The Start Gallery in Detroit is currently hosting an art exhibition called ‘Where the Juggalo Roam’. It is on till the 20th of December and is a British artist’s oil-painting ode to the cult that has been started by the ICP – better known as Insane Clown Posse – a duo of music makers who perform with their faces painted and whose songs seem to speak of a deeper, lesser known truth.

Where The Juggalo Roam
AWJA (A Wild Juggalo Appears)

Now, for the uninitiated –

Who is a Juggalo?

Anyone who is a fan, supporter or followed of this group, or the number of tribute groups that have mushroomed in the last few years can be called a Juggalo or a Juggelette (feminine). The point however is that, the artist, Lucy Bowen, a University of Capetown art student, was herself, till a while back completely uninitiated. So what made her change her mind and turn to such a culture that thrives on profanity and profundity like – “Fuckin’ Magnets, How Do They Work?”

What does the Juggalo culture stand for?

To decode the Juggalo culture, let’s follow Bowen’s own journey. She started out by one day noticing an online community where everyone was ‘bullying’ a poor Juggalo caught alone. She felt sorry for the poor chap. And she started looking into what this cult was all about.

She started listening to ICP, and one of their protégé bands – the Twiztid – to gain some much needed perspective. Subsequently, she also visited one of their Detroit conventions – titled “The Gathering of the Juggalos.”

Where The Juggalo Roam
Poster Boy
Where The Juggalo Roam
Gathering Autographs

But the question still remains….

What converted her?

Well, as she honestly proclaims,she isn’t a Juggalette. She is more like a ‘friend of the family’. She is able to empathize with their sentiments, draw much inspiration from it. But at the same time, she isn’t a convert.

So, after all that, we come back to the same question….

What do the Juggalo stand for?

As any person who is conservative in their outlook would say – the Juggalo live in a skewed reality. But as only an empathizer will understand, this leads to widespread disenfranchisement of the cult. This is something that Bowen clearly captures in her work.

Her works revolve around characters who are clownish and yet pathetic. They are maligned and deliberately jesterly. Yet, even in the midst of their ridiculous and often surreal and depressing backgrounds, there is a deliberate humanizing of the characters.

The Juggalos are persecuted and sidelined by society as a whole. And yet they cling on – looking for meaning and acceptance. As Bowen notes, the very lyrics that inspire these hordes teach them to do that. It tells them to persevere. It would seem like they realize the reality of the modern human condition, as do their followers. And they are just holding on, waiting for the rest to realize.

Where The Juggalo Roam
New Gotham (detail) 2
Where The Juggalo Roam
New Gotham

What the artist portrays

Lucy on her part tries to give these Juggalos a place in the very world that disenfranchises them. For instance, she has painted a satirical piece called Fuck Gainsborough. It is her take on Thomas Gainsborough’s famous painting, “Mr. and Mrs. Andrews.” In this painting, the rich couple and their hunting dog are replaced by a Juggalo in baggy clothes and a Juggalette in a bikini and body paint, half of whose face is covered by cigarette smoke. The background is characteristically desolate and yet vivid at the same time – it is the Ferris wheel at The Gathering. She takes the sidelined and puts them smack in the middle of so-called ‘civilized socity’.

As Bowen herself admits – this is a subculture, and one that is quite controversial and complicated. It is also one that is persecuted. But through her work, Bowen tries to give them a voice – and hopes that society at large will also do the same!

Where The Juggalo Roam
Abomination
Where The Juggalo Roam
Psychopathic
Where The Juggalo Roam
Fuck Gainsborough
Where The Juggalo Roam
Paperman
Where The Juggalo Roam
America’s Tortured Brow

[images : Lucy Owen]

http://www.aartiinformatics.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/New-Gotham-detail-2.jpghttp://www.aartiinformatics.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/New-Gotham-detail-2-300x300.jpgAarti InformaticsTV & SHOWBIZfederal bureau of investigation,insane clown posse,london’s national gallery,lucy owen,oil paintings,online research,shaggy,start gallery,university of capetownThe Start Gallery in Detroit is currently hosting an art exhibition called ‘Where the Juggalo Roam’. It is on till the 20th of December and is a British artist’s oil-painting ode to the cult that has been started by the ICP – better known as Insane Clown Posse –...Daily News, News Magazine, Online Magazine