E’s first good drawing by daddy
E’s first good drawing by daddy
Haven’t been able to post a lot lately because I’ve been traveling and working just about every day. If I’m not sitting on my butt drawing, I’m sitting on my but driving… Anyways, it makes it difficult to keep up with things but Ima try to put a few things up when I have the time, like now! Here’s a few drawings from recent gigs that I found a minute or two leeway to stop and snap a photo. Enjoy!
WALKING INTO THE BAR!
Note to reader: Here we are. Finally arriving at the first step of busking in bars. Starting out, you might want to start with a neighborhood type bar to cut your teeth. Regulars, cheap beer, people who aren’t expecting much. Fun, easy, no stress… Later on I will give you some pointers on how to make it into a major operation but you gotta start somewhere and it’s better to learn to swim in the shallow end instead of jumping head on into the deep end of the pool!
First- Ask for permission from the general management (GM) or owner if you will be on private property. (This includes asking the nearby shop owners if you will be on a sidewalk near the shop’s entrance.) It is (in my opinion anyways) important to be on everybody’s good side if it’s at all possible. It will make it much easier for you to be sure. This includes police and security guards if possible. Look at it this way, whether they give you their permission or not, they may be pleased you came in to ask and they will know who you are and what you are doing which goes a long way towards avoiding problems in the future. Give them a card if you have one. If not, make one. It is a little thing but a card shows that you take yourself seriously and that you are established enough to have one. You can get them as low as $50 for 500, so what is the deal with home printed/perforated edge ones? Get a real card if you are a for real business! This is TOTALLY something worth judging someone on. That is the point. Color copies are a good alternative if you want to keep it low cost and add a lot of info. You might consider making a lot of these to hand out to customers if you are in an area where you might get residual income gigs. TOTALLY worth it in my opinion. Don’t do the “make your own’ business card thing if you want to be taken seriously! If they give you permission, offer them a sketch. If they don’t want one, offer to draw somebody else for them. This allows them to see first hand what you’re doing and establishes a positive rapport.
When you get to an establishment ask a staff person their name tell them yours. Ask them how they are, be nice and try to get them to smile by smiling at them. The idea is that your pleasant attitude will rub off on them. Ask them if the GM or owner is around and make sure they are not busy. (Asking for permission at a busy time is almost certain to get you the brush off.) If they are busy, ask when a good time to catch them will be and then come back. If it is in the morning sometime during the week, come early because they usually leave early. If they tell you to come back later ask if you can leave a card and draw the staff member so that the GM can see what you do. This goes a long way toward making a good impression. Hopefully the pleasant attitude of the staff member will be noticed by the GM, they will enjoy your artwork and maybe they will even look forward to meeting you when you stop by later! – All because you made a good impression on the staff member who relayed the message. DO NOT HAVE THE STAFF MEMBER ASK THEM IF YOU CAN COME IN AND DRAW.
Make sure there is NO DRAMA in your first encounter with the GM. Please keep in mind that to most GM’s, what you will be doing is merely an afterthought. They will go with their impulses. If they sense the slightest hint of trouble, they will give you the thumbs downs indefinitely. If you have already gotten permission from other local establishments, let them know you will be going to those places as well when you introduce yourself. This will show that what you are doing has already been accepted by at least one of their peers, which may also make it easier for them to go along with it.
More on meeting with the staff and manager next post.
Copyright Adam Pate, 2013 All rights reserved.
iCaricatures from tonight at the Scene Magazine BOC party
One of my favorites of the night…
The summer I met Stacie we had a lot of fun traveling around Northern Ohio with our respective talents. I went to gigs with her, she went to some of mine. Mostly I goofed around trying to work but mostly having fun. It was nice to have that kind of freedom back then… I had no expectations of making a lot of money, but keeping busy was a must. I set up on the street once in Ashland for an afternoon. I set up in front of the Chinese restaurant on Main Street near the antiques store and what used to be known as the Nook. I sat there on my milk crate, listening to the doors in the cold shade of the mostly empty downtown buildings and watched the traffic go by. This is shortly after my father, who worked for ODOT designed the 250 bypass so there was a lot less traffic downtown than there used to be. It was very boring, I only made $6 and I never did anything like it again, ever.
