Caricatures by Kathy BBB Business Review
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ask an artist

Occasionally I answer questions on quora and I answered this one. I thought it was a good question so I've included it in my blog.

Q. Can an artist, writer, or other creative individual maintain their artistic integrity and still achieve success and wealth?

A. That depends on what you mean by artistic integrity. It also depends on what you mean by success and wealth.

As an artist who makes a living drawing at parties and special events, I would say I’m successful. I’m well known in artistic circles and two of my friends have said I’m famous within my earshot which I find funny because I’m not. I’m just another caricature artist. But I do make a comfortable living drawing caricatures.

I know many people who draw caricatures. Some of them really are famous. People who draw for magazines like MAD, People and Time, whom I am friends or acquaintances with. This is not due to my own merit but because my late husband, Buddy Rose, started the first and only trade organization for caricaturists. It is now an international organization and it is called the international society of caricature artists.

Because of this, I know many artists. Including ones who love to create monstrosities out of peoples faces.

Theres a group of them out of San Diego who call themselves “the beast heads” and they may make the history books as an avante guard art movement. I know many of them personally and I have even hired several of them to work at my caricature stand. You may have seen some of their work on Tik Tok.

The beast heads

The beast heads in general have what some call “artistic integrity”. They would rather twist a persons features into grotesque parodies than get a lot of customers or make a lot of money.

I have had conversations with several of them about this. The ones I have talked to really believe they are suffering and not getting a lot of customers because of their “artiststic integrity.“ I respect them for that, but I don’t ascribe to the same philosophy as the beast heads.

I make my caricatures pleasant. They’re more like cartoon portraits that actually look like my sitters. I don’t ever purposefully insult my clients, unlike the beast heads who thrive on that sort of thing. I love my customers and I want them to be happy because that makes me happy.

A recent drawing of mine at a trade show

Because I make people look good and I treat people with love and respect, people love my work, and I am able to do what I love for a living and I’m able to make an ok living at it. To me, that’s success.

To me that’s also my own integrity not “as an artist” but as a human being. And to me, that's just as if not more important than “artistic integrity”.

* Kathy Rose Buskett

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