A Guy Walks Into a Bar… (continued)


So far I have only discussed your rights on PUBLIC property, there are completely different rules concerning PRIVATE property. If the pitch you intend to work is on private property you will need to ask for permission and do as asked by the management of that property in order to busk, nuff said.

There are times you may not realize you are on private property. For instance if you are on a sidewalk in front of a business, that business has the right to ask you to leave for any reason they deem necessary, even if they do not legally own the property outright. Also, there are times when a public space is not public. For instance, the city can grant a temporary license to a group for a public space like a park or a street to be used for a special event, even a protest. It may be possible to busk there but permission will be needed from the license holder to do so. Also, they might have hired their own entertainment which causes obvious problems. At certain times and in certain areas however, busking is encouraged during special events, weekends, block parties, sales, etc… If in doubt, find out who is in charge and call them. If you can get a hold of them ahead of time, you may be able to convince them to HIRE YOU to entertain their guests! – but we’ll get into that later…

Now, why do you need to know all of this? First off, you should ALWAYS know your rights. Second, so that you will have a general idea of how things are settled when there is a difference of opinion between performers, private property owners/businesses and the law/city. Third, and most importantly, so you will know the all too common hassles that even professional buskers of over 50 years have to go through to make a living and so you can appreciate the fact that you shouldn’t ever have to deal with ANY of that junk if you take my advice!

(Copyright Adam Pate, 2013)


Grandma Pate’s are Awesome. Everyone should have one.

After school I rode my skateboard to my grandmother’s house just about every day. She lived in the ‘city’ of Ashland, OH and I could hang out there, eat ice cream and cookies and watch TV till my parents got off work and picked me up and drove the 10 miles out in to the country to our home in Rowsburg, OH.

I spent a lot of time with grandma and spent the night at her house at least once a week. When I was a little kid, my parents took me in to her to give them a break. When I got older, I stayed there overnight to give me a break from them, lol. She is one of my very favorite people in the world and one of my bestest friends still to this day. She is one of the kindest and most patient people God ever created and has always seemed to understand me, tried to help me understand me and genuinely cared to know what was on my mind. I credit her as being one of my greatest positive influences because she was always trying to get me to draw something, paint something or even cook something or create anything really- for or with her every time I visited her back then.

She was a very good artist herself and she always had a lot of pet projects going on, not to mention we would always discuss whatever book she was reading when I visited and she got me interested in doing all sorts of fun things that currently occupy my time. I remember her buying me books on art and projects to do for my birthday and Christmas every year. I got all my art supplies from her as a kid it seems. I had so much paper and so many pencils, pastels, paints all the other artistic p-words I guess because of her.

She had a huge collection of books about art and science related subjects- things that definitely interested me when I was a boy. I used to go to my bedroom at her house and stay up late, late, late reading books about Picasso, Cezanne, Reubens, Van Gogh, Michelangelo, De Vinci, Monet, etc… as well as instructional books about painting and rendering and photography, popular mechanics magazines from the 50’s and 60’s and even the occasional National Geographic (with indigenous cleavage!). She even had me draw Zippy for her, and proudly sent off my drawing to those people, lol! I think she even got me a subscription to MAD Magazine for a while. She was a great inspiration and a very positive influence on me.

In fact, I think Ima have to go get some fresh toll paints and go paint some wooden eggs again with her soon. 🙂

(copyright Adam Pate, 2013)

Bismarck, ND


Bismarck, ND

Adam Pate 60 Second Caricature from 2-20-13

Photo of subject not so good for likeness (a bit dark…) but the drawing is my favorite in a while! It’s quite funny, looked just like the guy and got a lot of laughs from the people watching when I drew it so it was definitely successful in my opinion. Somebody asked me yesterday if people in general like being made fun of by us caricature artists. I get asked this question a lot actually and I’ve thought about it quite a bit. It’s a good question to think on if you do what I do and us caricature artists have some pretty good discussions about it too sometimes.

