Menu

Spine-Chilling Photos of Grotesque Clowns (NSFW)

Portfolio_Clownville_mea_culpa

Portfolio_Clownville_Screamer

Portfolio_Clownville_Grock_1

For Clownville, Rome-based photographer Eolo Perfido constructs an underground realm ruled by jesters and fools, grotesque humorists that he admits no child would ever hope to encounter. Here, the whimsical facade of funny business is stripped away to reveal the monstrous manifestations of human fear, heartache, and prurience.

The project, explains Perfido was influenced in large part by silent film stars like Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, who used their bodies to exaggerate emotional truths that could not be conveyed through speech. For the artist, clowns embody the universal yearning both to entertain and to be entertained, to conceal our insecurities beneath a disguise of wit and merriment.

With the help of makeup artist Valeria Orlando, and after researching books on real-life clowns, Perfido undertook the task of outfitting anyone from actors and colleagues to family and friends with false faces, allowing them to inhabit each ghoulish character before shooting them at home or in studio. While each scene was carefully staged, the photographer notes that the most incisive images were conceived in instants of improvisation and spontaneity. Professional and amateur actors alike, he notes, easily took to their roles, freed by their disguise to express melodramatic—and yet somehow authentic— moments of hyperbolic sentiment.

Ultimately, the clowns’ menace lies in their vulnerability, their depravity in their humanity. As the joy of childhood is amplified to become a perverse mania, playfulness comes unhinged, and we find ourselves face-to-face with our own forgotten traumas, repressed and primitive appetites, and we are awash with the anxiety of alienation. Says the artist, “Innocence is lost in Clownville.”

Portfolio_Clownville_Bon_Voyage

Portfolio_Clownillee_Mon_Soon

Portfolio_Clownville_BigJ_3

Portfolio_Clownville_Columbine_2

Portfolio_Clownville_Columbine_1

Portfolio_Clownville_jugglernaut_2

Portfolio_Clownville_mother_smiling

Portfolio_Clownville_Queen

Portfolio_Clownville_Memories

Portfolio_Clownville_Mein_Klown

Portfolio_Clownville_Rocker

Portfolio_Clownville_The_Butcher

Portfolio_Clownville_Sorrow

Portfolio_Clownville_Solitude

All images © Eolo Perfido

  • Bearr

    OHAI nightmare fuel.

  • gvanderleun

    More sewage fresh from the freak show.

  • Albin

    Clearly influenced by Fellini, more than the film makers named. I looked for something added, but find these shots posed as static nagging demonstrations rather than the wonderful musical live interactions in Fellini, that make us wonder about the real estate agents, bank clerks, school teachers and family members we meet.

  • As a real clown and an artist after a fashion, I tried pretty hard to appreciate this work by this obviously talented photographer. But what kept nagging at me was the fact that it’s yet another highjacking- an exploitation even, of the image of clowns to serve some non-clown’s sensationalistic purpose. We’re already being exploited by pranksters and outright thugs who put on some cheap masks or makeup and a clowny costume and act out or commit crimes. Then there’s the trendy use of scary clowns in movies to contend with. So it’s all on the verge of getting pretty passe and cliche. Granted, these are some well done and striking images, but I have trouble reconciling Perfido’s claim of inspiration from Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin with the elements in these images that seem a bit gratuitous. The motif of shirtlessness and outright nudity was a bit pedestrian. I give this a solid B- for the grand effort it took to accomplish these striking images. But it lost me overall due to the fact that in this work, clowniness fell to the wayside and gave way to outright titillation.

  • Raduy

    I like the time taken in each character…strong themes behind this series…it detonates many many stories…congruent. wonderful dupla, Eolo and Valeria…for sure good communication, research, good project synthesis. hope to see more crazy stuff soon…

  • Beaudine de Massy

    Not scary at all as we know its a make up project. That singer from the English band Prodigy. Now he was totally creepy..

  • Deter Pinklage

    LOL @ Hitler clown.

