Busker art: the tightrope walker series to go on show at Kellie Miller Arts

Kellie Miller Arts, 20 Market St, Brighton BN1 1HH

2-18 July 2016

The tightrope walker mixed media on paper busker artworks by Stella Tooth.

Arrogance vs conviction: the tightrope

I have long been fascinated by buskers. They turn a street into a stage, spark our curiosity to conjure an audience and seek a connection with us that will brighten our day. They do so with no guarantee of payment but simply trust those who stay to watch will reward them.

The tightrope walker - composure mixed media on paper artwork by Stella ToothThe tightropewalker - composure

My tightrope walker series is based on an encounter with a busker in the back streets of Venice some years ago whose construction of character appealed to me.  Dressed in a blue and white maid’s costume with whitened face, a feather duster in one hand and a parasol in the other, her inner world of hope and fear was written on her face as she prepared to step out from the tree to which her rope was tied. 

Passion vs courage the tightrope mixed media on paper artwork in busker series by Stella Tooth

Passion vs courage: the tightrope

As she crossed the rope, with arms poised aloft for balance against the terracotta of the surrounding palazzi, she filled with confidence, enjoying the withheld breath of the crowd, and then the applause that followed her safe return.

Choosing to change course mid-career and become an artist is no easy decision.  Self-doubt dogs you and you hope that the years spent publicising other people’s stories will help you publicise those you wish to tell.  It helps when you can shift the focus to someone else, to tell the stories of those who fascinate you but, this time in pictorial form.  This series reminds me that encouragement and recognition are vital for self-growth.

A number of these artworks – and others in my busker and Resident Artist, Half Moon Putney, series - will be on display in an exhibition of my busker art at Kellie Miller Arts in Brighton until 18 July.

Check Buy Art to see if any artworks in the series are still available.


The tightrope walker mixed media on paper busker artworks by Stella Tooth


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