The latest installation in photographer Arthur Drooker’s ongoing book project entitled “Conventional Wisdom” took the artist to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Northbrook, Illinois for the annual gathering of the World Clown Association (WCA). “Conventional Wisdom” is the artist’s attempt to capture the best U.S. conventions, including a look into fetishes, ventriloquism, and Abraham Lincoln conventions.
Over 200 clowns showed up to their gathering this year to work on honing their craft. Different workshops allowed clowns to work on make-up technique, slap-stick humor, physical comedy, and dealing with ‘coulrophobia’—a fear of clowns.
“Most of these clowns work alone, entertaining kids at birthday parties, seniors at assisted living facilities, and terminally ill patients in hospitals,” the photographer said. “It’s a hard way to make a living and few do. Many volunteer.” But, the artist observed, “Being a clown has never been about the money.”