Run Away and Join the Circus With Rafa Decraneo

Run Away and Join the Circus With Rafa Decraneo

Are you more of a lion tamer, bearded lady, or trapeze swinger?

You’d be hard pressed to find a kid alive today that doesn’t dream of running away and joining the circus, at least that’s how it used to be, who knows what the kids are doing these days (running away to join a legion of devoted Slender Man followers, maybe? IDK)? 


But back in the day, running away to join the likes of the bearded lady, the strong man, or even the lion tamer were aspirations kids could only dream of. As an adult, this longing for the circus has taken a backseat to (stupid) adult things like rent, bills, and groceries, but nevertheless, the yearning lives on in our hearts, and no one quite understands this more than artist Rafa Decraneo. Creating an entire troupe of circus performers, Decraneo’s tribute to our nostalgic childhood fantasies are absolutely dreamy.

Tattooing in the traditional style (because to be honest, what other style would you possibly use for something as iconic as the circus), Decraneo has created a fearsome group of women that make us reconsider our nine to five life. Bold lines and rich colors make up the lion tamer, the ladies dancing on elephants, and the trapeze swingers. Careful to not disrupt the mystique and allure that the circus so carefully creates, Decraneo takes the time to ensure that his ladies’ circus characters are fully developed. With impeccable detail through costuming, he creates beautiful vintage motifs. 

Best seen in the flying trapeze swinger, the brilliant use of coloring as well as costuming set an overall tone. Tonally rich colors like mustard yellow, robin’s egg blue, and slight accents of crimson red make for a compelling palette, while expert use of shading give the illustration a wonderful sense of depth, as if you can really get a sense of the shadows being cast, as well as a true sense of movement.

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Elephant Artist by Rafa Decraneo (via IG-rafadecraneo) #traditional #circus #sideshow #oldschool #rafadecraneo

So while your dreams of joining the circus might have been lost somewhere between the ages of eighteen, and whenever you first started paying for your own health insurance, rest assured that Decraneo’s vintage inspired performers will bring those hopes and dreams rushing right back. Although to join Decraneo’s circus, you might just have to run away to Spain, as he works out of True Love Tattoo in Madrid, but if you ask us, that’s more of an added bonus. Madrid, here we come.

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