Marie Roberts, Artist-in-Residence, Coney Island USA

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It was my pleasure to meet Marie Roberts at an Exaclair samples sale last December.   An accomplished painter, Marie is a professor of painting at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Coney Island USA’s artist-in-residence.   She is also a member of FPN.  

Marie sent me some cell phone pix of drawings she did in an Exacompta sketchbook that including the King and Queen of Coney Island’s annual Mermaid Parade.   You can see them here. (I love mermaids, so those drawings were a special treat!)

Marie explained: “I tried to include a range of media (pen & ink, wash, watercolor, gel pen) work drawn from life and work invented. The sketchbooks are excellent to carry around because you can work spontaneously or in a worked over protracted manner on paper.”

“The paper is really excellent.   My only wish would be that the books were a bit larger.   Maybe I need to draw smaller.”

Marie is best known for her banners for the Coney Island Circus Sideshow. Her canvas advertisements for Donny Vomit, human blockhead; Heather Holliday, the youngest female sword swallower; Serpentina, the snake charmer; and guest freaks like the Lizard Man adorn the CIUSA building. Marie’s banners are a year-round tourist attraction and a favorite subject of photographers.

Want to learn more?

Marie Roberts also teaches workshops on the art, technique and history of banner painting. Coney Island Sideshow School is one of the only places where students can learn the art from a professional working in the field.   Her spring 2011 session begins on Saturday, April 2 at her studio location on Coney Island in Brooklyn, NY.   Please contact her at for more information.

You can visit with Marie Roberts and her Coney Island banners via Slideshow Picasso, a documentary film by Marilyn Agrelo.

More here on “Portrait of an Artist: Marie Roberts.”

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