The way I see it is, I feel strongly that the experience of watching other people being drawn by me is more entertaining than getting one yourself. The idea is that if you enjoyed watching me make your friends look goofy, it’s only fair that you let the people behind you in line enjoy me drawing you goofily. If someone has really big chops I will give them the option of getting a “pretty” one or letting me “tear them up”. 9-10 they wanna be torn up. I don’t pick on people. It’s no fun to be mean, IMO. I do expect that they can laugh at themselves however, or else they wouldn’t be sitting in front of me. Every now and then you can tell someone is self conscious and I do take it easy on them. Fact is, it’s more judgey for me to try to “fix” people than it is for me to just draw what I see and make it funny.

(Copyright Adam Pate, 2013)

Experiments With New iPad Caricature Style

2013-02-17 20.15.29

2013-02-17 19.51.23


I do iPad caricatures at parties and festivals for a little over 2 years now. I have started to get tired of it because it takes so long to do them and they just don’t seem as good as they could be if I didn’t have to use such a blunt instrument (in more ways than one). I have seen some friends of mine doing some nice drawings using some other apps and figgered it was time to go back to the drawing board, so to speak…
These are just some new iPad doodles. I’m messing around with Sketch Club on the iPad looking for a fresh new style to draw in when I do iPad gigs and I think I may have it. These are twice as fast as what I was doing before!! I like the style too. It’s more similar to what my studio style looks like ( http://www.behance.net/adampate ). Black and white drawings can be done in about a minute and a half- I’m confident that I can get it down to only a minute too! I’m going to have to practice some more to get them looking nice and clean for bookings, but I wanted to share. Feel free to let me know what you think about the style (I do realize they are a bit messy)

A Guy Walks Into a Bar (Continued…)


YOU SHOULD KNOW: At least in America, cops have a right to stop you, ask you for your ID and ask you questions about whatever they feel like. They have NO RIGHT to search you or your belongings, take fluids from your body, touch you roughly or confiscate any of your property without probable cause or a warrant. You have a right to use your cell phone video camera or any other recording device to record them at any time.

You have a constitutional right to practice free speech in any PUBLIC place, you do not need to ask anybody’s permission. Be careful to make sure that it is a PUBLIC place and not PRIVATE PROPERTY. That is another story. Each and every kind of performer has a right to express themselves under FEDERAL LAW, which means -(in case it’s not absolutely clear to the city, county and state lawmakers AND COPS) -supercedes local laws. Your mileage may vary however by degree of how much the local law wants to harass you, what they think they can get away with and how far you want to push your luck by dissenting. If you do choose to dissent, a fantastic way to get the most out of this experience is to boldly hold up your cell phone video camera and recite your rights to the officers as they’re pushing your face into the ground and going through your pockets with your arms behind your back, kicking you in the stomach, pepper spraying you in the mouth and hitting you over the head with a stick. (flip them off, spit, cuss, fight back and kick the window of the squad car at your discretion)


“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Let me first say that most police officers are friendly and helpful. It is not the officer’s job to start trouble and harass people, but that certainly doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen, …often. There’s a word for the type of person who wants a job where they can walk around/ride motorcycles around/cruise around in comfy cars …aimlessly, basically because they are hoping for a random person to ‘do something wrong’ so that they can dominate them with a stick, a gun or some handcuffs and a badge that gives them permission to do so. This word is “SOCIOPATH”. A friendly and helpful police officer does not get angry when they get through an entire day without having to stop some sort of trouble from happening. A sociopath however will go crazy if there’s nobody to bully…

They have bad days and sometimes they just get bored… If one of these pricks is eyeballing you, obviously the best idea is to stay out of their way. If they harass you or others around you, be quiet, leave, whatever it is they ask you to do. Just try to NOT get physically abused, taken into custody or arrested if you can help it so you can raise a harassment complaint against them to the city when you are some place safe. If going to the city about it is a dead end call the ACLU. 212-549-2500, http://www.ACLU.org (Trust me. I am a card carrying member. I have called them several times in this situation and I’m glad I did!) If you DO get harassed, remember where and when you were and make note of any shops or street lights with cameras on them if there wasn’t anybody close by to record the exchange first hand. If there is an altercation, get their badge number and name if possible.

