Tuesday, December 27, 2011


As I'm sitting on the train vegging out one day, not even remotely interested in drawing, which is extremely rare for me,I happen to glance up, and regain my creative conciousess long enough to spot my muse.
If you've been on a New York City Subway lately, it's becoming increasingly hard to tell if your actually riding a commuter train, or sitting down inside BEST BUY, or the APPLE Store!
Electronic gadgets are EVERYWHERE! People are talking on cellphones, playing, video games on playstation devices,popping their fingers while listening to iPods, swaying to unheard beats with gigantic headphones! And that's only the beginning! You see women of all ages, with contorted faces of intense concentration, playing games on their cellphones, teenage girls typing at breakneck speeds, texting with their thumbs, and incredibly, people with DVD players if every size and shape,watching movies like they're in they're living rooms. If course, there are the ever present iPads, iBooks, and laptops.

Judging by what you see you never ever would have believed that at one time there were actual announcements to COMMUTERS to NOT display their electronic devices! Man!it's unbelievable How far we've come!

Which brings me to my muse...

In the middle if this intense scene of talking, texing,and video viewing, was thus businessman with this enormous laptop typing as casually as he might in his own office. With Wifi soon to be coming to the subways, followed by an increase in cellphone reception power, I see the subway itself becoming even MORE of a mobile office than it us now! In the future the need to "go to work in an office" will be totally obsolete. The subway car itself will BE your office! I thought ud illustrate my vision by drawing an executive hard at work,multitasking if corse, talking on the cell to a client,which simultaneously emailing over a contract, in operation to take a sip from his hot frothy latte (there will be latte vendors on trains in the future folks).

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Singing Success JESSE NEMITZ new Caricature by Elgin Bolling


Just received my Christmas gift to myself today: a audio/DVD set from Singing success.com featuring two of my favorite singing success vocal coaches, Dave Brooks, (The master of Compression!) and my artistic muse, Jesse Nemitz.  The title of the DVD audio set is The Top7 Commercial Singing Secrets by Dave Brooks.  

Although I have no aspirations of taking my show on the road, I am an avid vocal musician and I do a lot of singing in my local church congregation, and when I perform spoken word poetry.(no one has booed yet, so I must be pretty decent)  This DVD is not for the beginner, of course, (singing success has other products geared towards that) it gives advanced and intermediate vocalists the tools they need to enable them to infuse their songs with personality and vocal styling. I didn't plan on doing a plug for the product, but it's just that good! From what I understand, the set is originally 29.00 , but they're having a holiday sale where you can get it for 19.00. The mail silvery is soooo fast that you'll be amazed.


Speaking of amazed, I got another opportunity to work on Jesses amazing face.  Don't get it twisted, I don't have a "love jones" for Jesse! But as an artist who makes his living by drawing faces(maybe yours, HINT, HINT) there are some faces that jump out at you and make you say, I WANNA DRAW THAT! Jess, IMO.has one of those faces. 
I got an opportunity to draw his profile a lot this time, since it's the dominant angle he gave while talking with Dave(rhyme unintended). The response to my last sketch of Jess was so positive, I decided to draw a more cleaner sketch this time using a Tombo and Pitt artist brush pen, and digitally painting it in Photoshop.
 Sometimes a face can look less interesting in profile view that frontal view, and three quarter, but Jesse's face is even more interesting. There's still that edgy look that comes from the dark .large deep set eyes, and that five o clock razor stubble adds to that suble ferocious appearance. The hair angle is really fun to draw, and from the side is almost Anime like. Jesse could easily be drawn in an Anime cartoony style and still be recognizable. (I think I'll go for a full body shot next time to prove my theory). As I stated in my previous drawing he has this "bird of prey" visual quality about him. Intense, fiery, but under control. His mane of thick black hair is  reminiscent of feathers, visually.

Hope Jess and his fans and Singing Success and on his FACEBOOK site, like THIS take on him. Comments are welcome and appreciated, as well as inquiries how you can get your Ian caricature avatar drawn by me(it's more affordable than you think!)

Feel free to contact me via email at 


Looking forward to hearing from you! 



Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Folks when I say this baby had large eyes, I mean they were like tennis balls! This kid was a newborn who a mother wanted to have drawn at a recent party at The State Building on 125th street. The baby was sleeping initially, and I asked his mom to take off his winter hat and scarf and just hold him up so I could see him better. I could see that even though a newborn he already had an impressive head of ink black shiney curly hair that would have made any woman jealous. Then....he suddenly opened his eyes, and I'm not kidding, I nearly yelled in surprise when he fixed those peepers on me. They were unusually large for a child his size, they were expressive, intense, and almost seemed like automobile headlights! The whites of his eyes in contrast to his chocolate complextion made his eyes appear luminous. I immediately drew a memory sketch of the kid which you're looking at niw. I don't know what he will be when he grows up, but if he's an attorney, you're going find it hard to lie to him!

