Clown Exposure: The Formation
One man’s junk is another man’s jewelry. That’s the premise for this week’s ‘Clown Exposure’ photo by Slipknot percussionist Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan. The image is a drainpipe bolted to the cement and rusted over time. The shot is distorted around the edges by Clown’s Polaroid manipulation technique, but the picture is pretty much intact. Only where most see a boring drainpipe, the photographer envisions something entirely different.
“I love things like this because of nature,” he tells Noisecreep. “Nature weathers that thing. It looked one way when it was brand new and because of weather — because of circumstance — it changed. This is an industrial gutter for a building. I shot it while I was out exploring photo opportunities for the Wu-Tang Clan. I just put myself in a position where I could look up, and what I saw was a giant metal centipede.”
Once Crahan determined what the artistic transformation was that he wanted to take place, the trick was convincing viewers that the rusty old drain pipe was not a piece of machinery, but a living, nightmarish creature. At the same time, the percussionist wanted to honor the object for the years it had put in as the device it was intended to be.
“I wanted to make it look like this big metal thing is walking,” explained Clown. “But you got this big brown spots coming from the seams. That’s where water is getting through the gutter. Do you know how many years that would take? That’s years and years and years of conditioning. Then, I do a little treatment to it. I pull the Polaroid. I got the sun up there in top left. Boom, I have something special to me.”
In the end, Clown has rendered a walking metal centipede that doubles as a weather-worn drainpipe — and is equally useful in both capacities. “Not everybody’s gonna love it,” he admitted. “But we all see things that are there that we feel we might have to convince people that we see. So, look, it’s a walking centipede. You see it. I see it. Everyone sees it. Let’s just share it. People could still be like, ‘It’s a f—ing gutter.’ And I’ll say, ‘Well, is it?’ Because to me it’s been useful as s gutter, but it’s really a walking metal centipede.