Saturday, January 31, 2009

Best Caricature that Money CANT buy.


It was a slllllllow retail day at the Hotel that afternoon,and I was not making a dime. Frustrated, tired, and bored, I was ready to pack up and call it a day.

Then I spotted HIM looking at my caricature stand.

This kid was a caricature artist's dream. He had those chubby hamster like cheeks that looked like mini water baloons attached to his face, huge pointed ears that stuck out like open car doors, each one at a slight 45 degree angle, but that wasn't all! He had these great bushy eyebrows, and to top it off a literal crown of thick black curly hair that sat majestically on the top of his head like a miniature rectangular skyscraper! I was in carciature heaven!!! He came over with his sister and brother and asked how much the pictures were. When I quoted the price for color is heart sank a little bit, but determined to get a picture from me sat down and decided to get a cheaper black and white job.
I didnt really care. It had been a slow day and not only was I finally going to make a little money, but I was going to draw a picture of this kid who was a caricature artist's dream! I drew his picture immediately and he was almost beside himself with laughter and delight. It's not often that people actually LIKE highly exaggerated caricatures of them. I drew his brother next, and saved his older sister for last. As is my habit when drawing, I began to make small talk asking her questions about various things and asked her how she had come to stay in the hotel that i was drawing her in. She said quietly that her family's home had burnt down the previous night and they were staying there until they could find a place to live.
My heart sank, as she reached in her pocket to pay for the caricatures. I told her to forget about payment, and proceeded to change her black and white caricature to a full color one. Her face brightened a bit, and she broke into a smile not expecting this. I did the same to her two brothers' pictures, all the while making casual conversation while fighting back tears and emotion. I thanked them for stopping by my stand, and as they left to go back to their rooms I heard the youngest one say, "He's a good man, right?"
It's times like this that you realize that you really can make a small difference in somebody's life just by this simple act of drawing. Money cannot buy the respect of a child, and that kid didnt realize that the gift he gave me was worth more than anything I could've made.

This is a memory sketch of that kid who blessed me that day.

3 comments:

Thomas said...

Nice story. A few years back, I was at a fund raiser for an underfunded elementary school in Brooklyn. I was giving all of the proceedings to the pot that day and charging a modest price to do the drawings. There were many things the kids could do and buy. Ranging from candy to a dunk your principle booth, I thought I'd be ignored. I wasn't. The lineup seemed to go forever. At five dollars a crack, I hit the pricing sweet point I guess. One young man--maybe 9 to 10 years of age, waited patiently in line with a little girl who might have been 6. I'd look up and see him eyeballing his friends, but in line he stayed. Like yourself, I talk with my subjects and try to elicit facts about them. The women wanted to have more flattering drawings, some of the kids wanted drawings as their favorite TV characters. In conversation, this boy was given 5 dollars for the whole day but decided, for his mom, that he wanted to spend it on a picture of his little sister. Making up a fib on the spot, I said that he was my 20th customer and that the drawing was not only free, but would include him in the drawing. I don't know if it was his selflessness that brought something out in me, but that drawing came out particularly well. That day, I raised 185 dollars for the school. Doing the math, I had 37 paying customers, but it was the one I wouldn't take payment from I remember the most.

Elgin Subwaysurfer Bolling said...

Always feels good when you use your power for good!

Boomer Bill said...

What a wonderful story.