Heroic ADAM CLAYTON POWELL JR. statue at the state building

I recently did a gig that was held at The State Building om West 125th street, spitting g distance from the world famous Apollo theatre in Harlem NY. At te entrance of the building s this magnificent, jaw dropping statue of Adam Cayton Powell JR. For those of you shoring know who he was,Adam Clayton Powell Jr. was best known in his role as chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor. He was a leading figure in passage of the backbone of the much of the social legislation of the Kennedy and Johnson presidencies.

He helped steer the passage of the minimum wage bill, the Manpower Development and Training Act, the antipoverty bill, and bills providing federal money for student loans and for public libraries.

The above quote was taken from this site:http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/28/remembering-adam-clayton-powell-jr/

What I love about the statue is that it's depicts Powell the way I AKWAYS read him. Powerful, persistent, insistent. And progressive. He was the proverbial "man in motion" an articulate, informed, furry spokesman for Afrjcan American people during one of histories most tumultuous racial periods. The staue as I mentioned earlier is absolutely heroic. Powell appears to be able to walk off the podium into heaven itself, jus trench coat blowing behind him in a way that reminiscent of Supermans cape in flight.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Caricature Avatars for two satisfied clients.

REALLY had fun on the last face! As soon as my client showed me a profile of his face, my mind went immediately to the character, King Leonitus, in that scene from the movie 300. Who could forget that famous line that he screams at tge Persian messenger before kicking him into a bottomless pit;"THIS...IS...SPARTAHHH!!!!!!" of course, I did a little play on words, THIS IS SOCCER!!!

Both guys are best buds, bar owners I believe, hence the beer mugs they're holding onto.

The dude on top gave me a photo reference of him in a checkered shirt and I could help but think of hay, barns and scare dancing. Of course, I had to give him the Lil' Abner Boots!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Character Designs for Bankable Script.com


It's always a joy when you have a client who respects your creative talent enough to be able to let you "do your thing" without micro managing everything. Vince, the brains behind Baabe Script is tgatkind of client.Vince commissioned me to create characters based on him and a cat who would be the mascot, and our relationship has been smooth sailing. If you are serious about doing screenwriting, and getting paid, this is the place to put up or shut up. There's no guarantee that you will win the competition, but you'll be a definite loser f you don't try.
Follow the link to the FACEBOOK page, which will give you more information on hw to enter.

Congressman Meeks "Racecard"Defense

Even though so much has been already written on this issue of Congressman Gregry Meeks calling my Editorial depiction of him "racist" , I can't help but speculate on how he must have felt once the "awful truth" was revealed. That the artist, was a Back man like him! I think Neeks figured he could gain some sympathy by referring to The Wave newspaper as a racist propaganda rag, and the cartoon drawn by a white Artist. Again, I can only imagine his surprise....good thing that I'm an artist who can actually draw what he imagines!

Monday, October 24, 2011

WPIX 11 Interviews Elgin Subwaysurfer Bolling

My thanks to the people at WPIX Channel 11 for giving me an opportunity to appear on air this morning.
Copy this link and put it into your browser


After viewing the broadcast clip, I'd like to say first how
thankful I am to my mom, for teaching me to sit up straight and tall, and talk in a clear strong voice, when discussing something important.

The actual interview was considerably longer, but Network News understandably has strict
time restraints to devote to each story, some of which never see any airtime whatsoever, so I am very grateful to the folks at Channel 11 News.

I would truly welcome a media opportunity to tell my side of this more extensively, and in it's entirety. This is an important issue that is worthy Of discussion and shouldn't not be reduced to a few soundbites. this is an important issue on many levels, and people need a balanced view that they can only receive when hearing both sides.

It's not right for someone as influential as a Congressman to label me as something that I never dreamed I'd be called in my life! He's not just attacking the entity known as "The Wave Newspaper", he's attacking me, the cartoonist who drew the picture. After all cartoons don't draw themselves, people draw draw them.

This is an act of bullying.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A few parting shots before I move on...

I must say that it as been quite a week for me. The recent events of the past week have certainly taken up a lot of my time and energy. A lot of space has been alloyed in this blog to cover this, and I thank you loyal readers for being patient and putting up with all the political noise.

For me, at the end of the day, it comes down to a man who didn't like hs picture being drawn and wanted to complain about it. This happens frequently enough to any caricature artist as to be something not even worthy of discussion, the reason that I've focused on it for this length of time is to defend my reputation as an artist Asa person and as an African American.

Defending myself as an African American....I would much rather NOT even have to "go there" the funny thing about being an African American in this country is sometimes have to "prove" to OTHER African Americans how "Black " you are.

It's not discussed in public, meaning amongst other races, but this is one of the stupid little dialogues that re surface in the Black community as we "talk amongst ourselves"


The question comes up when you decide that you like to crack open books instead if sell crack
The question comes up when bring your white boyfriend home to meet the parents
And, thanks to the Congressman it comes up when you draw cartoons.

Anyone who doesn't lock step and agree with "conventional" Black opinion gets a label and not a favorable one.

