Drawing at NASA!

So, my buddy Sage calls me up and asks if I’ll come to where he works to draw at his company picnic. They can’t pay me but it’ll be cool to hang out and I can bring the family. There were only about 50 people expected so it would be pretty laid back. Ordinarily I’d probably say no (It’s an hour away and I do have a lot of office work to catch up on and have gotten virtually nothing accomplished this week) but I haven’t seen Sage in a while and in fact might actually be a pretty cool gig. See, Sage works for NASA.

I didn’t know it but he invited his wife and some other cool people we hadn’t seen in awhile too. It was great seeing everybody again and catching up. Another big surprise was that Sage led us on a tour of the facilities!

He told me once he was in maintenance and HVAC systems. So naturally my dumb ass imagines him pushing a broom and fixing air conditioners… Not so much… Uh, Sage maintains the vacuum and exhaust systems for where they test rocket propulsion systems and payload deployment systems for rockets!

We started out by watching some hobby rockets go off in a field on base, which was some 1600 acres in Lorain with a really cool history of a weapons manufacturing facility in WWI. Then we saw the vacuum chamber which has 2 5′ thick concrete doors and a suspension system under the floor to keep it from imploding! After lunch, (which went fast and I only got to draw about 25 people) Sage showed us the rocket testing facility which was a giant sheltered hole in the ground that the rocket is bolted onto and the exhaust is expressed underneath the floor into a 250′ deep chasm, cooled, analyzed and sucked out. It was pretty amazing.

Thank you so much, Sage, for asking us to join you and giving us the tour!

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Something Fun and Different Entertainment

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So I’ve been hinting around at a big project that has been taking up a lot of my time. Well, I started an entertainment agency. It’s called Something Fun and Different. The agency specializes in unique interactive art novelties and unique variety acts. If you’re looking for entertainment and want something you’ve never seen before that is artistic and probably a little bit silly- please give us a holler!

Speed Sketchers Caricatures is a group of specialized speed artists that I have put together and am training to do exactly what I do at gigs, nationwide. This is kind of a big deal for me because I am the only one who does what I do. I have (thankfully) been in demand and have one dedicated back up artist, but sometimes my schedule is just too much for me. I have chosen artists regionally so that everyones time gets used efficiently. (and nobody spends 3 full days traveling to and from a single gig because it’s so far out of the way) We can draw together at some gigs and cover for each other. Also important to note is that the more people that can do speed sketches, the higher the demand for them will be!

Apart from Speed Sketchers, I am also representing digital caricature artists as well as traditional caricature artists. Other artistic novelties of note are silhouette cutout artists, henna, face painting, balloon sculptors, an origami artist, live scene painters, portrait artists, giant mural painters and customized color by number projects! I am also pleased to represent an amazing journalistic photographer, a variety of original singer/songwriter KICK ASS musical acts, a speaker/artist presenter and a world famous magician who holds several world records.

The website is here: http://www.somethingfunanddifferent.com if you are interested in checking it out…. Facebook page is here: http://www.facebook.com/somethingfunanddifferent. New website is already in the works now that I have some additional promotional materials from some of the performers.

It’s going to be a big year! Wish me luck!!

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Interesting NY Times article interviewing one of the Chinese caricature ‘bosses’ in Times Square.

Times Square Artists

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!

A Guy Walks Into A Bar -Continued…

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!!

Drawing Some Kids Today At a Gig…

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Had a gig in Iowa today. Very busy. Near the end of the day when the line had gone down considerably I finally got to try out my new camera. The audio is messed up but the picture quality is way better than I had hoped for.

Thought for the day: Most people were taught how a line works when they were in kindergarten or earlier. When adults crowd in line it is beyond aggravating, especially when they throw a tantrum and cause a scene when you call them on it. This is nothing short of bullying and I will not tolerate it.