About the BannerQueen

Amy Johnquest has a lifelong convoluted relationship with advertising. Amy writes: 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.

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