Now that it's common knowledge " that I am Black, I 'can't be a racist" but I can be something worst.

A race hating, Uncle Tom.

Labels. I guess some people need them in order to tie up their universe nice and neat. If you abel something "bad" like "racism" then you can become a hero and "fight it" I'm sure Congressman Meeks feels as though he was "fighting racism" by pointing out my cartoon. I suppose every politician likes to envision himself as the champion of something. I imagine that American elected officials feel, on some level, a moral obligation to defend a standard set by our Civil Rights forefathers, like Martin Luther King and others who spoke out against racial injustice.


To engage in this fight is honorable and noble. I fault no African American elected official for doing that. But when you dis ingenuously put on the civil rights champion costume, and conjure up an imaginary enemy to fight, you're little more than a poser and pretender.

Funny how Halloween is just around the corner. It seems the Congressman couldnt wait to put on his costume.

Speaking of which, I've got some great Haloween toons coming up folks, so stay tuned!


The following letter is taken from this weeks lettes to the Editor, section of THE WAVE by my collegue, fellow editorial artist, Tom Kerr. I'm no slouch with words, but Tom here makes me sound like I'm stuttering and stammering by comparison. All I've got to say to Tom is, "Thnk you, I couldn't have said it better"


Reading the open letter from Representative Meeks in last week’s issue of The Wave, held – for the most part – no surprises. A congressional representative caught in a litany of serious ethics violations defends himself in the face of editorial criticism. What more could or should we expect? In his lengthy defense, Meeks singled out the caricature of Elgin Bolling, one of the triumvirate of cartoonists whose editorial images grace these pages. I, along with Robert Sarnoff, happen to be the other two. It is to this portion of the letter I’m responding.

In the last third of his open letter, Meeks goes on to charge that Elgin’s caricature was “explicitly racist,” violates “necessary sensitively” and inaccurately compares it to D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation,” a century-old film about the Civil War and Reconstruction. The idea of this comparison being, I suppose, to show how far back, in terms of racial equality/sensitivity, The Wave happens to be. Pure hyperbole.

Meeks is off the mark on a number of counts. First, it should be made clear that Elgin is an African American artist. A quick survey of Elgin’s work, easily seen at his subway surfer web blog, immediately confirms that he has done far more offensive caricatures of his own face than anything ever leveled at Meeks. Further, The Wave, in my experience, has always given a free hand to its contributing artists, but never, to their credit, asking them to either reign in or take vitriolic aim at any specific subject or public figure. In fact, as the news cycle goes, there is a one in three chance that any one of The Wave’s contributing artists could have leveled a graphic broadside at Rep. Meeks. It just happened to be Elgin’s turn.

Elgin Bolling is, first and foremost, a caricaturist; drawing from a rich tradition of “portrait-charge” or the loaded portrait, as it came to be known when first popularized in French magazines, around the time of that country’s revolution. Like Meeks, officials there were also offended by those drawings, more than once throwing the cartoonists into the clink for their efforts. Later, in the hands of Americans and the freedoms found here, the graphic vitriol became even more pointed with artists like Thomas Nast, whose graphic excoriations helped take down Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall. Boss Platt, who was to follow, attempted to pass legislation at the turn of the 19th century that would have blocked such political commentary.

In fact, it was Tweed who said, “I don’t care a straw for your newspaper articles, my constituents don’t know how to read, but they can’t help seeing them damned pictures.” So, it would seem that Gregory Meeks is in good company when expressing dislike for caricature. Almost confirming that history is – in fact – cyclical.

As it turns out, my likeness, too, has been inked by Elgin and I’d like to state — for the record — that it was a caricature and unflattering. I didn’t think to fire off a note to Elgin for singling out my Irish features, but why should I, this is what caricature’s function is. To exaggerate, distort and make fun of, otherwise it would have no teeth, becoming unremarkable, milquetoast and impotent. Elgin has nothing to apologize for; he was doing his job as an editorial artist. On the other hand, time will tell if Meeks, in sharing the opinion of Boss Tweed about caricature, will, one day, share his fate.

Does ERROL LOUIS of NY1 WANT to hear Elgin Bollings side of the story?

Following is a letter I wrote to Errol Louis of NY1 Inside City Hall show, in response to him having Congressman Meeks appear to air his grievance about The Waves editorial, and my cartoon in general.

As I have maintained in my blog posts since this issue raised. The Congressman is entitled to his opinion, and should be allowed a forum to express himself concerning the issue that the cartoon points to.

He has the rift, from his point of view to call the cartoon racist.
It's that statement that I take odds with. Since cartoons don't create themselves, if you follow the logic, the creator of the cartoon must be a racist as well.

I have a right to defend my reputation as much as the Congressman has to defend his. It was my hope that NY1 would see it that way.

Thus far, they have chosen not to respond.

I wonder why?