Even though I did not work at Camp Mowana, Stacie and I spent a lot of time there on the weekends when it was just counselors and former campers and I even spent the night out there in some friend’s cabins once or twice. (I would eventually propose to Stacie on the edge of Flemming Falls, so it has a lot of significance to the two of us)
Stacie went with me to an airshow at the Ashland County Airport once. ACA is so small, if you’re lucky, Tattoo will announce your arrival and Mr. Roarke will come greet you and ask you what your fantasy is! We hung out in a hanger with an old guy and his new wife. He was bottom heavy, balding and very hairy. Like a tall Danny Devito with pop bottle glasses. She was equally heavy, but more apple shaped with long, red/grey hair that she had put in a bun on top of her head. He was dressed in a wife beater with dress pants and she had on a pair of pink polyester pants with a sleeveless floral printed shirt that reminded me of every outfit my grandmother ever wore in the summer. (I must have a photographic memory because I remember details like this sometimes. Either that, or a good imagination!) They had been married only a few years and they were just over the moon for each other. Very cute. I don’t remember what they were doing or selling there but they liked our music. He had some jazz tapes and we took turns listening to the likes of Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington in fits between the Dead Milkmen, The Cure, Arrested Development, The Beastie Boys, NWA and Enya- Yes, it was an an afternoon for the eclectic. I drew a few people. Thinking back, I can only remember the jazz fans, but I’m sure I drew a few paying customers. I didn’t care though at the time I guess. I doubt if I made more than $35 but I was having fun and Stacie and I got to enjoy each other’s company all day. We got a free ride in a Cessna out of the deal and it was the first time either of us were in a plane. We were scared shitless! It was cool seeing the familiar countryside from such an unfamiliar point of view. We went to some other venues like this with the WNCO Car that summer too. Some I drew at, most I just stopped by to bring her a Snapple and a sandwich or something. (We were hooked on Kiwi Strawberry Snapple I tell ya!) I wish I could remember some of the stories… Between car lots, antique barns, restaurant openings, fairs, festivals, etc… I’m sure Stacie Thompson could tell you some stories too. I used to love to hear about the crazy fans who stalked her over that summer, lol. She had groupies, (swear to god!) and they were some characters to be sure!
Stacie also joined me at the Huron County fair where I was set up near one of the smelly animal barns and didn’t do very well. I think I only spent a few days out there because it was so far away and such a poor location. I remember Stacie being there and not even caring that I hadn’t made any money. I saw some people I remembered from the Ashland county fair and I think I had set up with them at another festival in the same space because I shared the price of the spot with them. Yes, it is frowned upon but it happens. I was a newbie, I was poor and I didn’t know any better at the time… Later in the summer my parents and I went to a festival about an hour away from home just to look around where I saw someone there doing caricatures. I introduced myself and asked her if she needed any help because I do caricatures too. LOL! I thought she was so rude for telling me off at the time. I didn’t understand how competitive festivals can be. Kind of funny actually. Sometimes I wonder if she’s still around. I bet she never forgot it.
I wasn’t around to do the Ashland County Fair, or the Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival that summer. I had gone to Pittsburgh with my parents to find some other living arrangements in Oakland borough, where there weren’t as many parties and I could have a real apartment of my own. Found a nice spot but the landlord wanted me to move in right away, so I was packed up shortly after and was back in PGH about 3 weeks earlier than anticipated but I was well settled when classes started.
At the end of the summer I had the sweetest girlfriend ever and had earned and saved enough money to buy a nice mountain bike and a little bit extra for my chinese food fund. I spent the next several weeks running up my phone bill talking to Stacie, making friends in Oakland and exploring Schenly park on my new bike.
All content is copyrighted by Adam Pate, 2013. All rights reserved.
STROLLING CARICATURES IN BARS… -THE SUBJECT AT HAND-. GETTING STARTED.
I WANT TO TEACH YOU ALL WHAT I HAVE LEARNED ABOUT STROLLING, aka, WALKAROUND BUSKING- the variety of venues available to do this in, tricks to help you improve your take once you have decided to give it a try, and the details of the successful methods that have worked with me and the artists that have worked with me in the past while doing this under my tutelage… SPECIFICALLY- busking creative performance entertainment (in my case caricatures) in bars.
Strolling busking is just what it sounds like and what I have described before, except you are roaming and barking at people and doing your thing without a net in large crowds of stupid people. It is “extreme busking”, “guerilla busking” or “Para-busking” because you are taking a huge risk doing it!! You are getting out there in front of God and everybody and having a blast, doing something fun and unique among other people who are having fun and still getting paid to do it! The “pitch” may be a bar, a restaurant, a mall, a cocktail party, a parking lot tailgate party, an outdoor concert, a street development promotion, a boardwalk, an intersection, a crowd of people, etc… mostly on private property, sometimes on public, most of the time when there is SOMETHING going on, but still totally fantastic… Strolling artists can go pretty much anywhere, any time and sometimes they get PAID FULL PRICE to work at a gig where they can also BUSK. Hows that for an incentive to do the best artwork you can??!!
