Circus of Curiosities

   by Bianca Nandzik for Build A Dream (2014)

I began my project by sketching a few ideas and played around with the provided materials. Once I had my dream design I started building the elephant on the egg. The elephant was constructed with a wire framework. I used the wire mesh to form the back and added the plaster cloth wrap. I created a solid stand with a wood dowel. The head is built out of a sponge and the Van Gogh Ear. I put glued and sewn packing peanuts on the legs, trunk and tail, and then built the modeling clay around it. I covered the plastic egg with plaster cloth wrap and speared it with the stand of the mannequin. Once I was happy with the form I painted the sculpture. For the gas mask I used canvas, thread, aluminum wire and the wood discs.

The bodybuilder wears wings out of human hands. I constructed his body and wings with a wire framework. I sculpted the body using clay and the wings are built with plaster cloth wrap. His cloth is also made with plaster. For the sash I used canvas and strings that I pulled out. The shoes are painted. He wants to clean the ears of the elephant with an ear stick, which is made with aluminum wire and plaster cloth wrap.

For the lady in the foreground I disassembled the wooden mannequin. I wanted to have a more flexible posture and I swapped hands and feet. The figure is built out of plaster cloth wrap and modeling clay. For the dress and the high heels I also used plaster. The nee highs are painted. The hat is made out of the Styrofoam rod and canvas. The fingerless net glove is a piece of the wire mesh. For the hair I unraveled strings from the canvas and painted them gold. I curled her hair by rolling the strings around brush sticks with a fixation and glued them onto the hat. Her necklace is also made with canvas strings and glue.

The circus stage is constructed with the bottom and top of the Mystery Build box. I cut the Styrofoam rod in half round pieces, and glued them to the border. I painted a circus design on the surface. To make it look old I added a lucid layer of brown and gold color, and scratched it. For the ground I used the canvas board and the tempered hardboard. I connected the two boards with plaster, made some sand texture on the surface by scratching the boards with a knife and painting it.

When the magic of a circus touches the town it becomes a place full of mystery. The circus sparks a desire for joy and freedom. A little reminder of all those adventures we never had because we were too busy growing up. There you discover a land of imaginary things that are as real as things that happened. It’s a taste of the unknown. You find grotesque human beings - strange and at the same time beautiful people. Some call them circus freaks, monsters or human curiosities, but they are truly marvels of nature. They have developed capabilities you may never imagine. They bring out the child in you and put a smile on your lips. They take you further and further in a mysterious world that makes you forget whether you are awake or dreaming.