No matter how good and be-medaled an artist is, people will always look down at him and treat him cheap.
Many people in my country treat artists, like myself, cheaply. Sometimes, even in a most blatantly insulting manner.
Having learned from years of experience and knowing the agony of being disrespected I still did a little experiment today with a bit of hope that I’d see some change. I went to Mines View Park and laid out a table, surrounded by sample drawings of my caricatures and a label that says “caricature for a cause” on top of the table. In front of the table is a tarpaulin that shows my picture and the list of several awards which I won over the years as an artist just to make a point to people that they’re not about to ask an untalented, unknown cartoonist to draw their faces. I think everybody got the point- only because they told me so while I was scribbling their faces.
Before I started the day though, I went to a friend’s place to ask for the names of the poor high school kids that she wanted to help send to school. I got what I needed and that was the reason for having labeled my day’s activity as “Caricature for a Cause.” Beside the label is a box which completes my experiment materials- it says Donation Box on the surface so anyone who wants me to draw their faces can just drop any (and I mean “ANY-” but I was hoping “many”) amount and I’ll get started right away. On any other day I wouldn’t draw anything below 200 pesos ($5, free is the next lower amount). Beside my table is a longer table where a bunch of tattoo samples were laid out. It is owned by a good friend of mine who does Henna Tattoo.
A family of three came around and posed for a few minutes. It takes me one minute to draw one face then I’d take a few more to compose a caricature scene. So the dad told me they will just leave me there to finish their funny drawing while they take a little stroll as he proudly dropped a 50 peso ($1) bill on the drop box. I had a little chuckle and I thought about the kid I was supposed to help in school. Then I also realized that the huge paper I’m drawing on- with all the work of cutting, etc., is worth 20 pesos! Somehow, I haven’t felt the insult in that 50 peso degradation yet. No, no, no. Not even after two more 50 peso drops. I still drew with the same enthusiasm as I would with a thousand bucks.
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