Karen Gersch #87

Circus Artist and Trainer


Founding Member of Big Apple Circus and Vermont's Circus Smirkus


Directed by filmmaker David Cripton

Meet New York Artist Karen Gersch. This is our third special short film by filmmaker David Cripton in Brooklyn. He interviewed Gersch at her home studio in bucolic Montgomery, NY. They discuss the thought provoking character to which art should aspire, her personal experiences and artistic reactions to 9/11, and what it's like to run away and join the circus!

Karen is a prolific visual artist who uses a multitude of materials and styles to create visually arresting works. Her life drawings capture a maximum of movement and expression with a minimum of line.  An accomplished circus performer and a founding member of the Big Apple Circus and Vermont's Circus Smirkus, her comedic and acrobatic expertise enables her to capture both the atmosphere and movement of these magnificent scenes. Karen's lifelong love of circus, the inspiration of so much of her artwork, led her to study ballet and acrobatics after graduating Pratt. 

On tour, Karen keeps copious sketch journals of the acts, the artists and of life on the road. The spontaneous drawings for which she is known, capture a maximum of movement and expression with a minimum of line. Her own physical training and performing expertise helps her define the skills she captures so succinctly on paper and canvas.

She has exhibited in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, Cape Cod, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota, Canada, France, England and Germany. Her art is in private collections around the world, has been published in books and magazines.


Directed by David Cripton (Twitter: @davidcripton)

Edited by Justin Rosen and David Cripton

Photography by Nadia Jenefsky

Featured Circus Performers: Coral Dawly and Stella Cripton from the Williamsburg Movement and Arts Center