Interesting NY Times article interviewing one of the Chinese caricature ‘bosses’ in Times Square.
My thoughts: Retail caricatures may be free speech but should not be exempt from vendor licensing or paying local sales taxes. Let alone by undocumented immigrants. Reading between the lines of this article, seeing them first hand and knowing how things work for NYC artists who have tried to set up in Times Square, I can tell you – something fishy is going on…
If you try to set up and are NOT Chinese the cops will actually chase you away. The artwork in their displays are snagged from the internet and are done by caricature illustrator friends of mine who are fellow ISCA members (yes, we have a large group and it’s fun sometimes when the someone from our group snaps a photo of their signs and we all know who’s work is on the sign. One of the artists even cheekily confronted one of the Chinese artists when they saw their own illustration on a sign. …no speaka engrish! Lol)
I hear about these artists almost everywhere I’ve been. They sell a caricature for $5-$10 or more, (some good some bad. Honestly some do good work) but then a lady comes over and tries to sell you a matte, plastic sleeve or frame for $20 or something. She’s pretty aggressive! Again, I have seen her in action.
My advise if you are in NYC and want to get some artwork done? Go to Central Park and get one from one of the artists there. They are as good or better artists than the Chinese artists, probably American, probably from NYC and you will probably have a much better experience. I know some of those artists and if they have signs depicting caricatures, they use their own work. They probably have a sketchbook, some business cards, a website and some fine art they can show you as well, and they might even be able to draw your guests at your nieces birthday party!