Interview with a circus performer


After our research project was finished we began to work on our first major project for the semester. Our assignment was to find and interview someone who is considered an outsider. Someone who operates outside of the norms of society. Then to produce of a piece of design work with the transcript of their interview. Within the design constraints of it has to be printed A4 on a black and white printer.

My first reaction was, um okay, how is this graphic design? But the further on we got the more excited I became about the project. What an opportunity! This is of course the reason I came to London in the first place to push myself out of my comfort zone and try and push the boundaries of my work.

Some possible interviewees I toyed with the idea of included (connections through various people and contacts).

  • A Taxidermist
  • A Sex Blogger
  • A lesbian, weed smoking, motorbike riding nun
  • A homeless person
  • A travelling circus performer

In the end I decided to go with the circus performer. I love the idea of interviewing someone who literally lives in the circus and has no actual home apart from the circus!

After much running around including several urgent late night skype calls back to Australia, I tracked down a performer named Danik Abishev who is currently travelling with a circus called LIMBO. If you ever get the chance to see their show do it they are AMAZING! As a travelling circus performer Danik was not exactly easy to track down but eventually got a friend of his back in Australia who works with Australian circus performers to contact him via facebook and asked him to email me as I was trying to contact him. And he did!

I met Danik at 10pm at night after one of his LIMBO shows (which he also got me a double pass complimentary tickets for – LEGEND) and he turned out to be absolutely delightful! I genuinely enjoyed talking to him and hearing about his life. We covered areas from his childhood, family, to love and marriage, and the toll that travelling takes. I feel lucky to have found someone so charismatic and enjoyable to interview.

I decided to design the interview as an A2 poster that the viewer would print out at home and assemble as they choose. (Keeping in mind that the design constraints set by our lecturer are  it has to be printed A4 on a black and white printer.)
This ties in with the themes of play and fun that the circus is all about. I included several vintage circus illustrations as a nod the circus’s of the olden days to highlight the contrast between that and the modern day circus.

The final poster layout is below. The idea is that the viewer prints out the poster as four separate sheets and assembles them as they wish to read the interview. It can be in or out of order, upside-down, backwards, read all or only some of the questions. This idea is inkeeping with the circus themes of play, exploration, disorder and topsy-turvy.


Click on the image to view fullsize and read the whole interview