About the BannerQueen

The BannerQueen! Photo credit: Chattman Photography

The BannerQueen! Photo credit: Chattman Photography

The BannerQueen’s studio

The BannerQueen’s studio

I’ve had a lifelong convoluted relationship with advertising. I grew up listening to my father’s experiences as chief copy writer in a large ad agency. Later, with a fine art degree in hand, I went on to support myself as a sign painter and then graphic designer for newspapers. Despite years of resistance, these experiences came to find their way into my art. At the tender age of forty, having painted my first sideshow theme art piece (Half Man, Half Beast Accordion Player) I was struck with a powerful and undeniable sense of finally finding my way home. In the tradition of sideshow performers, I proclaimed a moniker and on March 4th, 1998 BannerQueen was born.

My paintings are directly influenced by the old circus sideshow banners. Like today’s billboards, product displays, and packaging, the old banners used garish depictions and verbiage to woo and seduce you into parting with cash to enter the tent. Usually these flashy promotions promised more than what the reality behind the canvas delivered. Using pop cultural references with text and imagery, I create advertisements that do not sell anything and enjoy playing with the double entendres and curiosities in the language of signage. These paintings are a balancing act of heartfelt sincerity and tongue in cheekiness. In the end my images translate in any number of directions; political, evolutionary twists, loving tributes, weird science, and/or good ol comic relief.

Selected Exhibitions

My Potential Dates, (solo)  Site Specific Installation at Hampden Gallery, University of Mass., Amherst Feb.-March 2012

Powder Room, site specific installation for the “In the Round” group exhibition, Victory Theatre, Holyoke, MA, Oct. 2nd, 2010 – January 21, 2011.

Art of the Side Show, Dunedin Fine Arts Center, Dunedin, FL, Sept. – Oct. 2011

X Marks The Spot, a site specific installation in collaboration with Sally Curcio and Anne LaPrade Seuthe, DUMBO Arts Festival, Brooklyn, NY, September 2011

Fun Spot, site specific interactive installation for the “Smile Once” group exhibition, The Cultural Center at Eagle Hill, Hardwick, MA, Oct. 2nd, 2010 – January 21, 2011.

Darwin’s Theory + Monkeys, site specific installation for “Pulp Science Fiction” exhibition, 80 Race Street Gallery, Holyoke, MA, May 2009

Art Monkey, site specific installation, Arts of the Valley, Open Square, Holyoke, May – June 2007

Carpet Dim, Arts of the Valley, Open Square, Holyoke, Ma. A site specific installation May – June, 2005,   Carpet Dim (a wall to wall sideshow) part 2‚ May -June, 2006

Odd Lots, Solo exhibition/installation, Northampton Center for the Arts,   Nov. 2006

Everything Must Go, Solo exhibition August, 06 Peggy Gross Gallery, Provincetown, MA. Represented summer 2006.

The Smith Ding,  Solo, Smith College, Oresman Gallery, Northampton, Ma.  June 7 – Aug. 12 2005

Protocolacular, Solo exhibition – Studio 609, New York, NY October 30, 04 Witness The Splendor, Solo exhibition – Debbie Torbati, Rancho Santa Fe, CA, June 2003

Freak Show! Joint exhibition, Anatomically Correct , Northlight Theatre Gallery, Skokie, IL May 15 through June 18, 2000

Fairs and Festivals, Group exhibition (3 person)  Oct. 29 – Nov. 14, 1999,  Hart Gallery, 102 Main St., Northampton, MA

Human Oddities Alive!, Solo exhibition, Aug. 30 – Sept. 24, 1999, William Blizard Gallery, Springfield, MA

Selected Commissions

Full page and spot Illustration for Orion Magazine

Author Tom Robbins, banner and poster design 

Applegate Farms, Bridgewater, NJ, In house commissioned banners of various themes for their corporate offices (not commercial)

Massachusetts Review,  Cover Illustration Sept. 2015 “Mr Strudelwitz,” and Oct. 2005, Cover Illustration “The Book of Love

TRUTH, the folk opera about Sojourner Truth,” designs for a stage production including 28’W x 16’H wooden portal along with 16 paintings for large screen projections as the backdrop. Premiered at the Academy of Music, Northampton, February 2012 and is still in use with most recent performance in New York 

25’H. x 40’W. Hand painted backdrop for the theatre production of “A Christmas Carol” Semi annual holiday tradition performed at The Academy of Music, in Northampton. Old Deerfield Productions, Linda McInerny, Director, Deerfield, MA

Grove Atlantic, NY, NY, Banner depicting scene from author Leif Enger’s new book, “So Brave, Young, and Handsome” (used on his book tour)

Northampton Center for the Arts, Northampton, MA, 2008 First Night poster design

Absorbine Co., Longmeadow, MA May 2007, Poster to celebrate 115 years of healing horses and humans (winner of ADY 07 award)

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, NC, April 2007, Banner and Poster depicting the theme from NYT bestselling book “Water For Elephants

Disney Magazine, June 2005,  magazine illustration to commemorate 50 yr. anniversary of Disneyland

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, Feb. 2005,  Banner painting for reception area, Rancho Santa Fe, CA.

American Express, November 2004,  banner paintings for in-house usage

Bruce Springsteen and the East Street Band, Summer 2003, banner paintings for national summer tour book LaJolla Inn, 2003 – current, Banner painting for reception area, LaJolla, CA

Ripley’s Believe it or Not, May through November 2001, paintings for theatrical production in Branson, MO

Madison Square Garden, Oct., 2000 (film still touring) banners for Madison “Scare” Garden Halloween event and also for the short film “Freakshow” (starring Alice Cooper) NewYork, NY

Northlight Theatre, May 2000, promotional banner for the stage production of “Side Show”, Skokie IL

Muncie Civic Theatre, Nov. 2000, banner for the stage production of “Elephant Man”, Munci Indiana

Professional Experience

Director of The Taber Art Gallery, A non profit gallery featuring exhibitions and gallery talks by contemprarary artists from the area and beyondfor the enrichment of the college students and community at large. From 2002 to present, Holyoke Community College, 303 Homestead Ave., Holyoke, MA 01040