Little Atom, Burt Pierard, trained with Tony Prince, The Atomic Clown, and was ten years of age, in 1952, when he became the youngest registered clown in The Circus Clown Club of America.
Note: This portrait came about through my working on the couple of portraits of Tony Prince, the Atomic Clown, and making some inquiries. I eventually got in touch with Burt Pierard who was helpful in answering some questions I had about Tony Prince and his miniature Prince Sisters Circus. And he commissioned a portrait of himself as a young clown. It’s my first straightforward clown portrait and I loved doing it. Burt was able to sketch for me his signature clown make-up to use for a reference.
When I was a kid I didn’t care for clowns. Except my mother had a few cloth doll Pierrots she started making when I was little and never finished, and those fascinated me as a child. But no otherwise I didn’t like clowns except for the European Pierrot. Whenever I saw the European-style Pierrot in a show I was pretty well riveted. Then when I was about 18 I saw Fellini’s clown movie and some time in my 20s I suddenly started liking Jerry Lewis and then in my 30s I finally got hold of Charlie Chaplin movies. And that’s my history of beginning to come to an understanding with clowns.