The Circus Art of Johnny Meah


“Over the course of his forty-year career, Johnny has painted everything from taxidermied Sia-mice Twin Cats to Frighteningly Factual Facsimiles of two-headed babies to a torture show titled Man’s Inhumanity to Man, which turned out to be a collection of Boy Scout knots! But the artist is best known for his witty characterizations of the human oddities and novelty acts that appeared in the ‘ten-in-one,’ a sideshow with ten attractions for the price of one ticket. Fat ladies, tiny gents, tattooed wonders, armless marvels, human blast furnaces, and sword swallowers are just a few of the characters Johnny has portrayed in his highly imaginative, larger-than-life size canvases. In this line of work, it’s less important to get a perfect likeness of a performer than it is to dramatically convey what made him or her unusual. ‘My concept, even now, is to create an aura of mystery about entertainers,’ says the artist, one of the few showpainters who was also a banner painter, and one of the few banner painters who was also a performer.”

The Circus Art of Johnny Meah, last master of the American sideshow banner
Read the review by Tricia Vita @ Raw Vision