Posts Tagged ‘entertainment’

For decades I have been active within my industry, trying to improve standards and galvanise artists to co-operate and help us all thrive. This has earned me the reputation of being a ‘Rabble Rouser’ and a pariah among the entertainment agents, which has taken its toll.

I have warned against the practice of under pricing and the threat of a flooded market for years, but my warnings were seen as the rantings of a malcontent and largely ignored. Now, after 27 years in my industry I see that my competition has more than trebled and many are under-pricing, helping the larger agencies to thrive and continue the gravy train. So my efforts have largely been wasted, at the expense of my own dwindling business.

I have tried to forge links and inroads within the thriving London market, but it seems I will never be seen as a viable London artist and so shall look at other less parochial markets for the future.

I am therefore taking a step back and halving my efforts to improve my industry, instead focusing on keeping my own business alive. I have abstained from many Facebook groups and let many industry memberships lapse, in an effort to concentrate my efforts on self preservation.

This may mean a depletion in social rants from me, for which I apologise, as I do enjoy a good rant, but I find it draining.

Twenty Seven years ago I stepped into a market which was largely seen as a novelty or joke, fit only to line the pockets of unscrupulous agencies. I tried my hardest to change the public perception and make it a profitable career choice for artists. In many respects I have become a victim of my own success, as the new generation flock into the market and deplete my only source of income.

That’ll teach me for sticking my head above the parapet!

 

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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Always amazed at the different expectations from different venues and event organisers:  I attend some of the largest UK Tattoo Cons, free of charge, but the one largest in London wants £500 for a hall space! I attend many local wedding shows free of charge, also three very large wedding exhibitions in the Midlands only one of which offers me a discount, the other two demand £175-300!! The Alternative wedding show in Birmingham won’t even put me on their list while the biggest Alternative Fetish show at Olympia have just offered me a free pitch!! I could understand if I was a trader, selling goods, its a business afterall, but I work all day at my stand, entertaining visitors, which is a service they would usually pay me highly for. I offer the same excellent service and entertainment to all, but some are determined to squeeze the last penny out of the people who make their shows a better place! Have they never even considered a contra-deal?

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

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/ 

 

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!

 

 

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!