If you looking for affordable clown training in a great location check this out!
The American Clown Academy came to life in 2012. Since then it has had a unique and honored place in the halls of Education in the Clowning Arts.
The Academy started as a partnership between two friends: Jeffrey Potts and Mike Wesley. They wanted to create the very best value and opportunity for clowns and other performers to polish their skills. The numbers say that they have succeeded.
Jeffery Potts began his entertaining career 30 years ago, entertaining kids and adults all over the Canton Ohio area. He moved on to teaching and sharing his appreciation for the arts 15 years ago. In that time he has helped many people to hone their skills and become better entertainers and clowns. His very strong connections to the clown teaching community make it possible for the Academy to continue to attract the finest instructors who wish to help others to achieve their goals of becoming the best entertainers that they can possibly be.
Mike Wesley started clowning 25 years ago, when he founded a weekend clown convention called ClownTown in Newark Ohio. The desire to create a learning environment has continued from those early ClownTown days right up to the present with the American Clown Academy. His organizational skills make sure that the Academy has all the facilities that it needs to continue its mission.
The co-directors of the Academy, Jeff Potts and Mike Wesley, met in the early years of the ClownTown experience. They formed a friendship that has continued to the present day. They had a series of conversations in 2011 where they discussed what would the perfect clown education experience look like. They knew that the best education would occur when students could meet the best instructors in the very smallest class sizes, so that skills could be passed along in a one-on-one type of situation. (Oh, and it should be affordable so that as many people could benefit as possible.)
The Academy is the result of those discussions. Here, the instructors are all the very best in their particular fields. They are given great latitude in their teaching assignments so that they are able to teach what they feel is most important, in the way that is the most beneficial. Their dedication to passing along their knowledge is a cornerstone in the Academy experience. The class sizes are kept as low as possible so that the individual learning experiences can occur. The ratio of students to teachers is approximately 3 to 1.
Another key to making the Academy experience work is the setting. The Academy happens in a small Midwestern town called Newark, in central Ohio. The facilities are a kid’s summer camp, named Camp O’Bannon. This camp has been providing a free summer camping experience to hundreds of kids a year for the past 90 years. And during one week in August, it is the home of the Academy. Due to space limitations at the camp, there will never be more than 50 students. Thus, our goal is not a greater quantity of students, but rather a better quality experience for those students.
The camp experience starts with possibilities for daily exercise. Then it moves on to a full breakfast in the dining room. Lectures fill up the rest of the morning, leading into a camp lunch for everyone. There is an opportunity every day for campers to practice their entertaining skills before an audience of their peers and instructors. This provides a means of getting feedback on what they are doing, and how to improve it. Then there is the afternoon lecture, followed by a catered dinner each day. One more lecture in the evening rounds out the day. All the time after that is open, to allow for a chance to socialize and chat with friends, and to collaborate with others.
The American Clown Academy has pioneered giving students the best individualized education at the lowest possible cost. We take our pioneering status very seriously, and we will keep striving to make the Academy experience the very best in the clowning and entertaining arts.
Clowns – I love them! I love to paint bright, colorful, happy images and clowns fit right in with that.
I have painted clowns for several years. Until recently I focused on painting them in Acrylics on canvas, but I have renewed my love of Watercolor and I am currently working on a series of paintings that incorporates great clowns (most of whom I have made friends with on Facebook) and watercolor on small affordable 9 x 12 watercolor paintings. My goal is to create 75 watercolor clowns in the 9 X 12 size. I hope to sell thru Facebook or directly to the buyer and hopefully sell a few to the proud clown collectors out in the world.
Each image will be on Canson 140 LB Watercolor paper 9 X 12. Each image will be mailed in a document mailer with a certificate of authenticity. Let me know if your interested or if you have a clown image for me to consider for the series.
Why I paint Clowns: For the record I do paint other things besides clowns but I have a passion and a love for clowns. I paint my clown images with pride. Many of the clowns I have met in person, or I am friends with on Facebook. Some I have sought out because I came across a photo I liked. Others have found out about my work through their friends and came to me. Each image is personally vetted. I am looking for a certain look or feel from my paintings. Not every image presented to me is right for a painting.
I am a skilled artist. I paint both in acrylic and watercolor. Neither of these mediums are easy or forgiving (especially watercolor). I have spent 40 years perfecting my skill. The fact that, I as an artist choose to paint some of the sweetest, funniest, most colorful, and always happy portraits you will ever find anywhere, is a matter of personal choice.