Be advised: ALWAYS CARRY ID WITH YOU. IF YOU ARE HASSLED BY THE COPS AND DO NOT HAVE A VALID FORM OF ID, THAT IS CONSIDERED “PROBABLE CAUSE” AND THEY CAN LEGALLY TAKE YOU INTO CUSTODY AND HOLD YOU FOR UP TO 24 HOURS WITHOUT ACTUALLY ARRESTING YOU FOR NO REASON AT ALL. If this happens, they are still not allowed to rough you up. They will pat you down, put you in a squad car and hold you in a cell, but they are not able to go through bags, boxes or sealed compartments like the trunk of your car without a warrant. They may not take bodily fluids from you or cause you to breath into any apparatus either.

In order to avoid a confrontation, it is best to check out the pitch before attempting to busk there, verify that it is public property and if there are other entertainers around, ask them the protocol and if the fuzz is friendly or not. Once again, keep in mind that since you have a constitutional right to practice free speech in any public place, you do not need to ask anybody’s permission -however a little politeness goes a long way towards a pleasant busking experience. Therefore, a prudent performer may also choose to call ahead to the city clerk of courts, solicitor or controller (or go visit the chief of police in a pinch) to see what the official protocol is before performing wherever. In my experience, most performers have no idea of what their actual rights are (one of the reasons I’m writing this) so it’s best to ask the city, in my opinion, and then go from there. Either way, one would have an idea of what to expect when they start busking, for better or worse. The old adage that it is “easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission” does not ring true.

Incidentally if there is a concern about whether creating tangible, tactile, individual, physical artwork that can be taken away is covered by the first amendment, (caricatures, face paint, balloons, etc… anything that can be called a ‘souvenir’ so to speak) consider that the materials were not worth anything before being manipulated by the artist, and that entertaining manipulative service is done in exchange for a freely given donation/tip to the artist and not a stated amount of compensation. The artwork cannot be produced without the paper/balloon/paint/etc… so it is considered just another form of artistic expression that is freely given away and not a product that has an estimated value.

The only things I can think of that would be possibly at the city’s discretion are potentially dangerous or destructive materials or equipment, like fire, water, paints, certain chemicals, chainsaws, giant swords, heavy objects, wild animals, firearms, explosives, etc… I highly recommend getting the OK from the city before putting your thing down on the pitch with these materials in your act. I do not know who would be liable if there were an accident. Chances are it would be the city, which I believe would possibly give them a legal reason to deny you the right to practice your act in certain areas without some restrictions.

It is important to specify that BUSKING is covered under the 1st Amendment. Retail operations are something completely different, are not considered protected speech and I do not have any opinion whatsoever on the subject. If you are charging a set retail price for something, if your operation can not easily be picked up and moved or you are producing something that is meant to be consumed- you are not busking and you DO ACTUALLY NEED TO FIND OUT WHAT THE CITY’S RULES, FEES, PERMITS, ETC… ARE FOR WHAT YOU ARE DOING.


Trip to Minneapolis


Started out in Des Moines, Iowa this morning. About half way to Minneapolis I stopped for lunch at a diner off of interstate 35. My job in MN wasn’t till late evening so I was in no hurry for once. It’s always a treat to actually be able to sit down and have a nice breakfast or lunch in a restaurant instead of eating on the go in the truck.

I have been working on updating my iPad skills and trying out some new things so I was looking forward to spending a little bit of my free time working on that while waiting for dinner also. I walked into the diner with the small satchel I keep my iPad in and went to the bathroom. There were a bunch of old dudes hanging out in there so I’m sure it looked like a purse to them.

Sat down at a booth in the corner near the door so I wouldn’t be bothered by people asking me what I was doing… When it happens over and over again, it gets annoying. I put the iPad away when my grub came and no sooner had I started to eat than a guy came in the door, turned his head and stared at me. Feeling awkward, I nodded to him. He said, “hello young man, how are ya?” We talked for a few minutes and he sat down at my table like he expected I had been waiting for him all day.

He was a retired truck driver and we traded a few stories from cross country trips. He said he had been to Cleveland many times and actually got shot at down in the Flats back in the 70’s. He was amazed that I was a caricature artist from Cleveland traveling around and that I did caricatures on the iPad (I doubt if he knew what it was). He told me he had several from a hobo that used to come through town called Travelin’ Dave. He and his father used to get one every year from Dave. He had a sketchpad, some pencils in his pocket and I guess he carried some sort of easel too. The way he told it, he traveled around the country hopping trains and drawing pictures of people on the street for money on his travels.

