Roll up, roll up!...

Chris Edwick

“Roll up, roll up!” is a series of 6 improvisations that have found a source of inspiration in the theme of the circus.

Essential elements of the composition have been allowed to move freely and playfully as in a kaleidoscope echoing the performers in a great circus show, creating 6 unique configurations.

Roll up, roll up – ?

Roll up, roll up – gasp in amazement at the wondrous curiousities

Roll up, roll up – semolina jugglers

Roll up, roll up – wonderful performing geese

Roll up, roll up – thrilling and daring feats

Roll up, roll up – step right this way

The beautiful art of the circus poster with its unique style of typography and attention seeking declarations are also lovingly referenced. These great announcements, sometimes bizarre, like “musical donkey!” sometimes funny like “clown juggling!” have been incorporated for the simple pleasures to be found in words and lettering. There is a direct reference and reminiscence of the Beatles’ song “For the Benefit of Mr Kite” which also found a direct source of literary pleasures in the poster art of the circus and turned it into one of their most whimsical songs by simply singing the announcements on the poster.

“At the heart of all my painting is a love of the emotionally heightened moments of experience when life seems rich and vivid. Those childhood visits to the circus are a perfect point of reference. “Dumbo”, “The Greatest Show on Earth” or more recently, the Beatles inspired “Love” by the Cirque De Soleil all inspire but the Rolling Stones “Rock and Roll Circus” is a personal favourite that outshines the others.

Mick Jagger gives one of his most provocative performances ever, strutting and posing with debonair arrogance and a commanding erotic sensuality. Its a key ambition of mine to try to achieve something of that in all my painting and so I hope these six digital works have some of that strutting, joie de vivre and rock and roll swagger and playfulness…so “roll up, roll up…!”

Unique details

Each of these six improvisations has a set of unique details and you can flip the image to reveal

Roll up, roll up?... 

Roll up, roll up?...

  1. A message from the artist is hidden in the image written in a text so small it will only be found by the the deep scrutiny of the owner. A question mark appears to the lower left of the image to indicate its existence.
  2. The words “roll up, roll up” have been integrated into the bottom right panel in a deliberately playful manner. The letters seem to bounce up and down across the space. The typography is “vtks trutagem” chosen for its likeness to the poster art styles of the circus.
  3. The letter “C” appears to be floating in a tourquoise ball to the top left and the letter “E” appears in a deep blue slab to the lower right.
  4. The artist has placed his name centrally in the lower white border as a form of signature.

Roll up, roll up... gasp in amazement at the wondrous curiosities... 

Roll up, roll up... gasp in amazement...

  1. The words “Roll up, roll up, and gasp in amazement at the wondrous curiosities!!!” appear in the lower white border. The artist has chosen the typeface “vtks trutagem” for this project for its’ similarity to the wonderful, traditional poster art of the circus.
  2. Four letters appear in the orange panel to the lower right. They are “L”, “O”, “V” and “E”.
  3. The letter “Z” appears floating in a ball to the top left and the letter “Y” appears just above the orange panel to the lower right.
  4. The artist has scattered the letters of his name in differing sizes and orientations along the upper white border as a form of playful signature to the piece.

Roll up, roll up... thrilling and daring feats...

Roll up, roll up... thrilling and daring feats...

  1. The words “Roll up, roll up!” appear in the vertical left hand border in the typeface “vtks trutagem”.
  2. “Thrilling and daring feats of every description!!!” written in the typeface “vtks trutagem” appear, slightly angled in the upper white border. 
  3. In the vertical right hand border are the words “Welcome to the amusement institution!!!”
  4. Using the beautiful typeface “vtks trutagem” chosen for its likeness to old circus poster art, the artist, Chris Edwick has set out the individual letters of his name in a lavish and brilliantly, sensuous pink. These are then playfully scattered, with each letter at a different size and orientation, along the lower portion of the image, to form an exuberant signature.

Roll up, roll up... wonderful performing geese...

Roll up, roll up... wonderful performing geese...

  1. The words “Roll up, roll up…” are placed centrally on the lower white border as a reminiscence of the traditional announcement of the Ringmaster to call the opening of the show, and the theme of this whole series.
  2. The typeface “vtks trutagem” has been used for its similarity to the wonderful earlier art of the circus poster.
  3. The words “wonderful performing geese, roosters and musical donkey” appear filling the left, and upper white border. These were apparently found during research by the artist on an actual historic circus poster and enjoyed for their surreal imagery. The words “Loaded with wonders” follow, and these fill the right hand vertical white border.
  4. The letters “Y”, “E” and “S” appear to the upper left of the image.
  5. The artists’ name appears tucked discretely into the pink border of the orange panel to the lower right as a unique signature to this piece.

Roll up, roll up... semolina jugglers...

Roll up, roll up... semolina jugglers...

  1. The words “Come one come all…” appear in the lower white border, echoing the old traditional circus call to the local community that the circus was in town and open for business!
  2. The old circus call, “Roll up, roll up, step right this way” appears in the vertical left hand border.
  3. Found on an original circus poster is the humorous and surreal announcement of “Semolina jugglers, stilt throwers, clown jugglers” placed along the upper white border in the typeface “vtks trutagem” chosen for its beauty and similarity to the original style of circus posters.
  4. “Fun for children of all ages” appears in the vertical right hand, white border.
  5. The letter “B” appears resting on a ball just to the right of centre.

Roll up, roll up... step right this way...

Roll up, roll up... step right this way...

  1. The title of this piece appears in an old fashioned circus poster, style of font in the upper white border.
  2. The artist had placed his name in the lower white border as a signature to the piece.
  3. The letter “A” appears as if balancing like an acrobat on a block to the lower left.
  4. The letters “J”, “O” and “Y” appear within the ball that seems to be rolling down the orange panel just to the left of centre of the image.
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