(Originally printed in OC WEEKLY, Thursday, August 3, 2006)
“Simon” is a caricaturist who works in OC and Long Beach.
How long have you done this?
Two years. Two miserable freaking years. Well, it hasn’t all been miserable. [Laughs.] I’ve met some hot girls. Sometimes it can be kinda fun. But mostly, it’s a lot of stress.
What’s stressful about it?
Well, just getting the jobs, for one thing. I run a lot of ads on Craigslist and stuff like that, but I don’t get many calls. When I do get calls, it’s usually for high school reunions, for some reason. That’s an ugly scene.
Well, everybody there wants to look good, you know? They don’t want you drawing pictures where they look stupid. So you sit there all night watching old people dance, and every now and then some drunk lady stumbles into your chair. And they’ll hit on you. It’s pathetic. I had a gig doing caricatures in a nightclub for a while, and again, nobody wanted me to draw them, they were trying to get laid. So I just sat there all night with my pens and my chalks, looking like a fool. I don’t know why people hire me for jobs like that.
How do you get by—if you don’t work that often?
I also work for a company, and they send me out to various places, boardwalks and beaches and stuff like that. You get a lot more people that way, but you’re in the sun all day. It’s kinda fun, but it’s really brutal, too. It gets real busy. You can make damn good money on a summer day, but you only get to keep your tips. They pay you an hourly wage. Everybody else skims a lot from the take. I try not to, but you can’t help it. You’re sitting there with a pouch full of $600, and you’re supposed to take home $45 bucks? I don’t think so!
Are people ever insulted by your drawings?
Sometimes, yeah. I’m like, “Why did you sit down in the fucking chair, man? You know what I do.” But it’s almost worse when they like it too much, when they want me to sign it and stuff. That’s embarrassing. The very worst part is when somebody puts like a retarded kid in my chair, and they want me to make them look “funny.” I mean, your kid’s got, like, an eye on the side of his head, and you want him caricatured? I don’t understand people at all.
But you’ve met some hot girls?
Unbelievable. Girls in bikinis, flirting with an ugly fucker like me. That makes it all worth it!