Documenting the Magic Under the Big Top and Behind the Scenes

(SANTA ANA, CA) – Enchanted by the worlds of sequins and makeup, performers, and trapeze artists, Wednesday Aja’s work reveals the magic that transforms for a song – or a circus season – inviting the viewer to come along and get lost in the magic. The latest JWA Community Focus Space exhibit in the Thomas F. Riley Terminal will be on display from December 16 through January 20, 2022, and showcases a distinctive collection of fine art photography with a documentary edge; unveiling themes of custom, costume, community, identity... and things that go bump in the night.

Born in Los Angeles into a family of artists, designers, and craftspeople, Wednesday Aja was immersed in a world steeped in art with a deep appreciation for beauty. She went on to earn a BA in Art History from UCLA and further enriched her education and experience with classes in design theory and darkroom technique.

Later in life, a month-long cross-country road trip led her to settle in Austin, Texas, for a time, where she worked for several years as a graphic designer at advertising agencies, design shops, and a letterpress studio. Ultimately, it was Aja’s move to Paris, France, that reignited her passion for photography, collaborating with fashion designers and photographers, documenting the fashion scene, and shooting behind-the-scenes photos for fashion magazines.

Aja’s background in graphic design and a strong sense of design principles informs her photography, utilizing form, line, and negative space to create engaging compositions that communicate clearly. In 2019, she was the artist-in-residence for DTLA’s historic Hotel Figueroa, with thirty-two photographs featured in the hotel’s Artist Alley Gallery. One of her prints was added to their permanent collection. More information about Wednesday Aja, including visual collections of her art photography, can be found on her website at

According to the artist, “Late at night, if the wind was just right, and the city still, you could hear the roar of the tigers. A designer friend’s atelier shared the block with the historic Cirque d’Hiver in Paris, France. Renewing an old curiosity, it was a call to explore the world of the circus. Those magical moments planted a seed, and when I discovered a small family circus traveling through Paris during the summers I was hooked – I got “sawdust in my veins” as they say. Now back home I regularly shoot circuses from California to Florida.” Aja goes on to say, “I am enchanted by those worlds of sequins and makeup, drag performers and trapeze artists. My work reveals the magic that transforms for a song – or a circus season – inviting the viewer to come along and get lost.”

The collection pieces on exhibit at John Wayne Airport pull from Aja’s ‘Troupes and Tribes’, an ongoing series exploring themes of custom, costume, and community. Selections are viewable (pre-security) on the Departure (upper) Level near security screening areas in Terminals A, B, and C and on the Arrival (lower) Level adjacent to Baggage Carousels 1 and 4.

For more information about the John Wayne Airport Arts Program, visit