From: Elgin Bolling
Date: October 20, 2011 11:58:32 AM EDT
To: "insidecityhall@ny1.com"

Dear Mr. Louis
My name is Elgin Subwaysurfer Bolling Editorial Artist for The Wave Newspaer in Far Rockaway NY.
The first thing I would like to make clear is this:


Unfortunately, Queens Congressman, Gregory Meeks doesn't share the same opinion, as evidenced by his remarks on page 29 in a recent letter to The Wave, and most recently, on your broadcast, as listed below.

The editorial cartoon, he feels depicts African Americans in a way that is reminiscent of racist portrals from the film Birth of a Nation

As an Editorial artist who draws public elected officials, I am fully aware that from time to time I will encounter someone who is not pleased with what has been drawn, because a picture really is worth a thousand words, as another  editorial artist, Thomas Nast, would agree, no doubt , if he was still among us.

Surprisingly, throughout this whole affair, I have not received one email, or phone call to give my side of the story, and to answer these accusations, save for the Queens Tribune, last week.

I am easy enough to find, I am one of New York City's most sought after live Caricature Entertainers, and my blogsite, at 


Is one of the most popular of it's kind online.

Since this issue first came to my attention, I have posted on my blog, numerous rebuttal articles, and audio podcasts refuting his claims of racist, divisive characterization of black elected officials, and show numerous pictures of past cartoons drawn for The Wave to demonstrate that.

For me, as an Editorial artist who draws Caricature,my intention is usually to find something humorous in the facial features if a subject and exploit that, by squashing, stretching,   Emphasizing or De emphasizing.

I demonstrate, how I have also, given equal exaggerated artistic treatment to Caucasian Public officials like Former School Chancellor, Joel Klien, Anthony Weiner, and even our very own Mayor.

I have no Ax to grind. I illustrate and interpret editorial copy. If I've committed any crime, it's been in being too humorous maybe, but don't sit there and assert that I'm a RACIST! After all, IM A BLACK MAN TOO!

Or did anyone stop to look at that fact? Does The Congressman truly think that I would purposefully draw a cartoon which demeans my own people? At best, that makes me a race hater and a fool. At worst, it makes me an Uncle Tom.

Feel free to go to my blog to validate what I've said here. 

Elgin Subwaysurfer Bolling
(ps I'm called Subwaysurfer because I draw caricatures of subway committed, NOT because I ride outside the train!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Random Thoughts on Racism, Editorial Cartooning ,perception, and Thomas Nast

I've been doing some more thinking about all if the above issues, and here are some of my thoughts.


Like millions of New Yorkers, I've seen the famous Subwaysurfer J train clip that has made an instant celeb out of this guy who's using my moniker.

I registered it on Go Daddy, and everything!!

I'd live to draw this guys face! Please dude, if you are listening, and reading posts about yourself, contact me!

Listen to this appeal:


This is a recent interview with caricature artist Kenly Dillard.


Following are editorial caricature cartoons I've drawn for The Wave Newspaper that feature Caucasian Politicians. Study these caricatures and you will see gigantic foreheads and chins, oversize noses, and even...GASP... LIPS? My purpose in displaying these pics is to demonstrate that I am an equal opportunity facial exaggerator no matter WHO I'm drawing BLACK or WHITE.

This is another in an ongoing series of Bi weekly Editorial cartoons that I'm doing for The Wave Newspaper, that services the Rockaways, Broad Channel,& Howard Beach sections of Queens. For those of you who dont know what this is about, local politicians, are locked in a race for a coveted city council seat, in an upcoming election that will take place this month. In order to earn a place on the ballot, each candidate was required to accumulate a total of one thousand signatures from registered voters living within the district,before a predetermined deadline date. According to one candidate, Geraldine Chapey,(with the BIG hair) her political rivals, Mike Ricatto,(wearing glasses)Glenn DiResto, Frank Gulluscio.(with the great hair) and Eric Ulrich,(in the black suit) signatures are not valid, and they should be eliminated from the race.
I'm not taking any sides on this issue other than caricaturing the heck out of everyones face! This group of people were really fun to draw and I cant think of the last time I've truly enjoyed an illustration assignment more. The journalist who wrote the article as well as Howard, the editor of The Wave, loved the illo so much that it made the front page of the paper, something, to my knowledge at least , that has never been done before in the paper's history. Even if I'm wrong about this, it's still an honor for an artist to get this.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I don't Exaggerate Races, I exaggerate faces part two

Here are a few more examples of random subway caricatures done of people where their faces are squashed and stretched. This is another past post.

There are days on the train when the caricatures practically draw themselves! Man! if i didnt get paid to do this i wouls still do it for the sheer joy of capturing the souls of these people on paper!
I especially liked the tall black gentlemen on the bottom... he had the vibe of a certain presidential candidate.... maybe he was going for that look. I noticed also that with the small black fedora he had a frank sinatra or Run DMC thing going too. This is also my fave because he came walking by so fast that I had to do a very quick gesture drawing of him. As a result I gat this delicious mouth watering design that sort of pops.The Indian lady had eyes SO wide open I swear she didnt seem to blink. It was almost like she was a bird of prey looking for some rodent to pounch on.... Needless to say i didnt make eye contact..... This other dude had a head that looked like he was hiding another person inside it, and the chick with the glasses had this look on her face that said: Damn! i cant see! My prescription is NOT working!!!!