I realize that not everyone will get it or be on board with what I do. I realize there is a select market for my work. I am ok with this. I have faith that the clown and circus industry will surround me with love and laughter and purchase my paintings and prints. This is a very select market to sell to – I get it. You either love clowns or you don’t. I have been working for years to earn the trust of my clown friends and I will do my best to depict their clown persona, so that those who have had the pleasure of interacting with that clown in the past can remember and cherish those memories every time they look at one of my prints or paintings.
I am striving to be the best artist who paints clowns, I am following on the heels of Jim Howle (whom I have met and truly love) and Red Skelton (whom I wish I had met) I am not comparing my skill to theirs, but those are who I relate to. … It is an honor to truly depict the magic of a clown, to catch the sparkle in the eye that has delighted thousands of children. If you’re good to the clown world they will be good to you. Sincerely Patty sue O’Hair – Vicknair.
Watercolor Clown #11 – Jeffrey Potts AKA Bungles The Clown
I have made a great friend in Jeffrey and it has been a joy to work on this painting. He has also been kind enough to allow me the pleasure of interviewing him for this blog. I have already posted the interview and will follow this one with information on the the American Clown Academy which Jeffrey is co-creator of.
I like to take pictures along the way as I paint so you can see the creation from start to finish. Enjoy! Leave me a note if you like the painting.
Not for Commercial Use
Copyright 2014 Patty Sue O’Hair- Vicknair Artist PSOVART
Click below for the direct Zazzle link to Jeffreys page to buy this painting on various products.
For those of you interested in any of the clown watercolor painting prints. There are 2 ways to get prints.
1. I will post the image on several sites, with links found on my page associated with the clown image. Also there are links from my page directly to the pages where all my art can be found for prints. All you do is choose the one you want, the size, how you want it printed (canvas, paper, etc.) and pay for it they will ship it to you. Here are some sites I am on.
2. You can buy direct from me. I will order a print from my printer and provide a signed Certificate of Authenticity along with signing the painting. Your cost will be determined by the size you want + shipping to your location.
9 X 12 = $45.00
11 x 14 = $65.00
16 X 20 = $116.00 Each clown I paint receives a share of the proceeds, so rest assured I am selling these images with their blessing. If interested either message me on Facebook or email me at email@example.com we can handle the transaction by Paypal
Until next time. Happy Clowning!
Patty Sue O’Hair – Vicknair Clown artist to the world
Across the top of this blog you will find pages dedicated to my art. Please take a few minutes to look them over. www.greatclownportraits.com
Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Jeffrey Potts AKA Bungles The Clown. Jeffrey is from Canton, Ohio and is very active in clowning and sharing his gift with others. I will have 2 follow-up posts, the first will feature the painting I did of Jeffrey, the second one will be about the American Clown Academy which Jeffrey is co-creator of. I have enjoyed working with him on our painting project and I am sure you will like him to. So on with the interview…
1. How long have you been a clown?
I been Clowning since the age of 13, which means it’s been a part of my life for the better part of 30 plus years.
Jeffrey’s first look after clown school
2. Who inspired you to become a clown?
I wouldn’t say I was ” inspired”, but more like “given the opportunity”. Growing up, I was interested in special effects and movie make-up. I would often times create copy or create characters by dressing up like them. My grandmother would dress as a clown for church events and offered me the chance to participate with her. Being able to entertain my peers without them knowing who I was, became a magical experience and was the spark that ignited my desire to understand this unique art form.
3. What people do you give credit to in helping you advance your art in clowning?
During my early years I was self-taught. I did library research and watched videos of old comedians. In the mid 80’s, my grandmother signed me up for some weekend class being taught by a graduate of the famous Ringling Brothers Barnum Bailey
Dale Smith AKA Herky (Herky was Watercolor Clown #9 in my series and there also is a blog post about him.)
Clown College. The instructor’s name to this day escapes me. In 1992 I had the opportunity to once again be taught by another graduate of Ringling…Dale “Herky” Smith. During that time, Dale and I presented multiple performances together, which became some great “On the Job Training”.
In 1994, I auditioned for a chance to attend Ringling’s Clown College, and was accepted for the class of ’95. Unfortunately I turned down this once in a lifetime opportunity due to family obligations. Over the years I have associated with many entertainers who make clowning (and other performance venues) their livelihood. These personal times of teaching have greatly increased my understanding and presence as a clown. I also make myself available to others who want to learn. I helped create The American Clown Academy because of my desire to share with others.
4. Are you involved with any clown organizations?
I do not participate in any Alleys due to the fact that there are none nearby. I have belonged to local Magic Clubs, but find that the particular level of growth and professionalism wasn’t conducive to my growth as an entertainer. I did at one time belong to COAI and WCA, two large clown organizations, but I found myself at a different level or having different goals than most who participate.
