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Robbie Williams GQ

Just breathe…

Posted: May 18, 2018 in Uncategorized, underpricing

Just been publicly attacked by a UK scribbler whose big business idea was to teach others how to do his job. I pointed out the obvious flaw in his plan – that he was training his replacements – but my polite advice was taken as an attack on his skills, which was met with a tirade of personal abuse on a public forum.  I did not rise to his baiting, as I have learnt better from previous public clashes and so chose to keep my exchanges to a minimum, but I feel my own blog is a suitable place to vent my amazement.

After 27 years of top quality caricaturing and an endless effort to raise the standards and profile of my industry, I think my opinion merits some consideration, especially by any ‘entrepreneur’ hoping to make a quick dollar in hard times, at the cost of my living. So be warned; if you are looking to undercut, underprice, undermine or underestimate me in any way professionally or personally, I will take great pleasure in watching you fail. As another untalented caricaturist once said to me “Stick to selling your bullshit in your own backyard and stay out of mine!”

Not a great start to my friday, but as my therapist once said “You can’t please everyone” LOL

Came across a new group of young caricaturists yesterday, all advertising their services online, as a collective. They took the unusual step of advertising prices for various counties, on their site and the fees were roughly half the industry standard! They clearly do not have a long term business plan!

I am self employed. I am trained and qualified as an artist. As such, my business mentality has always valued my services and artistic talent, while realising that I would never be given a wage rise, unless I made myself worth it.

These new artists clearly do not value their services or their place within the industry and by pricing themselves so low, they will only make themselves the poorer and less popular! They exhibit a ‘short term gains’ mentality and encourage existing artists to compete by lowering our prices in turn. Be aware that lower prices do not encourage new jobs, it just means you work harder for less money at the same job! The logical conclusion being that we will all have to offer more hours for less money, in order to win the same jobs; pretty soon we will all be working a 40 hour week, while earning a little above the minimum wage! Is that all we caricaturists are worth??

Get a business plan guys! If you want to stay in business, then find your worth, find your place in the market and charge accordingly. The only way you will get a pay rise in the next 25 years is if you make it your self and that will never happen if idiots like you keep lowering our market value!!!! WISE UP SUCKERS!

 

 

Recently I have picked up more corporate event bookings and larger events, where I am expected to tow-the-line and work more like a production line than an entertainer, often in unsuitable circumstances. I was beginning to question what I do and if I enjoy it anymore, but last night’s booking has restored my joy in what I do. I walked into a swanky VIP event, smelling of garlic with stains down my suit (after an earlier food accident), full of self doubt and apprehension and the first hour dragged as the VIP clients avoided the smelly weirdo with tattoos, but by the second hour I had won them over and people were clamouring to be drawn. The poshest, prettiest, potentially vainest people were complimenting me on my drawings and so a rapport was struck and I was free to put on a little act and show off to the audience. I had 100% positive feedback and left the event feeling a million dollars.
Such a contrast to other less successful gigs where I am touting for business in a loud, crowded, dark bar or dining room, to be ignored or told “Looks nuffink like me!” or even better “Draw a dick on his head!” and then threatened if I don’t draw all his 6 kids before I go. I’d rather look for more job satisfaction.
I do so enjoy performing as opposed to working like a kitchen porter or production line! So much more liberating that sitting at an easel behind a huge queue of demanding punters, but my hat is off to those Carix who manage that format.

After 24 years as a professional caricaturist and entertainer, I still find myself battling against the same deadly foe; The Amateur Artist!  Despite my excellent reputation for quality service and product, I am constantly compared to ‘the local bloke, who draws for half the price’!

Today I demonstrated my skills as an artist and entertainer at a local Wedding Exhibition, after which I was approached by two venues, both of whom used the same local caricaturist at their weddings. Their main complaint was that he sat in a corner, head down and took 10-15 minutes to draw each individual, which did not impress the Brides or other guests, waiting to be drawn. They could not believe how fast and entertaining I was and both venues offered me a space at their next exhibition, on the strength of what they’d witnessed.

Now I’m no exceptional caricaturist, just a professional, much like dozens of other professional caricaturists, all having to fight against the infux of untutored, unskilled amateurs, who are collectively killing our industry! It should not be my place to constantly educate the public to the standard of artists and entertainers available, it should be the place of those selling us and those competing with us to step up to the mark, as opposed to us lowering our standards and fees. Unless these Artists and agencies peddling our trade get their act together and start selling quality entertainment, then our industry will be reduced to a novelty much like a chocolate fountain or crappy photo booth!!

I’m just saying!

Last November I received the call from Brad Pitt’s PA, saying how much they loved my Pulp Fiction artwork and that they would like to commission me to draw Brad Pitt for his 50th birthday gift! I jumped at the chance and headed south to the set of his latest movie, which was being shot in the UK. I spent the most exhilarating day with Brad and his film crew, on set, watching the explosions and drama unfold before the cameras, while I snapped a few shots and drew the crew.

I toiled away at the composition, which included his Personal Team (hairdresser, lookalike, PA, driver, dresser) for over a week and when it was finished I had the honor of presenting it to Brad Pitt on set on his birthday in December. Unfortunately he decided to shoot a ‘closed set’ on his birthday and so I did not get to see his reaction to the artwork, but he must’ve liked it because he asked for a copy of my Fight Club poster too!!

Unfortunately I signed a Non-disclosure waver, which means that I cannot impart any details, but as I retain original copyright, I assume I can now share the artwork with the public.

Brad Pitt Caricature

Happy Birthday Brad!

It was a joy to be on set with Brad and an honour to be chosen as his artist. Best day of last year for sure 🙂