© 2015 by Smith & Lens, LLC. 

106 south second street, bay saint louis, mississippi 39520

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MOLLY McGUIRE

When I was a kid growing up in rural, southern, Ontario, every summer I magical transformation would turn my hometown upside-down.  The carnival would blow in like a top-hat on a storm and morph my ordinary world into vibrant colors, thrills, jump scares and laughter.

Overnight, the boring gravel lot behind my home became a magical funhouse for a week...but then would vanish as fast as it appeared. Come Monday, the lot contained only an obese man with a metal detector, swinging it back and forth like an elephant looking for dropped peanuts.

The remaining 51 weeks of the year was spent imagining the sights, sounds and smells of the Carnival and I fell asleep dreaming of its return.

It astounded me how this garish spectacle could transform my hometown from the most mundane place on Earth to the most exciting.  I longed for the thrill of the big top at all times but, adulthood soon came calling.

I enrolled in a two year sign painting course at George Brown Tech in Toronto.  When I graduated in 1991 it was the most obsolete career path I could have possibly chosen because vinyl signs had just taken a foothold replacing hand-painted signs for many years to come.

They didn't actually matter in my world because after I graduated from sign painting school I immediately did a decidedly non-adult thing: I ran away to New Orleans to play music.  This eventually led me to Los Angeles out of which I toured the United States and Europe extensively for years, but it really was not lucrative so I reverted back to my painting skills for money.

After several years as a movie set painter, I started collecting the production's discarded canvas drop cloths and leftover house paint and put my sign painting skills to use.  I began working with these repurposed materials and over time the Carnival began to emerge on the canvases.  My Carnival.

So, like the little girl who once drifted to sleep dreaming of the Carnival, my paintings attempt to encapsulate that incredible feeling - all within the window of the circus banner.