HERE IS ANOTHER GROUP FROM A PREVIOUS POST notice the variety of Races and the exaggerations. I'm an equal opportunity face stretcher and squasher. If you've got a face, you'd better keep it from in front of my paper and pen!

I EXAGGERATE FACES NOT RACES! Elgin Subwaysurfer Bolling

If you've been following my blog for the last couple of days you know about the accusations leveled at me from disgruntled Queens Congressman, Gregory Meeks, concerning what he feels is a racist caricature drawn of him and Senator Malcolm Smith in a recent Wave Newspaper Editrial.

Wow..sorry about the run on sentence! Take a moment to get your breath back before continuing...

The Congressman may be under the impression that I'm targeting him and his collegue for visual abuse, but the fact is that I'm just doing what I've always done as a caricature artist.

Let me make this perfectly clear:


That would be, and is, divisive, negative and inflamatory.



Which all races, happen to have!

I do this in my work as a party artist(when requested, and if the person can take it) I do this in my personal depictions of subway riders as can be seen on the blog, and hence the moniker, "Subwaysurfer" and yes, I do it in my Editorial Political Cartooning.

I am re showing a series of pictures from my archives here to demonstrate that this is my standard way of drawing, it is specific to the caricarture art form as a whole, and it's just plain fun! I'm done this to folks of every race! As I will demonstrate in future posts.

Blackafroamericannegroafricanamericanpeopleofcolor are just plain fun to draw. You get such a diversity of very EXTREME features already with noses lips and headshapes. I've met a lot of white caricature artists who can really draw who somehow get a little shy when having to draw a black person for fear of "offending them" While its TROO that you will sometimes get gripes about "you made my nose too big," "my lips aint that big!" etc. Just think, these are the gripes that EVERYONE gives us regardless of race. I say if theres an outstanding feature , GO FOR IT! I always do....


Another in the series of African American caricature representations.

Stick him with a fork! He's DONE!!! This Governor's Goose is Cooked! Latest Editorial Cartoon for THE WAVE Newspaper Far Rockaway NYC
Paterson's face..... MAN! What can I say??? He was MADE for CARICATURE!!! for the purposes of the paper, I stick a little more closely to a more realistic rendering, but you can really have fun with his face which, I plan on having later...heh...


Pieces of a Dream coming together today. It's a proud day to be an African American in America. For me, it's always been a proud day thanks to the dedication, and sacrifices that were made by others.\I did this drawing for the "Editorial Comment" Section of my local paper, "The Wave".

This is an early caricature of President Obama shortly after winning the election. I feel fortunate having a platform where I caN draw our first Back President, and thank the "caricature gods" that he's easy to caricature.

CON MEEKS ON NY1 Talks about Elgin Bolling WaveCaricature

In this NY1 Clip, CON GREG MEEKS addresses inside Washington, and blasts The Waves cartoon drawn by Elgin Subwaysurfer Bolling


Monday, October 17, 2011


This is the first in a series of past Wave Newspaoer cartoons where I, the editorial artist, look back to re examine and re evaluate my depiction of African American people and politicians that have populated the pages of the publication for the last three years I've been on board. It is my intention to demonstrate that outside of interpreting the editorial copy given to me, I have no personal racist agenda which has been suggested by Congressman Meeks as the result of an unfavorable caricature of him and Senator Malcolm Smith.

The Wave reports frequently on both elected officials, so I get a chance to draw them frequently, as I do other elected officials as seen in the caricature below. While I did go for comical effect on Senator Smith(what can I say, he's just so much fun to draw!) I would have to say, with the exception of Gov Patterson, depicted as "Charlie Brown" everyone else, looks rather dashing! Even heroic by my visual interpretation.yes, the lips are prominent in all these men, as full lis are an African American trait, but there's no sign of explicit race bating parody in any of the drawings. I understand that audience reaction may vary, and I have no control of that.

Editorial Cartoon of Gov Paterson depicted as Charlie Brown Holding his poor "Political Report Card" much to the displeasure of NYC Black Leadership Power brokers, Al Sharpton, (top left,) Carl Mc Call (bottom left) Charles Rangle (bottom right)Greg Meeks (middle right) and Malcolm Smith (top right) drawn for The Wave Newspaper Far Rockaway NY
A series of recent Political flops, mishaps, and blunders, from an experienced Politician like Gov Paterson "earned him " the title of "Blockhead"

