The Greatest Show On Earth to showcase circus-themed illustrations from Drawn Chorus Collective

We spoke to the exhibition's organisers and illustrators to find out more about the collective, the artwork and the upcoming exhibition

The Drawn Chorus Collective is set to show off its talents in its forthcoming The Greatest Show On Earth exhibition, which will feature work from 24 illustrators inspired by circuses, freak shows and fairs in literature.

The exhibition, which will take place at Battersea's The Gallery on the Corner, is set to begin on 18th September.

We spoke to one of the exhibition's organisers, Abigail Moulder, to find out more about Drawn Chorus and the exhibition.

How did the Drawn Chorus Collective come together?

"Drawn Chorus came together when a number of us finished our degrees at Middlesex University. We knew we would miss the studio atmosphere and the support and advice we got from each other while there.

"Three of us, Alex Moore, Eileen Kai Hing Kwan and I, had been very good at organising events and pop up shops while in our final year, and we hit upon the idea of bringing together the illustrators we loved in a group exhibition.

"This first exhibition went really well and from that point Drawn Chorus was born. The group keeps growing and we've increasingly received interest from other artists wishing to become a Choruser too. We do also welcome guest artists in our exhibitions; for The Greatest Show on Earth, we have the very talented Andrew Baker, Linda Hughes and Oat Montein exhibiting some fabulous pieces!"

How did you choose the theme for the exhibition?

"Our last show, Curiouser and Curiouser, had a definite focus on whimsy and fancy (including our themed Mad Hatter's Tea Party Private View) and we wanted to continue on from that with this show.

"The circus has such a sense of fantasy made real, whether the frivolous childish dream or the darker nightmare. We felt that the circus would be a perfect next theme for our collective.

"We try to draw the viewer into a world that is a marvelous and unique and bring a twist of something a little bit special; this show will also have a themed private view with sights and sounds to scintillate your senses!"

In this article is a selection of previews of the work that will be on show at the Drawn Chorus' The Greatest Show On Earth exhibition, as well as some quotes from the artists themselves about their pieces.

Use the slideshow controls above and right to see them.

Alex Moore

"Compared to the buzzing studio environment at university, working in the real world can be a pretty isolated experience. One of the things I've missed the most is being surrounded by a group of amazing creative people you could bounce off along with seeing their creative process and output first-hand.

"I think this was a sentiment shared by the group because pretty much the second we'd taken down our last show, "Curiouser and Curiouser", everyone was talking about the next thing we were going to do together.

"The theme of circuses, freak shows and fairs for our new exhibition is an exciting subject matter. I'm really drawn to the unusual characters who populate the theme and the literature surrounding it.

"This piece was inspired by Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. I'd read the book long before we'd even thought of 'The Greatest Show on Earth' and had been itching for a chance to take a crack at it so what better opportunity!

"I wanted to play with the dark and sinister side of Cooger and Dark's traveling carnival that the book's protagonists seemingly stumble into. Asides from the malevolent Mr. Dark, the whole circus is populated by a host of creepy characters who were just begging to be drawn."

Alex Moore Illustration

 Eileen Kai Hing Kwan

"I draw with pencil on paper, and I didn't want to draw the iconic colourful and cheerful picture that permeates the word 'Circus'.

"I read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and her enrapturing black and white, Le Cirque des Rêves (The Circus of Dreams) was perfect.

"My pieces are imagined circus freaks inspired by the beautifully eerie and dream-like imagery from Morgenstern's tale - I aim to draw in and delight people with my illustrations."

Eileen Kai Hing Kwan Illustration

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Abigail Moulder

"I decided to base some of my pieces on Dr Seuss's If I ran the Circus. The reason for this is that I loved the fantastical circus imagery created through the eyes of a child (and who better to understand the wonder of the circus world?).

"My "noble apes without fear" counterpose the silliness of Seuss with the more classical portraits of traditional knights, an oxymoron that I think Seuss would appreciate!"

Emma Block

"I love creating work for an exhibition because it allows me to be more experimental and bolder than I would be with client work, and the circus as a theme is just a wonderful starting point. I've been reading Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter and it's been hugely inspiring"

Katie Marckwick

"I was keen to take part in the exhibition and become a part of the collective because a lot of the members are great friends of mine. We went to university together and I know how talented every single person in the collective is and I just really wanted to work along side them again. They're a very inspirational bunch.

"The pieces I'm contributing are inspired by the book The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Each one is a different character from the story, matched to one of the major arcana cards from a Tarot deck. Tarot cards, fortune telling and fate feature heavily in the book and I wanted to show how each characters role is given to them very early on and how they affect each others fate and circumstance."

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The illustrations on the following pages will be sold as part of postcard packs at the exhibition, alongside a number of illustrated items, including toys, jewellery and prints, in the gallery shop.

This Ring Master postcard is by Alex Moore.

Plate Spinner by Emma Block.

Horse by Tavi Austin.

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Illustrated Man by Ben Hendy.

Fortune Teller by Amber Cooper Davis.