2009

PT Barnum did not say........There's A Sucker Born Every Minute................

But, I should............ because that would be me when it comes to the games of the carnival and the circus......and the cast of characters associated with both. In fact........I love all kinds of games! You name it......... board games, card games, competition/skill games, casino games, games of wit/in real life, parlor games from the past and otherwise. I love to incorporate games/and game pieces in my art, (but more on that in a later post.) Some of my favorite images to draw inspiration are from carnival/circus games. I guess part of the fascination with the carnival/circus in general, their games, and characters is that chance is involved, and the nomadic way of it the Gypsy muse..............oh, I like them too!
These are authentic carnival knock downs, or circus punks, as they are sometimes called. This type of carnival game has been around for over a hundred years. They are painted filled canvas, nailed to a wooden base.

What makes all of the knock downs unique is that they were handmade by the Carney people themselves as needed, and were all hand-painted. There was a great variety in their they are truly one-of-a-kind. The paint they used was usually some of the left over paint they had used to paint signs, or back drops. Sometimes the Carney artist would paint features that reminded them of one of their co-workers, and might even attach that person's name to the piece.

Below are my versions of knock downs..................
.......these knock downs appeared on my very first blog post.
Here are a couple more versions.......what I like is the freedom you have in their design. Some Halloween knockdowns have been recently added behind my blog title at the top of the page......complete with the pumpkin bean bags to knock them down. In the real Carney game, baseballs were thrown at the knockdowns.
They had a hard life and took quite a it took some skill to knock them down, because of their fuzzy edges. Today knock downs are considered to be a form of American folk art. Everyone should try their hand at creating some knock downs.....besides being fun one-of-a-kind can take your aggression out on them........especially during tax season. I have made them desk size before......with their own little bean bags.
Old knock downs above challenge you to knock some out, and then knock them down!

As a testament, or to my shame of how much I like games........... I once held my daughter's friends hostage in order to play games. They came on an invitation to eat my once a year blackberry pie........but I made them play games first, for hours, before the pie was served. To this day I am reminded about this incident. So, if you are invited to my home............remember it is the House of Games.........and not bored games!

In the best circus lingo.......yes, they do have their own lingo.........until our next BALLYHOO......which means here's to the next free show given outside the side show to attract a crowd of potential patrons.


Karen from A`Musements said...

Your circus "punks" are my FAVORITE thing you "do" and P.T. would love them, too..... Your work always carries your whimsy and your fondness for a good pun, so the "knock downs" are the PERFECT creation to embue with your personal touch. Thanks for showing your original works that were in your first post.... What a fun, fun thing to see (again!)

Celestial Charms said...

Fabulous post! I enjoy reading about subjects I know absolutely nothing about. It adds to my "you learn something new every day list."
Someday, I hope to learn more on Circus Lingo! I bet there are some great expressions.

Anonymous said...

You know, we're over fifty. You'd think you'd be over playing games and just be honest with yourself. Oh, wait. What?? Oh....not THAT kind of game. Sorry. I need to get a clue.
Colonel Mustard

Marcie said...