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Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Brighton artist drawn to clowning

Curtis Tappenden, self-portrait
from: brightonandhovenews.org
August 21st, 2012
Curtis Tappenden didn’t run away with the circus. He saw one setting up close to where he was working and just strolled over.
He was teaching at the time and wanted to ask whether he and his students could come and sketch.
And he’s been drawn to drawing scenes and characters in circuses ever since.


Curtis Tappenden, left, clowning around
In the past few days, thousands of people have seen his sketches of clowns when they have been to Zippos Circus on Hove Lawns where every year it sets up its ring.
And on opening night, last Thursday, Mr Tappenden was there with his sketch pad in hand, watching and working.
He said: “I’m always sketching. It’s like a compulsion. I do it on trains, in queues. The more difficult the situation you find yourself in, the more the buzz there is to draw it.
“I’ve always loved fairgrounds and circuses. They’re always moving.
“There’s something about the smell of the generators. And the illusions. It’s always appealed to something in my character.
“About eight years ago when I was teaching in Rochester, I saw a circus setting up in the field next door. I think it was Cottle’s Electric Circus.
“Naturally I wanted to share this with my students so I took a recce.”
He fell in with Jan Erik Brenner, among other clowns and circus folk. Mr Brenner – a third generation clown – even laid on a personal show for Mr Tappenden and his students.
Mr Tappenden said: “In the ring he put on his slap – his make up – and then did his complete routine for us.
“There’s something about capturing the life and the live movement of the circus.
“I love trying to capture the essence of a three-minute act with a really basic amount of material.
“I’ve just got a sketchpad and a handful of pens.”
READ MORE AT:
http://www.brightonandhovenews.org/2012/08/21/brighton-artist-drawn-to-clowning/16886



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