Monday, August 30, 2010

The shit they don't teach in art school. A case study in cultural sensitivity for artists who ain't ganstas.

A few weeks ago when I was trying to contribute to Lee's retirement at City Walk, an odd couple came up right as we were about to close. It was a gentlemen and his wife (?), who had a bald head and a Harley Davidson tattoo across her chest. They approached our caricature supermarket and asked if we could do one more, for them. Of course, why not? As they began to take their seats, I asked, "Where er ya'll from?", like I always do with customers because I really really care about them. No reply. I asked again. Maybe they are hard of hearing. This time they laughed and said, "Where ya'll from? We from South Central. Where we from."

Like any seasoned caricature artist would do, I shrugged off their shenanigans and continued doing what the good lord intended me to do. Needless to say, the next 15 minutes were slightly awkward at best. The picture was mediocre, but it was good nuff. When I showed it to them, they looked somewhat confused. Next, came the, "which one am I", blah, blah, blah? He had a little more hair than her, but still, I think one could tell the difference. Anyway, they didn't buy it.

Now, why did I spend all this time explaining a story about rejected art? It happens to us all right? It doesn't always have to. Let's fast forward a few weeks and talk about my experience watching Gangland on Spike TV. The show breaks down gangs and gang culture for the naive viewers who maybe haven't met a real G, an f'd up white kid from suberbia, or an MS 13 face to face. On this one episode I saw (I did watch a lot of it last week) they mentioned a couple of times that if one gang member walks up to someone else and asks, "where you from", it means, "let's fight", or "what gang are you in?" You connecting the dots yet? Yea suckas, I almost started fight, when all I wanted to do was draw their picture. Mind bomb people. Who would have known, not this guy, no sir.

Moral of the story: Don't ask people from South Central where they are from, if you're going to draw their caricature, and don't want to insinuate you want to fight them. Just say'n....



  1. I've had similar run ins, due to being ignorant of customs. And yea asked the wrong way "where you from." can be instigating, But I still feel like those people should have known that their white caricature artist with a North Carolina accent wasn't trying to defend his turf. City walk fo Life! *gun shot.*


  2. You speak the truth Gabe. This caricature business is no joke. I wasn't trying to defend my turf, or was I......(right now I'm making a "C" and a "W" with my fingers.)

  3. so next time ask if they wanna fight, which will really mean where ya' from or. where's the restroom. Keep up with the times!

    CW fo' life!

  4. I was just looking for the new schedule...


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