Love, love, love Anthropologie’s February catalog not for the merchandise (which is great) but for the artistic direction…something I like to call Gypsy Caravan. The backdrop of the catalog is everything Carnival related. I’ve long loved incorporating Carnival pieces into my own designs. They are such an intriguing part of Americana, usually with charming colors and graphics. Gotta love Anthropologie!
Here is my first Carnival piece found at Marburger Farms antique show about 8 years ago. It’s a Fred Johnson (one of the leading Sideshow Banner artists of his time) for the O’Henry Tent and Awning Company of Chicago original and says “See Darlene that Strange Girl Alive and Daring”. I used it in my industrial loft in San Francisco. It was incredible to be able to hang something so tall and wonderful on a 17′ wall…
Here is another example of Carnival art in a eclectic condominium project. This is a piece from a carnival game that says “Clear All Black Lines To Win”. I just love the colors and how it has been hand painted in layers over time to repair fading and damage. There is such humanity in these pieces that tell a story of how they were used, recycled, and repaired over time to bring entertainment.
If you are interested in learning more about the history of the lost art form of sideshow banner art, the book “Freak Show, Sideshow Banner Art” by Carl Hammer and Gideon Bosker provides an wonderful overview and biography of the artists of the time.