Apparently there is a town near by called “Hobo” where there is a hobo “convention” and parade every year. They’ve been having it since he was a kid (he is 72) He talked about it like it was the 4th of July! The town made Mulligan Stew and everybody had a bowl… We started talking about hobos, tramps and how some modern ‘hobos’ are actually rich people who take off tramping to get away from it all for a little while and hop a train and live as homeless people for adventure. I told him I had met a few people like this at the Rainbow Gathering in Allegheny National Forest a few years back in PA. I told him about how the there were some very interesting people there. Some were really smart too. Just because someone is poor does not mean they are dumb or lazy- most often it is quite the opposite! The hippies at the Rainbow Gathering commandeered an area of a national park and made different camps in the Rainbow Village. Each camp had a theme and some of the members of the camps had been members for years and years. They would take donations of food and cook up some grub with whatever they had and pass it out to whoever came into their camp. The village had running water made with PVC pipes and hoses, suctioned out of springs and some camps even had electricity made with a paddlewheel from water from a nearby stream. Money is no good there so I drew caricatures to barter for stuff I wanted.

I suppose the man thought maybe I was a hobo of some sort. I have been homeless doing caricatures before when traveling. It was trying at times as any adventure is, but I made pretty good money and didn’t have to do anything I would regret later, lol. I/We always had enough for a campsite or hotel every night, some food and GOOD beer of course… Life’s too short to drink crappy beer. It was fun and interesting and it’s comforting to know that I’ll never go hungry! I have met a few guys like “Travelin’ Dave” in resort towns. Living the life of a busker and some of them have money. One guy my friend Ron and I met in Charleston, SC on our big ole tramp trip down to Key West (…more on that later!) had a boat that he traveled all over the world on. It was a sailboat and he docked it wherever the hell he pleased. If he needed to pay a dock fee he drew caricatures on the street or in bars to pay for it. He looked well fed and pleased with himself that he had not been sober in over 5 years. Ahhh…. The life!

The picture above was from the gig in Minneapolis tonight. There were some high school kids at the school for the weekend to try out the digs and orient themselves with the school. Some of them came up and got caricatures. One guy in particular, who looked and acted a lot like a young Conan O’Bryan was apparently a little bit giddy and he was acting kinda weird. I was teasing him about being all hopped up on whatever soda he was drinking. Some of the girls with him were too so I was goofing on him about tweaking out on the Pellagrino Pomegranate Juice he was drinking-which is probably the most foo foo sody I’ve ever heard of. Anyways, he didn’t know where he was in line and seemed kinda out of sorts when it was his turn. He asked the girl behind him to get in it with him. She did. I drew them together and goofed around with him more. His hair was a long unkempt mohawk so I drew it all over the place. He was super twitchy so I had him tweaking out in the drawing. Turns out he didn’t know the girl he was getting drawn with, so I drew him with a shirt that said “Like a Boss”, with a bottle of XXX Poma Gran It juice and asked the girl to put her number on it for him. Hee hee! It didn’t work out for him but fortunately, a few minutes later he came by with another group and was telling them how much he liked the caricature. This time he got another drawing with a VERY cute HS girl who he didn’t know and who was way cuter than the other one. He was still totally tweaking out the whole time (just high on life I guess) When I was done, this time she offered to put her number on it for him! I thought that was awesome and it kinda made my day tonight!

: )

(Copyright Adam Pate, 2013)

Caricature Promotional Sign Fail


Caricature Promotional Sign Fail

This is the sign that the student organization made to advertise that I would be doing caricatures today. I will admit that it’s pretty creative. The time is incorrect unfortunately. Last year’s sign had a caricature that was done of me by another artist that the students had found on the internet when they googled “Adam Pate Images” apparently. I think it’s kinda funny and all. I don’t mind it. It’s just kinda pointless when I have 2000+ printed promotional posters I could have mailed out to them AND several versions of downloadable vector based PDF promotional posters and table tent promotions templates several places online that they could have just printed out (any size they liked) But then I wouldn’t have a funny picture to put on my blog!