Specifically this book is geared toward doing caricatures or quick sketch cartoons of people for tips but it may also be useful as a jumping off point for doing other novelty type “performances”, one on one, close up entertainment services where a creative souvenir is exchanged -including face/body painting, balloon twisting, hair wraps and henna tattoos (and FTR, I would love to hear what other types of performers it has successfully given aid to).
This manual may also be helpful to those full time gig entertainers who are already comfortable strolling in cafes and restaurants doing close up caricatures, magic, balloons, comedy, hypnosis, etc… to try to pick up extra gigs during the week. As is the case with most ingenious art forms, creativity breeds strange animals that are not easy to categorize. If this is the case of your particular act, let me say that this manual may be helpful if you A) have a minimum of props/tools that you need to perform your act and B) if your act is performed close up, one on one or smaller groups and C) you ask for an individual or group tip at the completion of the act and lastly D) if your act is appropriate and safe to perform in close quarters or large crowds of moving people on public or private property inside or out, day or night, adult or family friendly. Yup. This is a niche that covers a lot of territory, so put your thing down and give this opportunity a run for the money. I’ d love to hear how this info has been transformative to my readers. (and how it has effected your success in gathering loot)
There are definite tricks, hustles, dos and don’ts that are generally practiced by most buskers world wide. In this book I will describe in great detail how to maximize your freedom, income, time and fun while keeping safe and out of trouble in the USA! I hope you find it useful! Here goes!!
Mr. And Mrs. Pate!
Even though AIP was open year round, I wanted to have a summer to go work back home if possible. I had a really tough time finding work as it turned out. I called and stopped by places I had always been interested in working when I was a kid and found nothing for the first couple of weeks. I eventually found some work working at the Christmas store in the bottom of Grandpa’s Cheesebarn that is owned by the Goshinski family in Ashland near Fin Feather and Fur Outfitters (better known as the Ashland Mall). I worked with some very nice ladies but the Christmas thing really got to me.
I endured listening to Alvin and the Chipmonks’ Christmas album about 100 times a day and if it wasn’t that, it was a Disney music album (featuring It’s A Small World After All). Needless to say, I was happy to have an opportunity to draw caricatures here and there…
On my days off I visited some friends of mine that were working at Camp Mowana where I had worked the previous summer. (AIP let out too late for me to get a job there again like I had hoped- funnest job ever, BTW…) I also spent some time with a good friend of mine from high school, hanging out at the college she went to, driving out to Fowler’s woods late at night and having lots of fun but somehow managing to stay out of trouble… I booked some fairs and festivals and one of the first ones I worked at was the Perrysville Street fair.
I was set up in a pole barn off the main street in Perrysville. It was kind of a smallish fair but they had a parade and a car show so it was pretty fun. Set up about a block from where I was sitting was a pretty girl with a 1969 Ford Mustang convertible that WNCO, the local country radio station, was giving away for free to a lucky listener who signed up to win it during the summer. I wasn’t a country fan by any means, but during a slow time when I had gotten up to go look around I stopped by and signed up to win it and chatted for a minute with the DJ chick who was there with the car. Her name was Stacie Thompson. I told her she should let me draw her later, and so she did.
After a little while, as promised, Ms. Thompson came over to see what I was doing and to let me draw her there at my ‘booth’, which was a couple of the old school nylon and aluminum folding chairs, a milk crate, a jam box and some pens and paper. (I think I had tossed the easel by then) I was sitting there listening to the Depeche Mode and eating some funnel cake with my high school friend Amira, who had come with me. I offered some to Stacie and she took it.
She made it a point to tell us that she knew who Depeche Mode was and that she wasn’t in to country music at all, which I thought was interesting because you know, she was the DJ at the country station and stuff. She clued us in that she was the DJ on the weekends and that she would be on later that night and if we wanted to check her out, but she also DJ’ed at the local college station in Oberlin and that she liked punk and metal, so we talked about music for a while, then other festivals we had gone to, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Ashland, New London, Mansfield, College, this and that and the other thing… There were some awkward moments there in that first conversation to be sure, but somehow we established that A. we liked each other, and B. that I was not dating my very attractive friend and was in fact single so we exchanged numbers and made a date to talk some time later on the phone. I listened to her on the radio that night and thought that was pretty cool and that she had a very sweet voice.
The following weekend she asked me to go with her to take the NCO car to a car show at the local speedway in Mansfield. (she was going to take her dad but thankfully decided to take me instead) I met her at the station and we drove the car over together, hung out, I did a few caricatures and we talked for hours and had a blast. I kissed her there in the garage at the radio station before she went to work -and that was it! That was the first time I kissed my future wife and the future mother of my child!
I know I’m going to hear how I got it all wrong now as soon as she reads this, but that’s the gist of what I remember, lol! What a great summer!
Copyright Adam Pate 2013. All rights reserved.