Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Stuff of Dreams

I'm torn, I admit it. My recent "self-improvement" obsession has me thinking more clearly, and my shoulder hurting less. (Yes, my shoulder is MUCH improved since doing the lemonade detox. Apparently the inflammation in your body is reduced due to the detoxification process. A true miracle.) But I'm torn. I mean, I'm making all these plans for a mural business, but is that my real dream? And how did I get into all this? ...What really IS my "dream life"? ....
Well, last September, I was VERY close to moving onto my sailboat and "sailing away." I postponed this, however, for "one last apartment contract" with my roommate, which meant I'd need to wait until June 2008 to "sail away." If I were to leave last September, my roommate would be left in a tough situation, plus I was worried about other things, so I delayed. And I immediately fell into depression. I had a LONG dark winter to wait-out until the next June, and my shoulder was killing me, so I didn't know how much longer I could do caricatures. I was depressed deeply. Could I survive the winter? I had to do something. So, I thought of murals. I can do that, I thought. It can get me through the winter, and then I'll sail away next June. ...But it didn't work out that way. My depression deepened. I didn't do murals, but I did continue to work on learning more about painting in acrylics.
But look what happened! It's suddenly March 13! I made it through the winter, my shoulder pain is almost completely gone, and one more thing has happened: I've started to really ENJOY drawing caricatures again. That's a surprise.
So, what do I do now? I mean, in order to "sail away," I had planned to depend on caricaturing to make money. It is a completely mobile enterprise. For instance, I know of three places which cater to this sort of stuff: Clearwater Pier 60, Fort Myers Beach "Times Square," and Key West's Mallory Square. You come in, maybe pay a small fee, and set-up, more or less.
But there's another way, and this is part of my "Big Secret Plan" in a sense, which I've been formulating for a long time now. You see, it is legal in most places in the world to "busk." That is, you perform or give-away services or small items for FREE, and then get donations/tips. Now, you won't get rich do this, but a lot of people with wanderlust depend on busking, and do fine, and some do better than fine. Living on my sailboat is a cheap life, and busking really is perfect. The thing is, almost nobody busks with caricatures. Maybe because so many people are willing to PAY upfront for 'em. They're very popular. But some guys DO busk with caricatures.
My concern is this: I don't want to throw-out crappy caricatures just to "get volume" in a busy location. No, I want to create masterpieces every time, and THEN give 'em away. ...And would this WORK? Well, of course it would, to a point. Almost everyone would give me a little money, but a lot of people would give me more. I figure I can average $5 to $10 per piece. ...Or I can charge up front, if I'm in a location which allows it.

But that's not exactly my dream. Here's my dream. Everybody ready? Hold on tight, 'cause it's pretty crazy and beautiful and frightening and will give inspiration to all those "Dream Crushers" out there who enjoy telling people why they can't do this or that. Ready? Here's my dream:
I'm in my sailboat. I have my passport. I've had all the "shots" you need to travel the Tropics. I sail across the Caribbean, and the South Pacific, and Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean, and Europe... ...visiting little islands here and there, and various ports of call... ...and I'm seeing the world... But I'm doing something else this whole time: I am DRAWING everyone I see. Rich, poor, in-between... Healthy, sick, happy, sad... EVERYONE. And I simply give away EVERY SINGLE DRAWING. ...

And that's it. That's my dream. I travel the planet and draw everyone I see. (Of course, I'll have a website or blog, telling of my experiences, and the site will have a "DONATE" button, lol.) ...It's all a rush. I really do get a rush from the joy I see in people when I show them their pictures. They're all strangers to me, but somehow I've connected to them, and my soul is filled with something when this happens. I don't know what it's filled with, but whatever it is, I like it. Of course, most people give me money, too, and that's fine, and necessary, but my mind is swimming in the heavens, not in brutal necessity.
And there's another consideration. MOST people in the world will never be able to afford a portrait, or even a simple caricature, for that matter. With me, they get a little treasure to put in their homes, whether they can afford to tip me or not. ...Ah, I AM a dreamer, eh? And you all thought I was just a bum. ...

I have this image... I anchor in a remote cove. There are palm trees everywhere. The water is clear, the fish curious, a dolphin surfaces in the distance, and I know there's a small village nearby in the jungle. I get out my dinghy, and row to shore. I bring a small easel and a backpack of art supplies. I find the village. I tell them I want to set-up my easel and draw EVERYONE, one at a time. It's morning, so I have all day. "No, no, it's all FREE," I tell them. And I do it. I draw ALL day. My old shoulder injury hints that it's not happy, but it understands and approves reluctantly. Children (and adults) gather around me. They're all grinning and laughing and speaking their local dialect (which I don't understand). But they can't afford to give me any donations. That's fine. I already assumed that. That's not why I'm here. ...In fact, I'm not sure why I AM here, but it must be done, and I greatly DESIRE to do it. I don't know why. ...In the evening I pack-up and go back to my boat, happy, happy, happy, because boy-oh-boy I was drawing well today, and using that new technique, and I suddenly remembered an old little thing that Esly or Duron or Kenny or Keelan or Michele or Brian or Wayne (or whoever) used to do in their drawings WAY BACK in the days of wine and roses in Florida, and I was able to use that old little thing in my current drawings, today. ...And maybe I'm invited for dinner in someone's home/shack in the jungle, and we try to communicate as best as possible (since we don't speak a common language), and it's all pure joy, and good food. ...

....Yes, I dream. Now I must DO. ...Yes?

5 comments:

JimmyPereira said...

Sounds like a nice dream to me, Tim! Maybe someday I will be free to do something like that.

Esly Carrero said...

hmm.. I met some of those busk people that drew caricatures out in Hawaii. They didn't get paid.. but accepted donations! There were both portraitures and caricatures going on.. up and down the street. It was great! Sadly, my camera battery ran-out.. so I was unable to take photos. :(

But yes, it is possible and a believable job. Actually, Michael McElroy was someone I remembered who spoke about doing that once. Just across the country not the world. He said it would be great. Just save a lot of money for a few months.. use it to travel.. and when you start running out of money.. just stay somewhere for a couple of days and sell your art work in that location.. then... keep going. Eventually, you'll be able to see all the states.

Then, if your running out of gas.. and decide it's not working out.. just go back to Keelan and work with him again. : )

Tim Gardner said...

Some guys do well working fairs and festivals, traveling around all year...

KeelanParham said...

Sounds like a cool dream to me, Tim.

Tim Gardner said...

I'm a dreamer, that's for sure... lol