Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Caricature Artists Typical Pay Dropped to $8.50 per Hour??!!!

Here's a great article for any aspiring caricature artist. It begins:

"How Julia Makes $250 Per Hour as a Caricature Artist
"Five years ago, Julia Kelly earned $8.50 per hour as a caricature artist at an amusement park.
Today she charges $250 per hour for the same service..."

Is anyone in the caricaturing biz really making only $8.50 an hour!!!?? I have heard that many of them sign "non-disclosure" agreements. Is that why?!

I remember in 1992 when I was leaving my job after ten years as the staff editorial cartoonist and caricature artist for City Pages, the major metro alternative weekly newspaper in Minneapolis, and called the local amusement park to look into the possibility of joining them to draw caricatures. I was shocked when I learned that there was a 33/33/33% split between the concession owner, the park and the artist. I thought that was bad enough! Later, I heard artists were getting only 20%. And they had to supply all their own materials, tools, etc. and sit there for many hours per day, many days per season, to keep the job. And some told me they had too many other artists there, so when the crowds were thin, they had to fight for customers. And a million other complaints.

But has the rate of pay really gone down by that much?

I suppose the gag clause will keep anyone from answering. But it would be interesting to find out.

And even more interesting to find out how much the concession owners and parks are raking in. Obviously, anyone who is getting into caricaturing hoping to make a living is aiming for the wrong part of the business if they are only trying to get in as an artist. Especially young people with a lot of energy and their whole future ahead of them. They should be doing what Julia did, start their own business. But where Julia goes after corporate gigs which are hit and miss, and only occasional, they should be trying to penetrate the amusement parks with their own concessions.

I made that suggestion in a post below the article above, but interestingly, it was removed. A best-kept secret? I wonder who got to them. There is very little competition in this area. A handful of individuals own all the caricaturing concessions at parks all over the country. I would think many parks or the companies that own them would be delighted to have more concession operators proposing caricaturing stands and undercutting one another like the artists have been doing for the past 20 years in the open market. As for markets, the parks' attendees are the ideal demographic. People who are there to have fun and spend money, and have to be fairly well off just to afford the gate fees so they can be expected to be able to afford plenty more inside. There is a definite season of 90+ days of business every year. And now, unlike in the past, there are hundreds of aspiring caricaturists who are ready, willing and happy to work for peanuts, apparently.

I wonder if amusement parks will even continue using caricature concessions. It would seem to me they have little reason left to do so, since there are so many aspiring caricature artists and so many "how to draw caricatures" manuals, mostly by former concession owners or managers who give away all the "secrets" to drawing the exact kind of caricatures (well, that's what they like to call them, anyway) that sell, sell, sell at these venues. I would think they would start hiring caricaturists soon like they do face painters and hot dog sales people, not go through some unnecessary middleman who takes a chunk of the loot.

Soon, $8.50 might seem like a great rate for caricaturists.

There was an interesting article I read online a couple of years ago about Kaman's Art Shoppes, how successful they are, how hard the owners work, how the "mom" trains artists and the "pop" flies all over the place keeping things going, how they have many, many concessions around the country, but I can't find the article now. If I do I will post the URL here. They offer caricaturing and other services and have many concessions around the country. 

I have never explored how one would go about proposing a concession to an amusement park company. I stopped in and met the manager of one once, but knew it would not likely be the place or situation for me. He said they "auditioned" artists, which I thought was interesting and might be a good way to screen applicants. They did not work through a concession operator for caricatures.

Some pages of interest:

 https://www.glassdoor.ca/Hourly-Pay/Kaman-s-Art-Shoppes-Hourly-Pay-E244609.htm  (suggests $10.50/hour is the pay for artists but does not specify caricature artists and is not verified)




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