Posts Tagged ‘entertainment’

So finally, after weeks of tinkering and developing and fixing glitches, my newly rebuilt website is ready to take over the web-waves! Though similar in theme to the last site, with it’s pulp fiction feel, torn paper and bulletholes, this new site is far more structured and hopefully user friendly, with an eye to future browsers and a simple booking procedure.

Please take a look and feel free to leave me some feedback, all (positive)  suggestions welcome ! CARICATURES-UK.COM

spot on caricatures

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!!!

Speaking as a veteran digital artist (having drawn for TV Times since 1999), I find that my studio digital caricatures bring me the most joy nowadays.

Ali Gee

My first digital published piece, for TV Times in 1999. “Ali Gee”

As a graphic artist I love digital and as a performing artist I have to keep up with the latest mediums, techniques and technologies too, which include digital media. Over the years I have tinkered with Tablets and learned a host of new software, in order to produce the latest live entertainment craze; Digital Caricatures. Indeed I have just finished demonstrating the latest Samsung Galaxy tablet (phone) in shopping Malls nationwide. My recent live experiences have drawn me to the following conclusions.

While I have enjoyed the challenge of learning new software, mastering new hardware and gadgets, I have yet to find one example which outshines the simple brilliance of pen on paper! The small size of the screen, the lack of line variation, the limitations of the colour fills and ultimate complexity of each digital tablet, simply hinders the entertainment process! Though I have produced some respectable colour sketches for a live audience, the forty minute queue, then ten minute wait and lack of end-product tends to kill the jubilation. Even when printed out, the punter walks away with a tiny A5 scribble, after nearly an hour of anticipation. I could’ve drawn and entertained 15 punters in that time on paper!!!!!

Samsung caricatures

Digital caricatures, be-it drawn on iPad, Samasung Galaxy or HP tablet are simply not fit for purpose and should only be used static, on an exhibition stand, to sell the iPad, Samsung or HP tablet, which they do very well. They have no place around crowded dining rooms, dark charity dances or (God forbid) weddings.  Do you want entertainment at your table or a geek, hunched over a lit screen for ten minutes?

  • MONEY SAVING TIP – Simply tip waiting staff to approach a table, stare at one person for ten minutes, then laugh and walk away…. It will have the same entertainment value as an iPad artist!

“You are just this odd bloke standing in the corner looking like you’re doing a survey or a time and motion study.. And no one will really see what youve done till the cold grey sober light of the following day!” – Anon Artist

Technology marches on and a new iPad looms every 4 months, so perhaps in 18 months time, they will develop a totally portable iPad which can show on big screen and print wirelessly, without the need of a hub, while producing top quality colour masterpieces, but until then, I’ll pack my pad and pens just in case.

Samsung Slate

Just invested in a new tablet PC, which promises to tick all the necessary boxes; Portable, pressure sensitive, fast, printable and USB friendly. Its a swanky piece of kit and it did the job fantastically for Intel in April 2012.

Intel caricatures

digital caricatures

The screen was very sensitive and fast, though the size was a little limiting (being cinemascope instead of square) but the screen orientation fitted the plasma screen perfectly and it made for an excellent exhibition draw. Being a PC, I could use my choice of software and print-off easily via my wireless HP printer. The only draw-back were the hot PC fans, built into the rear of the device, which meant I was unable to pick it up and wander while drawing.  But as I said before, this medium is far better suited to static drawing, not walkabout entertainment.

Samsung Galaxy Note

I am currently on a national UK tour, drawing on the above device, to entertain the crowds at a series of major national events. Despite my requests and recommendations, the client has not provided plasma screens to entertain the queues, so we have a queue of upto 50 people, all queuing for upto 4 hours to be drawn by two blokes sat under a gazebo, looking like they’re texting! The bemused punters are then handed an A6 printout, which coulda been drawn by hand in a third of the time!  Unsurprisingly the client is not impressed and  has asked for photographers instead of caricaturists.  My point has been proven adequately here!

samsung caricatures

2013…

My digital career continues to flourish, as I am now producing caricatures for GQ magazine in vector format and have drawn digital live at several exhibitions again this year.

Daft Punk

digital caricatures

After a very successful exhibition season, I am still firmly of the opinion that digital caricatures are purely for show, not entertainment and the only artists who find them entertaining must be very dull performers without them!

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!

…..”NO”:

  • I have never worked on a street, begging passers by
  • I have never worked on a beach, pestering tourists
  • I do not draw at Fetes or any other such event that involves spending many hours sat under an umbrella dealing with wasps, rain and screaming kids
  • I won’t carry a bucket round asking for money per drawing
  • I will not just squeeze all 12 of you on one sheet in the last 5 minutes
  • I won’t match the bloke down the pub who quoted you £50 to attend your party
  • I could NOT make a fortune on the streets of Paris or Prague, dodging the Police, organised gangs and drunken stag parties

However….”YES”:

  • I am very fast at drawing
  • I will entertain most of your guests, even the one’s not being drawn
  • I have been on telly
  • I have been drawn many hundreds of times
  • I have upset people, mainly the vain and humorless
  • I have worked for ‘newspapers and magazines’
  • I could well be the BEST investment at your party or wedding