The picture with the cops and the gunman feature two African Americans in staring roles. In my toons I've always made a point to introduce black characters in key roles, something Caucasian artists generally don't think about. Notice in this cartoon it's the AFRICAN AMERICAN officer who wants justice to be done to stop the criminal, and is restrained by his white partner. Clearly, in this toon the back cop can be seen as a heroic figure, even with the presence of the Black criminal. It can be argued, "why did you make the BLACK guy the criminal, in this drawing?" my answer would be, "WHY NOT?" in the effort to uphold Bkack pride, some of my people, and I've done this too, in the past, want to hold up the entire race as paragons of virtue, who never do anything wrong. Such a view is untrainable, and insulting. Some people who are Back, DO commit crimes. Just as some, thankfully more DO NOT. THAAT is what is being depicted here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Friday Oct 14 issue of The Wave Newspaper on pg 29 featured an open letter To The Wave by Congressman Gregory Meeks. The Wave graciously devoted an entire page to the letter where the congressman shares his thoughts on the allegations of the article, and the editorial cartoon depiction I drew of him, and Senator Malcolm Smith. I have lifted excerpts from that article so you can get his point of view.

America is a great place where we all can express our viewpoints. Without further delay, Congressman Meeks remarks

Both your column and the cartoon explicitly suggest that I stole funds from the New Directions non-profit. You and your colleague are perpetuating an outright lie. The fact is I welcomed an investigation into New Directions and promised my full cooperation with any and all authorities. And there has been no credible allegation, let alone any investigation that has supported this dishonest charge.

Finally, I will not let it pass that your provocative, incendiary, and deliberately inaccurate column was accompanied by what I believe most observers would regard as an explicitly racist cartoon caricaturing State Senator Malcolm Smith and myself. I don’t use that characterization lightly or frequently, but it definitely applies in this case. The cartoon crosses way over the line of civility and violates the necessary sensitivity that a publication in 21st century America ought to consistently and conscientiously display on every page of every issue, particularly when a publication has a racially diverse readership and relies on ads from retailers and other commercial enterprises that have a racially diverse customer base.

It is one thing to disagree with me politically or on policy, or to just dislike me personally for whatever reason. However, none of these reasons justify or authorize you as managing editor, or The Wave as “Rockaway’s newspaper since 1893” to resort to gross racial caricature reminiscent of the portrayal of Black elected officials during Reconstruction in the film, “Birth of a Nation,” nearly 100 years ago.

What the publication of the cartoon by Elgin Bolling reveals is the length to which The Wave will go to drum up animus toward me and other African American elected officials. This is not the first time you have published a demeaning depiction of African Americans. Therefore, I am left to conclude that the comfort that you as managing editor and a columnist, and The Wave on a whole, evidently have in publishing a racist caricature of African American elected officials as conniving thieves with thick, oversized lips, speaking in some sort of street vernacular, actually expresses a general view of African Americans.

Friday, October 14, 2011

RACIST CARICATURE? in the eyes of the beholder

As a professional live party caricature and humorous illustrator for over ten years, I've drawn at every conceivable party event, fundraiser, and corporate venue. I actually think I've done more Bar Mitzvahs than the average Rabbi!
I'm taking a long time to say that over the years I've drawn thousands, if not millions of faces and that's not even counting what I've drawn on the subways of this city as the "Subwaysurfer" that you loyal readers are well familiar with if you follow this blog.

Caricature, by it's very nature, exaggerates, amplifies,stretches, squashes, and liquifies the facial features of the extended target. Webster defines the word, caricature, as a "loaded portrait" one that has "weight," and " "impact".

Some people find it difficult to receive that impact. From time to time, I've heard the words, "THAT DOESN'T LOOK LIKE ME!" "YOU MQDE ME LOOK LIKE A WITCH!""MY NOSE ISN'T THAT BIG!"
I'm accustomed to hearing these remarks and totally understand them. Heck, I've even said them myself when I was caricatured for the first time by fellow artist, Kenly Dillard. My objection to the artists depiction was the same as most others. We all have a physical image of ourselves that we project onto the screen of our minds, and think every one else sees the same altered image objectively that we see in our imagination. This altered image we project onto our mind screen is crucial to our self esteem. We see ourselves as having chiseled features, soft curves, seductive eyes, where none exist. Most artists, even some caricature artists, and illustrators, are willing, for a price, to engage peoples fantasies and draw that "imaginary image".
And then there are some who aren't willing.
I'm one of THOSE artists. At least when it comes to drawing political editorial caricature.


A distinction needs to be made between political editorial caricarture and party caricature.
PARTY CARICATURE is drawn in drawn in 2-5 minute time frames. Which necessitates that an artist uses a streamlined approach so that the maximum amount of party goers get drawn. The overall vibe is lighthearted and whimsical.

Is more illustrative. More time is given to the picture, and facial features and subtle nuances can be pushed squashed and pulled for effect.

I've taken a while to get here, but wanted to set a tone for my answer. Recently, the above caricature featuring Sen Smith and Con Meeks has gotten a reaction out of some people, perhaps supporters, I'm unsure whether or not the politicians themselves feel this way, that my representations are racist.
I received a call from a reporter of a major Queens weekly, asking for my response to peoples response to the picture.

My reply can be summed up in my general approach to caricature.

