Pen and ink, 8.75 x 6 inches, 1999
Although one can see people of enormous girth waddling down the streets
every day, fat people have always been essential attractions in the world
of the sideshow. No self-respecting ten-in-one could do without a fat man
or fat woman — or an entire obese family — on the platform.
These rotund performers were given ironic names (Baby Thelma, Tiny Tina,
etc.) and claimed hyperbolic weights that exceeded their actual poundage
by several stones. Furthermore, with names like Happy Jack and Dolly Dimples,
these performers were presented as jolly, comic figures.
Few artists in history have devoted so much paint and canvas to large
women as did Peter Paul Rubens, so I thought I would present a classic
sideshow fat lady as Rubens might have done — an apotheosis with flapping
putti, tulips, and all.
Pitch items from Baby Thelma and several of her morbidly obese compatriots may be seen
All Images and Text © James G. Mundie 2003 - 2010