Thursday, June 17, 2010

Caricaturing to "make a little extra cash on the side..."

A few weeks ago, we watched the end of a movie on Showtime that was so bad it was funny enough to watch when nothing else was on.

It was called "Exit Speed." Here's the summation:

On Christmas Eve, ten strangers board a bus traveling across Texas. Far out in the wilds they collide with a meth-addicted biker. Forced off the road by other members of the gang, the passengers take refuge in the hell hole of an abandoned scrap yard. They use improvised weapons and sheer guts to mount a defense against the murderous bikers but, as their numbers dwindle, they realize that their survival depends on doing the unthinkable. They must go on the offensive. Written by Sabbatical Pictures

At one point, the victims of the mad biker gang are holed up in a shack preparing for the next attack from the bikers. One of them, a young (attractive, sensitive type) woman, sketches a little on a scrap of paper. It's a drawing of another victim, an attractive young man. A little romance is implied between these two characters.

"What are you doing?" he asks her.

"Oh, nothing... I just, sometimes, draw... I, uh, I do caricature sketches, make a little extra cash on the side. I draw graphic novels."

Here is what has taken down the art of caricature from something unique and special to something everyday and mundane. The invasion of bottomfeeders and opportunists who regard caricature as basically just some sort of fourth-rate non-art that anyone who can hold a pencil can do.

There are art students, hobbyists and amateurs all over the place who are now calling themselves "caricaturists." They have no knowledge of the history of the art form nor familiarity with contemporary caricature artists who take the art seriously. Rather, their work ethic and drawing style are informed exclusively by other fellow bottomfeeders and opportunists, with a little help from the party planning agencies and retail caricature booth operators who exploit them for profit.

The notion that caricature is something one just does "on the side" for a "little bit of extra cash" is disgusting and has torn down something that was once great and diminished it to the point of such unimportance that it has become difficult to continue practicing it without having to spend an inordinate amount of time educating individuals inquiring about my services, one at a time, to disabuse them of the assumptions they have formed about caricature as an art form based on their limited exposure to these mostly horrible "artists."

I hope to get a chance to post arguments suggesting to young artists the reasons why it is against their own best interests to "make a little cash on the side" from caricaturing (or attempted caricaturing) if that is not the particular artistic talent that they happen to be genuinely best at. I also hope to address the character of those who are happy to exploit these wannabees, and expose some of the psychic tactics they deploy to entice good-natured people, both artists and buyers (clients who hire caricaturists for events and customers at theme parks, festivals, fairs and malls), and how badly these people are ripped off by them.

Check back...


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Great of you to throw some light on this Pete. Couldn't agree more....

  3. Why did the prostitute have a vagina implanted onto her hip? Because she wanted to make a little money on the side!


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