  • eeenok

    what a lot of crap. clowns are already leveraging a deep and very varied set of images and stories for their own purposes every time they put on their makeup. the fact that mongo doesn’t like this interesting work is of no consequence, regardless of his hijacking claims of authenticity as a “clown” and “artist”

  • Aron Packer
  • You’ve packed a whole lot of ignorance and self-importance into one short paragraph. First, to qualify the legitimacy of these images by myopically saying that clowns do what they do “for their own purposes” shows a very pedestrian understanding of clowns. Secondly, you affect the right of assigning “consequence” of the opinions of others whether they qualify their statements or not. How fortunate that you were assigned this lofty position! Did it come with some sort of crown or fancy sash? All hail Honorable eeenok, Grand Poobah of Artsy-Fartsy Land! He finds this work “interesting” and will judge you of no consequence if you do not!

  • AyaOctopus

    I think you are taking this too seriously.

    Grotesque clowns are just as legitimate as other types of clowns. There is a beautiful place for them in the art form.

  • REALLY? This is offered as “serious” art, in case you didn’t notice and the photographer talks about it in the most serious of terms. But I’m taking it too seriously by critiquing it?

    There is absolutely nothing in any of my comments that question the legitimacy of “Grotesque” clowns. If you actually knew anything about clowns, you would recognize that I am one. And if you actually pay attention to what I said, you’ll see that I only take issue with the fact that these are portrayals by models and aren’t real clowns, that this is just cheap titillation and yet another exploitation of severe clown imagery that has already been done over and over in the last decade.

  • Kisstols McDuck

    Mongo, can I hire you for my kid’s birthday party? You sound like a joy to be around!

  • Robert Schell

    Unless you’re a rodeo clown, you serve no purpose, other than to create horrific nightmares in children and drive a van spray painted with signs advertising free candy. Rodeo clowns are cool.

  • “We’re already being exploited by ….” falsely equivocates exploitation of an art form with exploitation of its performers. Not true. Art forms are not people. You may feel like your art, but that doesn’t make you a victim unless you choose to be one.

    Otherwise, I agree, enough with the scary clowns. It’s hack.

  • By your logic, you wouldn’t take offense at software developers being portrayed constantly in mainstream media as bestiality fiends. There is no way you can tell me that if day after day you are subjected to videos and images of software developers humping goats and pigs that you wouldn’t feel exploited or insulted in some way. After all, software is not people. I suspect your understanding of clowns, clowning and what it means to be a clown is tenuous at best.

  • FINALLY an intelligent comment on this silly post! Yes you can. I am a blast at kid’s parties!

  • OK, I’ll play your silly little game! Unless you’re a Prosecutor, you serve no purpose, other than help murderers and rapists get away with horrific crimes and drive some pos car chasing ambulances. Prosecutors are cool..

  • androphiles

    Your opinion is just one more, and is of no more consequence than anyone else’s.

  • Fideliolioli

    I’m fairly sure Kisstols was being sarcastic about you being “fun to be around”. o_O

  • calavzma

    I think you missed the mark on who here is guilty of “self-importance”

  • REALLY???? I’m going to have to look up this “sarcastic” thing! It might be something I can use some day!

  • Then I challenge you to rebut any single point I made. If that’s your takeaway from what I’ve said, then that shouldn’t be too hard.

  • Alex Zermeno

    Mongo you apart of ICP? Haha!

  • mshelike

    is outright goofy and myopically saying that clowns do what they do “for their own purposes” shows a very rudimentary understanding of clowns”.EH? Ignorant self importance personified! You are a Clown not misrepresented nation or minority group! To most people a Clown is a dumb entertainer, whose craft is on the decline. I thought you’d be happier to get a bit of much needed publicity. *Sad Clown face*

  • Rad Ulrich

    Why all the butthurt, mshelike? Does it hurt your feelings that much that an actual clown knows more about clowns than you do? I don’t know a lot about clowns myself but I can see this artsy fartsy set of photos is pandering junk. Besides, if you don’t want to get your feelings hurt, stop pretending you are some sort of authority and dismissing someone else’s obviously well-qualified perspective with your sophomoric trolling.

  • mshelike

    Go away you self righteous trollop!

  • NutHouse Rat

    You’re sounding foolish, and coming across as a clown.

  • Robert Schell

    Mongo just pawn, in game of life.

  • Robert Guerrero

    The clowns in the photographs do not represent the clown community, yet they represent an artist’s interpretation of a clown. I don’t need to go into deep mumbo jumbo on the subject because honestly Mongo, I’ll never fill your shoes.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get some visual inspiration into your day!