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Chris O'Brien

Chris O'Brien: The Nuclear Cyclist

Artist’s Statement

Carnivals and circus sideshows fascinated me as a child. This spectacular part of American culture offered me a glimpse of things that I, as well as the general population, might never have had the opportunity to encounter. Although the original sideshow hasn’t sustained the test of time, it still exists on TV, in supermarket tabloids, and in the recesses of our minds. My rooftop series derives from a desire to create my own stage. Some might say this imagery looks too forced, too posed, or too contrived. If so, it is my reality, my script, my show to perform as I wish. I choose to bring my subjects into my own created environment—a fantasy environment that allows me to stage my own truth; a truth that is captured photographically on the rooftop of my home in Brooklyn Heights. Many of my subjects are not only an inspiration for these environments, but a grateful opportunity for me to document some of the greatest performers of my era, much the same way Charles Eisennman and Frank Wendt did in their studios in NYC in the late 19th century.

It’s ironic that I would ultimately end up living in New York City, a mecca for the extraordinary, an epicenter of diversity. The city and its inhabitants have become my palette, the inspiration for my vision as an artist. I choose not to title my work allowing the viewer to conjure up his or her own imaginative interpretation. I create for the viewer as much as for myself. I would like to think my imagery captivates and grabs one’s attention.

“Huuuurray . . . Huuuurray . . . Huuuurray . . . Step right up and see the show!”

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Chris O'Brien: Bull Skull

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Chris O'Brien: The Thinker

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Chris O'Brien: I Suffer

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Chris O'Brien: The Fortune Teller

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Chris O'Brien: The Firebreather

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All images © 2010 Chris O'Brien. All rights reserved.

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