Collection: Sideshow - Melissa Porter

SIDE SHOW - noun
1: a minor show offered in addition to a main exhibition (as of a circus)
2: an incidental diversion or spectacle

This is the most over thought and reworked body of work in the history of artmaking!
The amount of exhibition titles I considered for this show matched all the changing of
direction this circus train had taken, including, “clowns I’ve met along the way”, “The
Greatest shit show on earth” and “Not My Monkeys”, just to name a few. In the end the
definition of a sideshow being a spectacle resonated the truest to what my life has seemed at times and as my art is and has always been about my experiences this show will be no exception. So sit back everyone, brace yourself for the weird, the bizarre and the unbelievable, enjoy the show!

This body of work has been inspired by my inner child's need for play and to find humor in the darkest of places. It all started when I saw a circus train in the metal file drawers I found in my stepfather's barn, which he filled with his found treasures. We bonded over all things sentimental, For me growing up near the train tracks In my bed at night I would imagine that the trains I heard rolling through held all things circus, and that one day I might join them. I knew then that this file drawer would someday be a circus train. Nothing like a deadline to bring those ideas to life.

The circus train was the foundation idea for this show, all the drama, smoke and mirrors
that had been my normal growing up and in my marriage. My original intent was to create a circus where the clowns represented a person that has dramatically affected the course of my life. That turned out to be an emotionally exhausting and very healing approach. Somewhere in the process I realized I had outgrown the circus. The original clowns no longer held my interest as they no longer scared or had power over me.

Clowns are mean, and scary and, and, and ..... and the inner child in me just wants to play and have fun and shouldn't that be what a circus is about? I am on a healing journey, and have used my art to document my path. It's been a navigational tool and I am grateful for the insight and personal growth it has given me. It was pushing me to play and have fun. In combining several characteristics from the people I have known, creating more of an overall archetype or caricature I found fun . The fire breathing tarot reader spewing gossip like facts. Or the sleazy ringmaster, all glamor and don't look behind the curtain.

Once I gave myself permission to not take myself so seriously and allowed room for play, the first piece to arrive was “Dog and Pony” , a peaceful depiction of a retired circus horse and dog getting a much needed drink together. This piece more than any other reflects my feeling of outgrowing the drama of the circus. Emotional exhaustion from the grief I felt and released over the original clowns is expressed in “Go West”. Releasing the grief and exhaustion through the first few pieces of this body left so much room to explore my art from fresh and playful expression. I truly enjoyed bringing this show to you, I hope it brings a smile to your face.