5. How do you feel your clown has evolved over time? How did you settle on the particular style and design of your clown or the personality you try to project as a clown?
I am a clown. I believe a true clown does not put on a mask or become a different character. Clowning is an extension of yourself, that ability to allow others to see who you really are. I also want my audience to see themselves, so I use the art form of clown to help my audience discover who they are. That’s the way I am in real life also, it’s always about the success of others.
6. I have learned a little more about clowns and I know there are different types of clowns, What kind of clown are you and what do you feel is your clowns most interesting characteristic?
Bungles the Clown is an Auguste Clown and the name is taken right from a thesaurus and means ” to mess up”…which seems to be what happens to my character quite often. I am a “jack of all trades, master of none”. My skills include Juggling, Balloon Sculpting, Magic, and Physical Comedy. I am a Prop Builder, Producer, Technician, Make-up Artist and Performer.
7. Have you ever worked in a Circus and if so which ones?
I have worked for the George Coronos Circus back in the day. Now-a-days I do mostly stage shows and such.
8.What kind of functions are you hired for example: conventions, parties…
I consider myself a Family Edu-tainer which means I entertain and educate audiences composed of families. Sometimes performances for select groups (adults, senior citizens, etc) arise but I try to encourage full family functions.
I am what is known as a Double-Timer. I perform full-time and work in the steel mill full-time. My flexible work schedule allows for development of the business and the unique participation of my family has also allowed for great success. I am a family man, so much so, I incorporated them into my act so we could be together over the years. I never forced them, but allowed them to make their own decision how much they wanted to participate. Church is also a big part of our lives. I oversee children’s ministries and my wife is the a church secretary. I direct a puppet ministry and vacation bible schools. My children are involved in many ministries also. I think that our family is a unique twist on the idea of “the family that plays together, stays together”. Juggling what some would call a real world job with a fantasy job and including your family and friends in what you do is an intriguing thought.
9. Do you have bits that are standard in the clown world or do you create your own acts?
Every clown should be unique in their performance. I try to create routines and props that are unique to be, but I’ve been known to present a tried and true classic piece of comedy. Even when borrowing these pieces, the goal is always to make them unique to my character. I am well-known for using “pies” in my shows and also creating a unique, safe, foam rubber “pie shells” for throwing. By the way we don’t use REAL pie filling, either.
10. If you were in a parade did you ride anything? Bike, Unicycle, Clown car?
I’ve been in parades using props to entertain the audience. Walking in a parade as opposed to riding a float or bike, etc., I believe, allows that little bit of personal interaction that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
11. Is there video we can watch of you on the web acting as a clown for us to enjoy?
Yes there are several, I once coordinated the old “clown car” routine in a parade. We would start and stop periodically to load or unload all of the clowns into the “tiny” car. I do own a different clown car today and you can even watch us do this fun routine on the internet. (the video is posted at the bottom)
12. How do you pass on any clown wisdom to fellow younger clowns who are starting out in the business?
I have been honored over the years in many so many humbling ways. Many of the awesome opportunities have included lecturing for various clown organizations at their conventions. Teaching others who have a desire to grow in this art form is an incredible responsibility that I take seriously and enjoy immensely
I have had the unique privilege to participate in some special projects including the Grand Opening of the International Clown Hall of Fame
and most recently in painting from by Patty Vicknair
Watercolor Clown #11 Jeffrey Potts AKA “Bungles TheClown” 9 X 12 on Canson Watercolor 140 lb paper Original SOLD
13. What are you long-term goals in clowning?
I don’t always perform in clown. I have created different characters over the year for specialty performances.
I have recently created a fitness program titled FIT-IS-IT where I teach kids the importance of good nutrition and exercise. While I don’t do this in clown, I still create the comedy atmosphere using my animatronic (robotic)friend “WhooCan the Toucan”.
As an artist I have to be true to myself and admit that I paint what makes me happy. I like color, I like fun colorful happy images. So you will find paintings of actual living clowns, many of which are my friends on Facebook, you will also find tribute paintings to clowns who are no longer with us, but the laughter lives on. You will find Carnival masque paintings, because I love the glitter and the excitement and the mystery caught in the eye. You will find beautiful flowers, tranquil boats, and lions, and tigers, and bears...oh my... well I haven't painted a bear yet but, it could happen.
The point is I paint happy images that I hope you will enjoy looking at as much as I enjoyed painting them.
For more information on Patty Vicknair's work, visit http:/www.greatclownportraits.com or email her at Psovart@yahoo.com