Category: Art Circus Spotlight

Art Circus Spotlight
‘Face Studies’ by Marina Jijina


The ‘Face Study’ series of 7 oil paintings came to life during 2011-2012, when I was able to approach the subject I’ve kept close to my heart for a while. For this series of portraiture images I selected 7 vulnerable characters that can be found in the margins of a society, and wouldn’t often be the subject of traditional portraiture. As a painter I have experienced a particular interest and sympathy for certain ‘out of the ordinary’ personalities, such as drunkards, the homeless, the vulnerable, ‘mad’ people and victims of abuse. I always wanted to paint them. I’m intrigued by the controversy in the nature of my characters.


While most of them have had tough lives and disadvantaged upbringings, their faces preserved child-like curiosity directed to the world and express a kind of content. For me the people I portray are attractive because of the raw quality, lack of pretence and polish on their faces.

The portraits were painted from imagination. I usually ‘collect’ impressions of people in my memory, and sometimes sketch them before painting.I  would do a sketch to select a character from a number of memorable impressions, and then paint directly on canvas, without preliminary drawing.

See more portraits by Marina Jijina

Art Circus Spotlight
‘Shark and Octopus (Eat or be Eaten)’ by Michael Hayter

shark and octopus

This image came to me whilst musing on the incredible tale of a sperm whale being found, miles down at the bottom of the sea, in a deathly clinch with a giant squid. Each animal had tried to devour the other, but in so doing both had died and had remained in a post mortem embrace.

On further reflection I realised that this scene was a powerful metaphor for certain human relationships: the desire to devour, to fight, to cling, to flee from – all impulses being felt simultaneously, but resulting in a kind of emotional deadlock in which true movement is impossible. The image became more potent for me when I substituted a shark for the whale and an octopus for the giant squid – the ruthless, predatory, fast-moving agility of the shark, and the slower, softer and more intelligent (yet potentially more ‘devouring’) nature of the octopus (the eight tentacles being a difficult trap to escape from).

I have also come to think that the attributes of these two animals could also be seen as two aspects of the psyche that are at war with each other. The event is clothed in the darkness of the depths of the ocean, symbolising the unconscious or barely conscious nature of the struggle. The danger is that neither combatant will survive – they will either kill each other, or they will ‘drown’.

I have used layers of clear varnish as glazes over the whole scene – I wanted it to feel slightly distanced from the viewer, and to allow the red ink to leach out, like blood in water.
The thickening varnish also acts to set the scene ‘in aspic’ – as if it is a fixed but eternal struggle – a struggle with no certain outcome, but potentially fatal to both.

See more paintings from Michael Hayter

Art Circus Spotlight
‘Photo de Classe’ by Delphine Lebourgeois


I created the first version of ‘Photo de Classe’ in 2006. Repetition and broken patterns are themes I have explored many times since. In these images, the women have the same cut and pasted bodies, and only their heads differ. The she-wolf is the odd element. I like to let people interpret the meaning of the wolf freely.


A man once told me that the wolf was the woman you fell in love with. The only one who looks at you straight in the eye, and the one you should be wary of. For me, the wolf represents competition amongst women.

See more drawings by Delphine Lebourgeois

Art Circus Spotlight
‘Express Excess’ and ‘Decanted’ by Mandy Payne


‘These pieces have developed over the past year further to work done for my final degree show. I am largely inspired by landscape and I began by exploring ‘edge land’ areas of Sheffield – places often overlooked and considered to be devoid of typical aesthetic beauty. The ‘Express Excess’ image arose after seeing a couple of plastic bags caught high in the branches of a tree outside a newly built supermarket. They remained resolutely in place for weeks as if almost tied in place. The tree although having only been there for a short while was already covered with graffiti – I took photos and found it an arresting image and a reflection of how we live now. I used mixed – media (oil, acrylic and tapes).


Following on from this I began to explore Park Hill, the Grade II * listed council estate and one of Britain’s largest examples of Brutalist architecture. The site is currently undergoing regeneration and as such is an interesting place to observe. Part of the estate has undergone transformation into shiny, luxury flats whilst half remains boarded up and derelict. A remaining quarter is still inhabited – the residents remaining resolutely in situ until finally decanted.

I am ever drawn to the un-refurbished areas where the memories and layers of the past are almost tangible. I have been working with materials that are integral to the estate itself, such as concrete, aerosol and aluminium. This is demonstrated in my second painting ‘Decanted’ where I have mixed concrete into oil paint and layered aerosol paint on top.’