First off let me say that no other artist has any control whatsoever of how their work is going to be received by the viewer. I do, however, have control over what I draw and know what my intent is.

It's not divisive, I can tell you that.

I'm an AFRICAN AMERICAN artist myself, and more than familiar with derogatory images and their power to incite, demoralize and ridicule. I did not depict anyone in Blackface, I seimply amplified facial features, of an Afrucan American man. Period. Because I am a caricature artist, I have a tendency to see things through a fun house mirror, so to speak. In other words, if you have a big fore head, it gets bigger, if you have a weak chin, it "goes into your neck" if you have large eyes, they become saucers, and your eyelashes, wings.

And if you have big lips

They become BIGGER.

It's not racial, some of us Bkack folk have big lips.

We do.

Perhaps it's the color, which is a darker gray, than the face, cases attentioned to be drawn, pun unintended, to them. In this case, I simply used a darker color to separate the lips color from the rest if the face. It could be argued that I could have used a lighter shade of gray, but, what's done is done.

I've seen JayZ in person.... trust me, some of do have big lips.

Beautiful full lips are a known, observable physical trait of African Aericans that vary in terms of shape and size.

If a person has a reaction to the way they are drawn, it might have more to do with thoughts they have internalized on what is racist and divisive.

For me, I'm being objective, making an observation, caricaturing it, and drawing a picture. That's all. Sen Smith seems to have, in my opinion, a lot of space, visually, between his nose and his top lip. It's long, comparatively speaking, compared to what caricature artists call "the average face prototype"

Unlike a political columnist who can make his point in two or three paragraphs, I must make my visual point in a single panel, using the strongest images. Can I draw them humorously? Yes. Divisively? No. Keep in mind also, that the editorial artist, in some cases, acts as illustrator to the editor writing the copy. Although I have done cartoons on my own of political figures like former Sen Anthony Weiner, in most cases I am interpreting editorial copy, and coming up with the cartoon angle that I feel expresses visually the overall article. I am, since coming on board at the Wave, have increased the visibility of African Americans in my cartoons, many if which feature African Americans in prominent roles.

I have no Ax to grind.
If some one thinks the toon is racist, it's in the eyes of the beholder,

A past cartoon featured Anthony Weiner, following the Twitter fiasco. Weiner, a Jewush Politician, s depicted with a large Nose. Is that to say, I'm making a statement about Jewish People?

NOPE I'm just making fun of Weiners facial features.

At the end of the day, as a CARICATURE cartoonist, I'm using making fun of their FACES. I've even made fun of mine.


 Elgin Subwaysurfer Bolling

CARICATURE OF ME DRAWN BY ME. Folks, I'm African American, right now I'm built like a chocolate version of the pillsbury doughboy(but I'm losing!) I have large eyes full lips bigteeth with some spaces,a full nose, bug nostrils, and I'm full of enthusiasm! I've posted this in hopes of clarifying what CARICATURE IS as I express it. Your comments are welcome...and feel free to hire me,



Senator Malcolm Smith has been the subject of numerous Editorials Ive done for The Wave In the Past few weeks. In this episode, He's pictured here with Con Greg Meeks. Sen Smith is drawn here "milking" their Non Profit Cash Cow, "The New Direction Developement Corporation" I got this illo in just under deadline, because I had an difficult time drawing a believable looking cow! LOL! this is just another case of why it is SO important as an illustrator to be able to, quote, "DRAW ANYTHING". In a recent discussion with Fellow artist, Andere Jardine, he mentioned how if you asked the average artist to draw a "superhero action scene" they'd be able to draw it with ease, yet would be scratching their heads trying to render a man tying his shoes, or putting on his jacket. It's SO important to learn how to draw the "ordinary" and mundane things in life.

