Phantom Circus by Marilyn Stablein

$400.00 - Please contact 23 Sandy for current availability.
A number of impressive folk environments flourish in New Mexico’s fertile environment. The visionary artist Ross J. Ward worked for decades to construct the most well known and widely popular spot, Tinkertown. As a boy Ross was fascinated with circuses, sideshows, and the lore of the Wild West. When he retired to the desert his dream was to build a monumental museum honoring Circus lore and side show acts. Many of the historical dioramas that fill the buildings at Tinkertown, feature miniature wonderlands such as the old fashioned General Store, the Chinese laundry, and exotic and elaborate traveling circuses. He painstakingly crafted hundreds of miniature animal and human figures from clay that he then painted and mounted in miniature buildings and scenes. As with other outsider artists who find their materials where they can, Ross began building walls from colored glass bottles he found tossed in the local ditches and roadside byways. He amassed over 50,000 bottles that he cemented into walls with tons of rock and cement. Seasonal rains and snow continue to enrich the patina on a bounty of antique farm equipment and old tools attached to metal gates and fences. Rusty wagon wheels and old west cowboy campfire equipment dangle from walls and roofs. Inside he lovingly crafted display cases to fill with his vintage toy collections, Victorian dolls--many of them handmade--and folk collectors’ artifacts like arrowheads and gunslinger knickknacks. Kids enjoy putting quarters into an array of hand crafted mechanical devices that play music and activate the figures. Watch the life-sized gypsy fortune teller Esmeralda’s eyes roll as she comes to life and tells your fortune. Ross, together with the help of his wife, kept adding room after room. Twenty four rooms now house his handcrafted outsider artist works. He practiced a gleaner's trade. His philosophy was to use what you find, what you have. Recycle, rework, remake. Make do." His home-spun mottos appear throughout the museum-- "Life is short. Eat dessert first. Be Rich Without Money. Dry Your Clothes in the sun. Stamp out Conformity. The Past Does Not Equal the Future. We Did All This While You Watched TV." Located on the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway he opened Tinkertown Museum in 1978, over thirty years ago.

Artist Bio

Marilyn Stablein is a multidisciplinary artist working in collage, mixed media, sculptural artist books, altered books, textiles and photography. She draws inspiration from the natural world, her extensive travels, and multi-cultural artistic traditions. By using recycled materials she supports recycling and green awareness, which helps to reduce landfills and heal the earth. Cultural artifacts, shamanic tools, ritual objects, found objects, oddities and personal autobiographical ephemera are found in her work. She collaborates internationally with artists and publishers. She lives in Portland, Oregon and publishes under the imprint Book Arts Editions. Her work is exhibited in galleries, museums and libraries and her books are included in numerous public, private and special collections. She is the author of sixteen books including two limited edition artist collage books published in Ireland and two limited edition artist chapbooks of dreams published in Nepal.