Two Articles From Greg And Ally About What The Wall Of The Circus Ramp Means To Them
The weather in the DR is amazing, but at the same time, it can be very rough on our equipment and paint. The wall in the ramp suffered through two hurricanes, and plenty of storms before we finally decided it was time to repaint. Starting fresh with a few coats of white paint on the wall gave us a new canvas to express our artistic views on the best circus life.
Ally Hornsby, the Canadian sensation, set to work designing a new quote for our aerial space. Years of creative expression, and a deep understanding of the circus community led to her to a quote that both inspires new and old artists alike, and affirms the commitment to the incredible art we prescribe ourselves to.
“Your wings already EXIST, all you have to do is FLY”
This quote reminds us that we all have the capacity for greatness, despite any fear that holds us back. Yes, you too can achieve what you think is impossible so long as you let go of what is keeping you on the ground. Put that fear away and embrace the freedom that flying can bring you.
Painting the wall itself was a challenge that warranted documentation. Blowing up a small printed quote to a giant wallsize mural takes planning and careful hands. Close to a week of prep work cleaning and repainting the wall white gave us the canvas we needed to begin tracing out the letters and lines. Careful measurements were made, before Ally meticulously brought to life each letter of her inspiration.
We finished the wall just in time to introduce it to the best group of aerialists in the world. The girls of high flying retreats, led by Brenna Bradbury, came down for a week of fun in the sun. The energy was electric for the entire week, as the girls embodied the spirit of the quote and challenged themselves to try new things and take their skills to new heights.
While the wall has more art coming, the lasting impact of our new mural will live on in all the students that are moved by it, and we want it to inspire everyone to try circus, or at the very least push themselves to do that which scares them. For your wings already exist, and all you have to do is fly.
When I first arrived at the Extreme Hotel to work as a part of the Extreme Circus team, I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of aerial training space. I knew I’d be teaching aerial classes like the aerial hoop, silks and hammock and was really looking forward to training myself! Pictures online of the training space made it hard to get a sense of what I’d have to work with. When I got my first tour of the hotel grounds, I was shown the hold skateboard ramp, turned aerial training space. At the time, the main concern was it had no roof! Apparently, the old roof had had trouble sustaining some recent storms, and was no more. Because of this, all the equipment like rigging points, mats and apparatuses, had been put away to save them from the elements.
I was then told the future plans for the space. We were to have a new plastic roof put on to shield us from possible rain, and the almost constant wind that Kite Beach is known for. The wooden ramp itself would stay intact and once protected by a roof, we could add rigging points to the ceiling beams. So I got the run down on the technical side, but couldn’t help but realized the whole thing needed a face lift too! I pitched the idea to repaint the back wall, with some sort of graffiti style quote! It was currently a very faded ‘extreme circus’ logo and instead of repainting it, I wanted the challenge of taking some art of mine, to a larger scale! I first had to choose the quote, and trust me, there are a lot of flying quotes out there! I made sure the one I picked didn’t have any negative words. I wanted the wall to inspire people to try something new and dare to do it even if they weren’t perfect at it the first time!
I drew out the quote as a sketch and when I felt confident enough to give it a go, I used some grey paint to lightly trace out the letters. Stepping back helped me figure out what needed to be bigger or smaller or farther away or closer together. I started letter by letter, stepping back constantly to see if anything need to be altered. I used white paint as a eraser and continued to thicken the letters where need be. Some spots were a bit more tricky to get than others. Climbing a curved skate board ramp and not sliding down it, is slightly challenging!
But, I got it done! Just in time for our first ever High Flying Aerial Retreat to come to Extreme Hotel and Extreme Circus! The photos taken of them training in front of this wall, made all the work worth it. The quote hopefully added some inspiration into their retreat also!
The wall itself is not finished though! The words are just the beginning. I won’t give away exactly what else will be added because then there would be no surprise when it’s finished! But the rest will suit Extreme Hotel perfectly. Graffiti with strong lines, bright colours, a beach feel but different. In the end, I think this wall means a lot to me, as this quote inspires me to continue flying high and strong, not just in aerials or trapeze, but in life, and to be %100 me at all times. I’ll continue on this crazy journey to discover what’s next and know that although I sometimes fly alone, I always fly free!