Archive for the ‘discrimination’ Category

A recent ISCA post by Dave Stephens:

Without likeness, there is no value in a caricature. But profit?
Yeah, you can make a profit without likeness. But do you really want to?”

A common (and valid) complaint concerning Caricatures is that some artists repeat eyes, mouths, noses and even head shapes instead of accurately capturing the unique aspects of their subject – this approach (or deficit) is called “Cookie Cutter Caricatures.”

This is my take on the reasons for the “cookie cutter” habit:
50% of cookie cutter artists have an inability to “see.”
25% of cookie cutter artists have an inability to care.
25% of cookie cutter artists fear giving offense (a bravery deficit)…

To break it down further, Tom Richmond said something like, “Anyone can be taught to draw, but nobody can be taught to SEE…” In my opinion, artists that “cookie cut” because they have difficulty ‘seeing’ and understanding the intricacies of shape, size and arrangement of the face might explain 50% of ‘cutting’ caricature artists… Just a guess.

This article refers to the common practice of duplicating facial features, without gaining a likeness and it has caused a storm within the ISCA community.

The practice is common among artists and frowned upon by both caricaturists and public alike, leading to cries of “He/she’s drawing the same nose… looks nothing like me!” often rightly so. I think Dave sums it up pretty well in his argument, the bulk of which I agree with and Tom Richmond goes further in his article here;

https://www.tomrichmond.com/2018/09/14/generic-caricature/

But who are we as professional caricaturists to judge the techniques of other artists? My answer to that is simple – if Joe Public can spot a ‘Cookie Cutter’ and judge them, why shouldn’t I? Why should I defer commenting on a poor likeness or a formulaic rendering, when the paying customer may be complaining or raising an eyebrow? True to say that many of these formulaic artists are very successful and popular among the retail end of our industry, because they cater for the lowest denomination, the least discerning of punters and hope not to be rumbled. All power to them, as there is a place in every market for mass production techniques for the mass consumer, but I personally prefer catering for the more discerning consumer, who looks for a likeness. This way I pleasantly surprise Joe Public, who constantly exclaim “Wow – that actually looks like me, spot on!”

I believe the essence of caricature is to capture a likeness of a sitter, not simply to flatter or placate, that is the job of a portrait artist. The first step towards a likeness is observation, followed by opinion – you should draw what you THINK of the sitter, not just what you see or have been programmed to draw. Drawing from memory will never be as accurate as drawing from life, so open your eyes and look, then apply to your rendering, this way you will achieve a better likeness.

I see no point in merely slagging off ‘Cookie Cutters’ as it is a relative term, which could equally apply to me in some others’ eyes. Instead I try to dispel their myth and undo the harm they have done within our industry, by proving that good caricaturists do exist and that “YES – it is supposed to look like you!”

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

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I was entertaining a client (with 40 guests) last night, when a young chef ask me to draw all 4 chefs and when I refused* he went to his boss (venue landlady), who then went to my client and caused an awkward scene! By insisting I draw the staff, the client was put in a position which was both unprofessional and unfair. The client politely agreed to my drawing them, even though I pointed out it was at her cost and that 4 of her guests would therefore miss out. Later that evening I approached the first chef, who disappeared and was replaced by a burlier chef (presumably more threatening) who squared up and told me to shove my drawings “I won’t waste your time, you don’t waste ours!” was his response. This created an even more awkward scene as I was clearly now the villain of the venue! I thought it wisest not to be fed, even though I was promised a meal.

So the Landlady tries to scam my client out of £50 worth of drawings and because I disagree, I am the villain here? I had to wonder if the band had been asked to stop playing and instead entertain in the kitchen, would they have been chastised and unfed or would the client have simply not allowed it? Is my artform and time worth less than theirs and therefore free to all?? Quite the contrary!!!

*Basic professional etiquette says that if you’re being paid to do a job, you do not expect freebees from other staff unless offered and you do not stop working to enjoy the perks intended for guests!

Why do people, especially staff expect me to give them free artwork, with nothing in return?!

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

 

I recently drew at a wedding which turned out to be the most unpleasant reception I’d endured in years. I say endured because it left a bad taste in my mouth but I was forced to smile tight lipped, for fear of my own safety if I should speak out.  Asides the usual unacceptable racist taunts of “draw him as a Golly Wog… you only need black paper” to the few black guests, I also had to endure two drunks at my shoulder discussing ‘the best fights they’d started’ and telling a girl how they beat up a ‘Fat git eating a kebab’ (unprovoked) the previous weekend and a cyclist for jumping a red light before that – apparently proud that they had broken his hand!  But smile and sparkle I did, though my skin was crawling.

I was forced to move spots several times when the loud mouthed racist behind me kept farting – with devastating  effect! The final straw came when I was drawing a Mike Tyson lookalike and another drunk blurted “May as well draw a lump of coal!” I stopped drawing and glared at him to a loud gasp and “Wooooo daggers!” from the audience. I think he got the message, but what on earth made him think I would agree with his twisted humour in the first place? What makes this still acceptable in modern society??

I felt like I was swimming in a shark tank, with a bloody lip and couldn’t wait to escape the heavy atmosphere. The icing on my cake came when an orange leather faced woman asked me “Do you do proper art, ya know painting and stuff… or just charactertures?!”   I didn’t realise it was a multiple choice question, one or the other but not possibly both?!  I encountered pretty much every  kind of ignorance at the event and was very happy to slip away while the bulk of guests were on the dancefloor.

As a professional artist and entertainer it is my job to be charming and entertaining, but this is hard to maintain when I am insulted, badgered, bullied and made complicit to down right racist ignorance. I just wish racist idiots would leave me alone and not assume that my shaved head and tattoos gave them license to include me in their targeted bullying!!!

Last weekend a client unwittingly made the rudest comment I’d heard in a while;  “My mate at work draws these. He draws ’em in dust on the back of the van (he’s a sweeper) but they’re dead good… I keep telling him to do this, cos he does ’em for free… He could make a fortune!!”…
Definitive proof that many punters see Caricaturists as amateurs that are no better than Street Sweepers. Not once did it cross his mind that maybe it takes more than just the ability to scrawl a doodle in dust in order to entertain thousands of people every year. Or maybe I’m taking it too seriously and shoulda laughed along and proclaimed “Yeah, then he’d be just like me!”….

So just remember folks, the next time you’re offered a Caricaturist for £100, you’re probably hiring a Street Sweeper. Would you hire a Dustman to perform your dentistry?!

Twice this week I have encountered the same problem when trying to advertise with online directories; They would only allow me to list myself by location/county.

All jobbing Carix will know that location is no guarantee of quality and as entertainers we have to travel nationwide to find work.  Indeed, I rarely work in Leicestershire, due to cheap local competition and a general lack of local support, so advertising myself in Leicester is pointless to me!  Last week alone I worked in Hertfordshire, Gloucestershire and Suffolk, the preceeding weeks in Bedford, Norfolk and West Sussex!

Directories take great pleasure in charging per county when paying for a listing, thus making it impossible to take out paid advertising. One directory insisted the client searched by county first, before even offering them a category!  If location was the only criteria for booking a quality wedding, based on local artists and suppliers, then I wouldn’t wanna get wed in Cambridge or Leeds for sure!

Lord Taylor crook

Never trust a man that uses boot polish on his hair!