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June 18, 2006

Caricatures, Secret Codes and Boy Clubs

This summer I am working as a subcontractor for Goofy Faces which means that a few days a week I work as a face painter/ caricature artist at the Detroit Zoo. As Kyle puts it, "People pay me to make fun of them all day." The pay is all on commission so some days it rocks and other days it really doesn't. But working at the zoo is pretty sweet. There are plenty of (what I consider to be) perks...I have an ID card that gets me in whenever I want (though I haven't taken advantage of it yet). Attached to the ID Badge is a list of interesting radio codes.

Some days I secretly hope for a Code Red just to break the monotony (call me sick but when I worked as a cashier I wished for counterfeit hundreds). There are other perks. I get to see all the weird back alleys and dilapidated buildings that Detroit can't afford to fix and there are free-roaming peacocks! Plus I get all the zoo junkfood I can eat and all of my co-workers are interesting "art" types... for better or for worse.

I have only been caricaturing for a couple of months so I haven't yet developed my own style.

At Goofy Faces we have to do retail style caricatures. We try not to distort facial features too much but at the same time we must also avoid drawing portraits. It's a fine line we retail caricaturists walk. There is a lot more to the business than I had originally thought. The National Caricaturist Network holds a convention each year. I call it the Cari-con though I think I'm alone when it comes to that. The whole caricature thing seems sort of like a boys club though in fairness there are some women in the business. Between film school and this I'm always finding myself in boys clubs. And while it goes against my anti-feminist ways to even acknowledge that, it's true, I am a girl who always ends up with boy-dominated hobbies and jobs.

Update 6.20.06
Yesterday two lemurs made a run for it at the zoo. Sadly I didn't see the escaped lemurs. You can read more at Local station WXYZ. According to my badge this qualifies as a code epsilon, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the lion escape.

Posted by audrey at June 18, 2006 1:50 AM


I just read Caricature by Daniel Clowes (I keep meaning to ask you and Kyle for comic book recommendations)and I am picturing you developing a super intentional style and writing your subjects' life story in your head.

Posted by: ANTHONY at June 18, 2006 10:54 AM

i had no idea it was so involved

Posted by: docbeezy at June 19, 2006 12:22 PM

do you just practice with those Sears Studios' pictures? that's a good idea.

this improv group i saw in chicago once did a bit about a caricaturist who sits down to get his caricature done and the guy asks what he does and then draws him doing a caricature of him and it's this infinite loop of them drawing each other and asking what each other does. it was...funny.

Posted by: kevin at June 20, 2006 1:20 AM

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