Monday, June 15, 2009

Yabba Dabba Do!!

"Oh man.... PLEASE Dont hang out here"
That's what I thought to myself returning home late from a great gig I worked in Crestwood New York this weekend. As I mentioned in an earlier post, traveling is murderous on the trains during the weekend, and I felt like I was riding forever....I was tired, hungry, wet with perspiration,....and of course drawing on the train as usual.
The car wasnt particularly crowded , and i was just finishing a previous sketch I had done when the mountain of a man figure stopped short directly across from me.
This guy was BIG. Well over six feet, easily about three hundred pounds or close to it, and dark and imposing. He reminded me at first glance, Biggie Smalls, an I dont mind telling you I was beginning to feel a little intimidated, wondering if he was going to pound me into an ink spot....
Of course all the while I was wondering this I was madly sketching his massive form.
All of a sudden he asked me the most surprising question;
"So, are you drawing a Still Life?"
I hadnt pegged him for an artist, and laughed out loud,. exclaiming that a still life was the last thing I was drawing and commented on how boring they were. I asked him if he was an artist and he explained that he was when he was younger, and went on the tell me at length, the stuff he'd drawn as a kid.
" I used to pretend to draw portraits of kids, and then I'd show them a picture of Fred Flintstone that I drew instead," he said, smiling at the memory that brought back. I invited him to sit down and challenged him to draw me a Fred Flintstone on the spot which he nervously did while the train rocked back ande forth. ( I sometimes take for granted how well I can draw on a moving train.)As he was drawing Fred I took time out to finish my caricature of him, AND a bystander/on looker who sat across from us and had taken interest in our conversation. I asked him why he hadnt continued with his art and heard him say that he abandoned it because he "couldnt get anything going" (financially ) with it. my haart went out to him as I realized tht he, like so many artists, had abandoned their gift just because of financial pressure and lack of encouragement. I once again felt very blessed to be able to enjoy a measure of financial success as an artist.
As we parted I gave him the caricature Id done and he was really touched by it. I encouraged him to start drawing again for HIMSELF and not for financial gain. The money would come, but even if it didnt, I told him the art was something personal he could use for his own satisfaction and mental health. He nodded in agreement, and took one of the comics that I gave him as well. I told him that the comic I was giving him was drawn by the top unsung underground cartoonist ever. He smiled when I gave it to him, recalling that he'd read the work of this artist before.
It was a Track entitled, "The Sissy" by Jack Chick.

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