Living Half-Boy

When we talk about Freaks it is worth highlighting Johnny Eck, one of the most famous and admired ones: this is my personal tribute to him.

One of two twins born in Baltimore in 1911, his brother Robert was born normal and healthy. He always loved stage and by age fourteen he was performing regularly, often with his twin: an illusionist would call a volunteer from the audience to be cut in half, and you can imagine the rest of the story. People screamed, fainted and even walked out.

He also featured on the big screen in Tod Browning´s “Freaks” (1932) and in the first Tarzan movie ever made.

He passed away on 1991 at the age of 79.

The most remarkable thing about him was that he never felt sorry for himself and he lived his life intensely, from starring in Freaks to being a train conductor and a racecar driver, or even a saxophone player (as you see in my illustration).

As he once said: “To ask me if I´m sorry I have no legs is like asking an Eskimo if he´s sorry he never tasted an artichoke”.

He has a museum dedicated to him in Baltimore, MD (

Thanks for reading!


2 thoughts on “Living Half-Boy

  1. I love your sideshow series! They really resonate with me for I, too, am a freak.
    Just kidding. I saw the movie “Freaks” last year and fell in love with these wonderfully intriguing people who overcame their “handicaps”. Everything about the subject interests me from the time period to the predjudice overcome, to the costumes, to the creative marketing of their bizarre deformities. I have been wanting to paint a sideshow series myself and am jealous that you beat me to it. Keep up the good work!

    mark montgomery
    P.S. I love the backgrounds and textures in these images too!

  2. fragosoart says:

    Thanks a lot for your kind words, Mark!! Yes, “freaks” have always interested me: how they could “get a life” showing what was supposed to be hidden: they represent a triumph over their disadvantages.

    And I´m glas that you liekd my textures: as I´ve seen in your work, you are a real master using them!

    Thanks again and have a nice day, Mark.

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