Tillie N. 5

 

About the Tillies

Tillie, the nutty, grinning mascot of Coney Island has here been anatomized. While there are many versions of Tillie, this series began with a photograph I took of his image that decorates the island’s Soarin’ Eagle roller coaster. Other Tillies can be seen all over the neighborhood: on fire trucks, a T-shirt store and a car wash. There is a similar Tillie painted on the Palace Amusements building in Asbury Park, NJ. All are based on a clown face painted on the Steeplechase amusement park (since burned) that George Tilyou built on Coney in 1897.                 I printed my Soarin’ Eagle photograph on nine sheets of letter paper and mounted those on a board. All photographs in this series are reflections of this board. My process (as further explained in my discussion of the Putin series) is able to reveal, from within this single, smiling face, a hidden range of personality traits: maniacal, vicious, self-loathing, cowardly and supremely confident.                                                                                                 “Tillies no. 5,” seen on this page, incorporates my original “Soarin’ Eagle Tillie” photo on the lower right, and is combined with the “Tillie n.2.”