My story begins at my childhood home in Ontario. Behind it, there was a gravel pit, and once a year it would explode into a bustling whirlwind of activity—lights, music, games, rides. It was everything a kid could love, all in her own backyard. I would sneak in when they were setting up. They let me ride for free. They told me about their adventures. And it was the first time I really felt like I fit in. I felt connected to these carnies and to this atmosphere. It became my comfort zone and my happy place.
My parents allowed me to explore and discover this world. But when it came to art, they didn’t want me to turn out like them—broke! Even though they exposed me to art, the only formal training they would let me have was a sign-painting course in community college. As a result, I defiantly ran away with the proverbial circus by joining a rock band. For 20 years I got lost on the open road, and then found myself in southern Louisiana with a paintbrush in my hand. Inspired by the mystery and history of New Orleans—I sunk my brush into sign painting—pairing local folklore with the music and mystique of the Crescent City.
One of the best examples of my work is for American Horror Story Season IV “Freak Show.” The original circus acts that inspired the show inspire me, and I strive to bring dignity to them as people, not just showcase them as performers. This balance of humanity and creativity is what I'm after—as I direct the “art department” of the carnival that is my life. Not to experience it myself, but to convey the sense of nostalgia, excitement and wonder that the big top brings. You could call it a desire to create ritual and suspense. My art is hearing and passing down stories. I’m a documentarian and circus banners are my canvas.