I had never heard of Flannery O'Connor before, but was intirgued and managed to get a second hand copy of a book of short stories. I found them disturbing and challenging. The story that I decided to illustrate is "A Temple Of The Holy Ghost". The child at the centre of the story is intrigued to hear about a freak her cousins have seen at the fair, who is both man and woman. They descibe seeing the freak and what it says - "God made me thisaway and if you laugh He may strike you the same way. This is the way He wanted me to be and I ain't disputing his way. I'm showing you because I got to make the best of it". I found this image of the "freak" on the stage, exposing itself, telling people not to laugh both powerful and sad. I did some research on freaks and sideshows, wanting to create a character and setting that brought to mind the garish and sensational presentation of such attractions, but also wanted to express the sadness of the "freaks" situation and her/his attempt to find some justification and pride in the situation.
I painted in watercolour and gouache.
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