See more paintings by Mandy Payne

Art Circus Spotlight
‘Lido’ by Daniel Shiel

daneil sheil

‘Lido’ is one of twelve ‘sketchy’ pieces I put together for a joint exhibition at the Cupola Gallery in Sheffield last year. This particular piece is a little special in that I found myself being drawn into it as I worked on it. The image, mostly made up of photographs of decaying concrete, was assembled from photos of remains of the Lido in Dun Laoghaire and the dry dock used by the Titanic in Belfast. Other elements, structural details and objects that draw the piece into a whole, came from other widely scattered locations.

When developing pieces I’m looking for photographs that have a certain peculiar atmospheric quality. Once stripped of their original context and merged together, the new structural and landscape images emphasise the edginess I feel when I’m out with my camera in these locations. When I’m developing the collage pieces I’m often groping to create something and not at all sure where I’m going, but this one seemed to develop almost by itself. It has a strong atmosphere of uncertainty; the image lying on the border between reality and the surreal. ‘Lido’ is one of my favourite pieces and I very much enjoyed putting it together.

‘Lido’ has been selected as one of the finalists in the ‘Best Shots competition 2013’.

See more photographs by Daniel Shiel

Art Circus Spotlight
‘The Terracotta series’ by Sally Kindberg



The idea of morphing, mimicking or mirroring beings together is nothing new in the history of art, thinking of Lady with an Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci, to 19th century monsters of Notre Dame, to Maurizio Cattelan’s taxidermy. On the Internet images of art mingle with ordinary images such as a boy, dog, flower and even terracotta. This meaty mixture between really innocent, untouchable boys and yapping designer dogs e.g. creates a rather, hopefully sandy taste in the viewers’ eyes. Together with terracotta, which brings me in a snap shot back to the sponged walls of the 90s and tiles in toilets on the continent, I’m hoping to evoke that taste in the viewers’ mouths, when they say –mmm nice (with a pause).

See more paintings by Sally Kindberg

Art Circus Spotlight.
‘The Big Five’ by Isabel Hutchison

Isabel Hutchison1

I began the series of ‘The Big Five’ after visiting Kruger National Park in South Africa. Whilst driving down a lonely track away from the main part of the park I nearly crashed head on with a large bull elephant, walking along the road in the opposite direction. Only after safely making it past this bull did I pause and look back. This first plate of the African Elephant inspired the series, second came the White Rhino, also from Kruger. Subsequent visits to Kenya and the Mara resulted in the Cape Buffalo, the Lion and finally the Leopard.

These works are all individually created using a steel plate, a sturdy resilient metal that like these animals can endure a beating. The plates are etched and re-etched using acid with some drypoint at the final stage. After creating the original image by drawing on a soft ground, the more detailed aspects of the skin and hairs are gradually built up with proofs being taken along the way to check progress. Aquatint is applied for the shaded areas. Eventually the metal starts to take on that worn and weather beaten look that is desired for the final result, and print is complete.

See more work by Isabel Hutchison

Art Circus Spotlight
‘Ladies at Sea’ by Katrine Storebø


Ladies at Sea (oil on wood 2012) is part of a series of ten paintings done on commission by a Norwegian shipping company to be displayed on a supply ship. The painting is based on a photograph from the west coast of Norway and shows an everyday scene from a coast community in the 1940’s. I am fascinated by snap shots where people are depicted in natural settings that reveals a story of the time and place the photo was taken. This particular photo was taken in black and white. I used a pinky, red colour to create the feel of a Norwegıan summer sunset. The lıght on the sky becomes pretty spectacular.

See more paintings by Katrine Storebø

Art Circus Spotlight
‘Pool at Dusk’ by Daisy Clarke

pool at dusk2

I’m constantly looking out for images ,like a magpie, collecting ideas that fit a certain ‘tone’. As a child while travelling around Europe I was fascinated by swimming pools, especially neglected ones I remember a pool that was inhabited by frogs and I would have been scared to swim in as it seemed some other creatures territory. I wondered what else was lurking in the hidden depths.

See more paintings by Daisy Clarke

Art Circus Spotlight.
‘The Lesson’ by Ilona Szalay


As I was making The Lesson I was thinking about what it means to be held up, how dependence comes with its own particular pleasures – of being lifted, of relinquishing responsibility, of being carried forward, of flying almost. And then the other side of that state of suspension – the lack of control and the forfeiting of power.

I thought about teaching itself as a constraining force, a cordoning off of possibilities, that the boy is being hemmed in by his support system. His track through the space around him is now limited, his flight path delineated by the rope which holds him up. So, he is taught and he learns, his vulnerability is poignant as it speaks of innocence on the edge of being lost, innocence becoming experience.

See more from Ilona Szalay