All In The Political Family
It seems clear to us that the dual investigations centering on two of our local politicians, State Senator Malcolm Smith and Representative Gregory Meeks points out once again that non-profits should not be run by and for the benefit of politicians and their families. Take, for ex-ample, New Direction Local Development Corpo-ration. Founded in 2001 by the initiatives of Meeks and Smith, state papers show that Smith’s wife, Michelle, was a founding board member. Also on the initial board, papers show, was Cathy Green, the wife of Darryl Green, Smith’s former business partner. Green was convicted in 1999 of stealing $500,000 from city agencies and private firms that hired him as a consultant on affirmative action hiring practices. He was also a partner, along with former Congressman Floyd Flake, in the Aqueduct Enter-tainment Group, which was just awarded a $300 million “Racino” deal at the aging racetrack in Ozone Park. Flake, you will remember, was the political mentor of both Smith and Meeks. Records show that between 2001 and 2006 Smith helped funnel at least $56,000 to the char-ity through state earmarks. The largest chunk of money came to New Direction at the behest of Smith, $250,000 from the devel-oper of a cargo facility across Rockaway Turnpike from JFK Air-port. The deal to trade the right to build the facility in return for community development money was brokered by Smith, Meeks and City Councilman James Sanders Jr. Edwin Reed, who is listed as the treasurer of New Direction is also the head of the development arm of Flake’s church, the Greater Allen AME Church in Jamaica. Flake has become the power behind the scenes in Queens Democratic circles. His development group was recently given the keys to Aqueduct Racetrack to run a gambling Racino there. A week before Flake’s group got the nod, the min-ister was talking up Andrew Cuomo for governor. Shortly after the deal was made, Flake visited the governor in Albany and then declared that his mind was not made up and that he might back Paterson for a full term. Under the New Direction um-brella, Smith and Meeks started a charity for Katrina victims who had come to New York city. It collected some $30,000. It paid out less than $2,000. Now, federal investigators are looking for the missing money. They are also looking into New Direction and the connection between Meeks and Smith and the Aqueduct deal. Some non-profits that deserve a closer look are also closer to home. You’ll remember Democratic District Leader Geraldine Chapey’s Trinity Seniors organization. She ran a single van, providing rides for seniors to luncheons and events. For that, she took in more than $1.5 million in public money over a ten year period, both from city agencies and from local politicians who provided her with earmarked funds. Allow politicians to run their own non-profits, or to turn them over to family and cronies only provides the possibil-ity of corruption, and the practice should be stopped now.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Here's another beginner drawing tutorial for kids! How to draw a steak! ...er.. I mean cow!....same thing!

How to Draw a Cute Cow —powered by eHow.com

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


A couple of years ago, cartoonist/marketer extraordinare, Bruce Blitz made the observation about me that although I was adept at drawing exaggerated caricatures, a semi realism, that I was, as he put it, "A cartoonist, FIRST!" He was definitely right. Cartooning is my first love, and I love to incorporate it into my own caricature style. I'm inspired by other great caricature/cartoonists like Kenny Durkin, Pete Emslie, Steve Silver, Hrschfeld, and the afore mentioned Bruce Blitz.

Although each artist has their own signature style, each share that intangible element of clean crisp design of their characters.
The concept of good design is somewhat elusive, but it's a combination of clear flowing economy of line, store clear geometric shapes, and easily identifiable curves and straights. When these elements are present in ones work, the cartoon/caricature takes on a personality that makes their characters instant,y recognizable, and pleasing to the eye.

When putting together your cartoons always strive for goid clean design. Start learning by copying the work of other artists who embody this quality. In time you will learn it by imitation.trust me, it's worth it. It helps to pretend that you are part of a production team of animators, and ten other artists have to copy your design. This exercise will develop your design skills in no time, and you'll have a new skill under your belt....Character Designer!



Have you ever heard the term, "Starving Artist" there's a reason for this. Truth be told, most artists are "starving" in the sense of personal prosperity. Niw all prosperity means is INCREASE. So when I say prosperity, I mean Increase, advancement, progression in all areas: social, amongst ones peers, professionally, in terms of clients and sphere of influence, and of course, financial. Prosperity has to do with a posture, a mindset, an attitude. When I was a younger artist, I thought that all I had to do was show up with my ability, and I would get the job. Sadly, in a lot if cases, I didn't. What's worse was the jobs I did manage to get paid so marginally, it was like working for free. As you might expect, I approached every job with a "let's see if this works, I hope it does" mindset, and correspondingly I spoke hesitantly, and unauthoritatively, and dressed like a bum...heck, I looked like I was starving, and was treated as such. I can literally recall clients saying to me, " I'm giving you this job, just so I can help you out, so you can get exposure"
I was tired of this, and knew that I needed a change.
I asked my Father for help, and being the wise guy that HE is, I finally began to listen. First thing I did was to see myself as HEE saw me. That I was loved, valued and affirmed. I began to hang on the words he said concerning me, and slowly my attitude and self esteem changed. I began to speak positive words over myself, and instead of waiting for things to happen, I put my nose to the grindstone and worked.
Working hard is one way of presenting your best self, to yourself, and to God.
He's my Father, by the way. There's a passage if scripture that says that whatever your hands find to do, that you do it with all your might, and that one should do ones work, enthusiastically as unto the Lord. I dud that and began to see results that were tangible. I've also had a few things miraculously drop in my lap too, just another by product of getting in alignment, and presenting my best self everyday.
Once my attitude changed, I actually became more relaxed. I no longer felt anxious and nervous, trying to "fake the funk" wearing a mask of false vibrado. Instead, I became eloquent, articulate and decisive in my speech, with just the right amount of HUMOUR. Those who couldn't accept me, were just not "my clients". I was able to accept peoples right to refusal, and move on. I did notice, there were a lot LESS refusals though... Oh yeah, about the dressing it became much classier. No more jeans and tee shirts. Clothes "really do make the man" and I've noticed a marked increase in personal confidence when I'm quote,"dressed".
The last secret is that you have to be committed to doing your best everyday. If you let thins slip, you'll slide gradually back into starving artist, failure mode... Trust me, been there done that too.

Wow. That was preachy.