Jury the Clown is an artist. If you have to label your artists, you could refer to the genre as Avant Garde. Jury paints on US currency. Specifically, he is known for painting clown faces on George Washington, Thomas Jefferson or whoever is on the bill. Some might call this a violation of the federal statute that prohibits mutilation, disfiguring, perforating or other acts that make the bills unusable. Arguably, the bills are still usable and so does not violate the law. Even more arguable is that the bills just might be more valuable due to their collectability.
Anyone who even remotely knows me… hell, just read the ABOUT MITCH section of my blog and you will know that I do not like clowns.
Clowns are the epitome of the Uncanny Valley and long before Stephen King wrote IT!, I knew there was something “not-right” about clowns. Stephen King accelerated my certainty that clowns were not to be trusted but my phobia existed long before that and it’s not well founded.
But come on! You put on makeup to make your face a grossly distorted representation of an emotion! That is freakin’ creepy, dude. Creepy! But I digress.
So I’ve had a severe dislike of clowns all of my life. This month, I turned 50 years old. I know, I know – I don’t act my age, but I am an old guy. As a way of growing myself, I decided to take a thing I fear and find something good in it. Enter Jury the Clown, whom I discovered on Kickstarter.com.
On the Kickstarter, they are marketing everything from prints of the clown-bills to original works on actual currency. I think they are damned cool and make a statement beyond the artist’s original intent regarding the current state of government in America, but that’s just me adding junk to the original work, and that work deserves to stand as a unique statement on its own.
If you look at Jury’s work and think something inane like, “Anyone could do that,” then ask yourself, why hasn’t anyone else done it? I think it is very cool.
For me, the selling point of the Kickstarter was the lengthy video, where Jury talks about his work. He is sincere, direct and likable, explaining a little about each of the clown characters he has created. “Chuckles. He is the drug dealer of Clown Town. He doesn’t think he is a bad clown in a sense, but don’t get in his way.” I could see this spawning a gritty comic or graphic novel, following the denizens of Clown Town, Sin City style. I laughed out loud at the dog growling off-camera at times. The dog and I, we have something to learn.
I dig Jury the Clown, I dig his weird art and I dig the growling off-camera dog. I’ve backed this Kickstarter campaign and I encourage you to take a look, too.
As a side note, Jury also does some non-clown art on bills
So, I’ve found something I like about clowns and made a friend in the process. That is your proverbial old dog, learning a new trick.