Friday, December 29, 2017

“Look like” is an interesting couple of words. Every caricature artist knows that a caricature has to look like the people, but more and more, these days I’m getting a sense of some customers and passers by having a different conception of “look like” than I do. Just yesterday a coworker of mine was doing a really fun great caricature which was really funny and had a great likeness and there was this lady who saw it and really laughed and enjoyed it and was just really taken by it. I mean to say it was a very positive caricature response and one of the things she said was that it doesn't look like them or something very much along those lines and very emphatic. But we look at it as a total failure if the drawing doesn't look like the subject, particularly to us, and we also hope the customer or family or friends will see the likeness. But could some customers conceive of likeness differently? So in this scenario the drawing manages to be funny (and I would say) as it relates to the subject (to give the scenario the full benefit of the doubt) but it doesn't look like them, so the only way it can be funny is for it to look like them according to our definition and then the “doesn't look like them” of their definition speaks to all the distortions and exaggerations, and which is which doesn't matter to them, because the point is that the drawing of these people is genuinely funny in its relationship to the subject and “doesn't look like them.” and that’s in their words. I think it is an odd way of looking at it, but I can make sense of it if I imagine a view of likeness where likeness and humor are thought to be mutually exclusive--or truth and humor. It’s not so far fetched. It runs contrary to the “it’s funny because it’s true” mantra, though, but surely that phrase only exists because at one point it really meant something and went against common knowledge. Maybe all I’m really saying is that the concept of  “it’s funny because it’s true” which is such a given in the circles that I run, may not have been canonized just yet by all of human society ala gravity.

Monday, December 25, 2017

to you, all this is completely new. to me it’s like groundhogs day--the same things over and over and over, all except for one thing which is that your face is like no other face in the world—your expressions, everything about it is completely new.  so then, i can react to the essence of what exactly is bizarre about it or i can draw you so that i hope you might not be offended. i can throw a thousand tiny little tricks at you that i’ve built up from living in this groundhog day repetitious world, or i can throw myself at this tiny bizarre kernel at the center of the whole charade. to draw the shape that is unique to you and only you even though i cant have seen it and so can’t have practiced it before. and it is hard to even see it in a way because you can’t look for it actively, because to look for something you have to know what you’re looking for. but it's easy to see if you’re not looking because its gonna be this big strange glaring anomaly, this aspect of your face which is.. so odd in fact that it’s the very shape my mind saves the face in its memory under in order to distinguish it from among all the others.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

No one in this world can show what one particular person looks like but a "caricature artist"-- someone whose sight hasn't been impaired by the desire to show, and whose ability to show hasn't been overrun by an excess of clarity. But it takes a person to see a person. A camera can't do it but a person holding a camera can, and one who can see and has the desire to show will find the lighting and the angle and the moment which distills what they see, when they see a person, into something that can be shown and kept and held. And a caricature artist, seeing the photo can boil it down further and enhance it, just as they can with anything, with a recognition of the shapes and knowledge of the meaning behind them.