Gangsta Love

See this piece of awesomeness right here? It was drawn by a local artist at my town’s annual Small World Festival, which celebrates the rich and varied diversity that flourishes in our community. A street downtown (think 50’s era small town Main Street) is blocked off for an afternoon of live entertainment by heritage groups, and vendors set up booths to sell their wares and/or ethnic foods. Fun, food, community, and celebration is the tone of the event.

I finished off an empanada just as a performance of traditional Chinese dragons and drummers ended. Frank and I continued our circuit, and just as South American ensemble began dancing, we stumbled across The Awesome — GET YOUR CARICATURE DRAWN HERE.

We handed over our $15 and took our seats. The artist, who had a sunshiny and kind face, introduced herself as Ashley. She asked if we wanted her drawing to show us in any particular location, like maybe chillin’ at a beach.

“No,” I said. “But can you draw me doing the WESTSIDE hand sign? I’m a gangsta, y’know.”

To which Ashley laughed and said, “Ummm…okay.”

Watching her face as she drew us was hilarious. She’d shoot a quick glance at my chin or at the curve of Frank’s nose. Then she’d lean back, tilt her head, and squint. A smirk would grace her lips, then she’d lean in and her hand would race across the easel.

“There’s not going to be any gangstas coming to my house looking for me, will there?” she asked jokingly.

“Nah – I don’t roll like that. I’m just a gangsta in my own head. By anyone else’s standards, I’m a nerd.”

She shook her head and giggled to herself. She did that a lot as she drew us. Naturally, Frank and I were a couple of goofballs. At one point I said something dumb, and Frank gave me one of his classic “you have issues” looks. Ashley caught it and said, “I have to put that expression in this.”

Before too long, her drawing drew (<– HA!) a crowd behind her. People looked laughed as they looked from her canvas to us and back again.

After another few minutes, she did another lean and tilt and said, “Do you guys want some bling?”

Like she had to ask.

It only took 20 minutes or so for her to finish. “I hope you guys like it,” she said as she passed our picture over.

LOVE. Ashley scored mad bonus points for:

  • nailing Frank’s “you have issues” expression that I get no less than a hundred times a day.
  • shaving 80 pounds off of my body. Seriously. I am hawt.
  • throwing in the heart and the “Gangsta Love” graffiti.

If you’re local to my ‘hood in the South Coastal GA area, Ashley teaches art classes to people of all ages and even has a parent & child classes. Local or not, you can check out Ashley’s blog and other examples of her work here.

I think her caricature drawing of us makes a nice addition to the shelves in our office corner, don’t you? It’s still a work in progress, but this drawing has the personal, significant touch that I was looking for.


Check out other artists’ interpretation of the gangsta greatness that is me:


11 thoughts on “Gangsta Love”

  1. Aww! That is so sweet — insomuch as your gangsta-itude (-ness? -osity?) allows for sweetness, anyway. Reading that made me wish I had been there.

  2. I love it! Most caricatures I’ve seen overdo the silliness and make the subject look unappealing, but this one is off the hook (do people still even say that?).

  3. Word!

    Here’s a caricature story for you. DH and I were in Paris almost a decade ago, and outside the Pompidou there are tons of caricature and serious artists vying to draw the tourists. One artist ran up to us from halfway across the courtyard. He followed us across the entire huge courtyard, begging (in French, which I will mostly translate):

    “Sir, sir, can I draw your caricature? It will only take a few minutes. Only 15 euros. Please, I must draw you. I MUST DRAW YOU. 10 euros? You are the perfect subject for caricature, you would be my masterpiece. Le nez! Le nez! Le nez!

    DH and his nose would have been this artist’s greatest triumph, but alas, we had paintings to see. Oh and also it doesn’t make someone want to give you money to point out their huge schnoz.

    Glad you had a better artist than that guy.

  4. Ashley captured you separately really well, as well as the dynamics between you. I love that your most prominent feature is your knowing smile!

    Laughed at BabySmiling’s story, too.

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  6. Loretta Jenkins

    Wow, I really love the drawings. Whoever drew them has got talent. They are amazing!

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