Carix’s Diary ’15 – 18

Happy New Year!!!

2015 has begun in full wedding exhibition mode, with a couple of stadium Fayres to show off my skills at in January. I began at Coventry Ricoh Arena, with a newly designed FOH display set, including ipads and slide shows, to make the stand more interactive and self sufficient.

Wedding Caricaturist stand

 

I am determined to outshine my competitors this year and cement my reputation as an excellent wedding entertainer, by attending as many large Wedding Fayres as possible and perhaps skip the smaller venues this time. Fingers crossed.

 

23/01/15 – Birmingham Meropole

Today I was drawi ng XL caricatures for my sponsors Edding at a trade show near the NEC. I really enjoy the larger scale drawings and am proud to be the only UK caricaturist offering this unique medium at the moment. The size suits my drawing style and has the added benefit of being visible to a wider audience, making it an instant attraction at any show!

XL caricatures

 

10/02/15 – Shilly Shally

Each year a small group of established caricaturists get together, usually in London for drinks and chats, renewing old acquaintances and sometimes making new friends. This year we met at The Phoenix Arts Club in Soho  and enjoyed an afternoon of stories and wine, with some of the UK’s finest caricaturists.

caricaturists

Simon & Sheba Cassini, John Roberts, David Lewis, Jed Pascoe, Luisa Calvo, David Hensley, Graham Fowell, Paul Baker, Picasso Griffiths, Stan Toohey and myself.

 

28/02/15 – Barnsley

Drove north tonight for a joint birthday celebration in a pub in Barnsley. Now I don’t enjoy working in pubs and Barnsley has thrown up some horror stories in the past, so I approached it with trepidation.

Barnsley pub

The pub was lovely, if a little dark and crowded and the birthday girls were very nice, so I was at ease when I strolled onto the dancefloor to begin drawing. At this point, the DJ piped up “Looks like Right Said Fred is in the building!” which got my heckles up straight away. I would’ve preferred an intro, telling people what I was doing, but I grabbed the spotlight and made the most of it. Tempted though I was to headbut the cheeky twat on the turntables, I simply gave him a two fingered salute as I launched into my first table of drawings. The night went well and was well received by all, until the usual exit time, when I was grabbed by the hostess and asked to draw a few more. I obliged and stayed on for an extra 20 minutes, before packing up to leave. As usual I was accosted by a tipsy guest who was most put out that I would not draw her! I endured the usual barrage of verbal abuse, with a smile and made my way to my car.

Thankfully the only person who mattered (the client) was satisfied and emailed me the following day to thank me for my services. No mention of disgruntled punters, so I forgot the incident. Another job well done!

 

05/10/17 – London Hilton

Two days drawing caricatures at a conference (summit) for an American client, booked via an agency.  The client had insisted on a 9 hour day onsite (14 with travel) and so I braced myself for the long haul!  I arrived early to find I was not registered on my client’s stand, which took 30 minutes to clarify and rectify, as the clients were not yet at their stand and the agent was in USA which was still fast asleep at 9.30am (UK time). I used my charm to blag entrance and made my way to their stand.

FOH exhibition stand

I could see that there was no allotted space for me to work and no advertising of my presence, so knew it would be tough to attract punters to the stand. I set myself up on a stool and waited for the clients to arrive. Eventually one chap came and sat down at the stand, completely ignoring me! I was perplexed and so made my own introduction. It seems they were unaware of my booking, schedule or requirements. Soon the other FOH staff arrived and also ignored me…

I did my best best to remain upbeat and professional, greeting all punters with a smile and offering to draw them, even popping to other stands and drawing them to spread the branded paper and the buzz. Eventually the ladies on our stand approached me for drawings, which I obliged. It seems my humour does not translate to the American market and the best reaction I could hope for was “There ya go!” which I heard countless times! My drawings went down like a lead balloon and remained undisplayed by the staff!!

front of house display

I soldiered on regardless and did my best to attract punters during the busy break-out sessions, but it was difficult getting people’s attention when I was constantly blocked by the FOH staff, who seemed intent on sabotaging my success!

client blocking

I should point out the basics of entertaining at a stand; many exhibitions do not allow attractions (Magicians, Caricaturists etc) to step outside their clients’ area and so I am stuck at a stand, where I am reliant on either eye-catching advertising or pro-active staff to supply me with interested punters to draw, while they make their sales pitch to a captive audience. I cannot draw punters while they are eating, nor can I interrupt them while mid-conversation (possibly clinching a deal) and so my windows of opportunity are limited. Needless to say I worked my socks off and drew at every opportunity in an effort to impress my client, but fear my efforts were largely un-noticed.

A caricaturist can be an excellent investment and a veritable ‘stand magnet’ if put to good use and promoted properly at a conference or exhibition, but ignore them and you are wasting a valuable asset – like hiring a Formula 1 simulator car, then not bothering to plug it in!!

 

02/09/18 – London Edge

I was invited to draw at a two day ‘Alternative Fashion’ trade show at London’s Business Design Centre, a massive venue and a colourful looking event. The organisers kindly gave me a huge stand (4x2m) and free parking, which help cut my costs, as I would be working ‘retail’ and charging people per drawing while there.

I invested in a Chiropodist’s chair (barber’s chair) which added a menacing centre piece to my stand and some new business cards, to cater for the 5000 alternative punters streaming past my stand. It was a struggle to load the heavy old chair, but it looked a treat and my stand was ready!!

IMG_8311

I plugged in my iPad, took out my drawing pad and waited for the punters to come! I waited and waited and waited!! In my boredom I took to drawing some wedding place savers on iPad, a studio job which was outstanding and hoped to attract some custom. The hours passed and after 8 solid hours of being ignored by a handful of over dressed pin-up wannabes, I began to wonder if I had BO!! Chatting to the other stand holders, I realised this was a trade show, not a retail show, so no-one was allowed to sell anything, hence the punters weren’t expecting to pay for anything… especially not a caricature at a fashion show! I was on a loser.

IMG_8347

I learnt that people who dress like Marilyn Mansun, with white make-up, heels and latex corsets, covered in tattoos and self-harming scars, do not have a sense of humour and probably don’t want to be ridiculed! I packed up my stand early and limped jome with my tail between my legs! Two days wasted and £180 in costs….

 

 

See more of George’s work here:

https://www.caricatures-uk.com – https://www.wedding-caricatures.co.uk – http://www.caricatures.live – https://www.itoons.uk/ 

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