Art buskers of the world unite

Walking along the Charles Bridge in Prague the other day, I was amazed at the sheer number of street portrait artists that sit either side of the bridge touting for business.

Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge

They all seemed to offer the same service, sitting there with their easels and astonishing claims of ‘your portrait in 15 minutes’. As I ambled along the bridge admiring their work I found myself feeling quite despondent. I will never be able to draw like they can, and what’s more, I will never be able to draw like they can in 15 minutes, and what’s even more, I will never be able to draw like they can in 15 minutes on demand.

Choose me, not the other identical street artists on either side of me!

Choose me, not the other identical street artists on either side of me!

I wonder where these people come from. Do they go do a street portrait artist course to qualify? Or do they produce great works of art at home that they know they can’t make a living from and just use street art as a way of making money? Do they get bored of churning out unique identical portraits of tourists? Or, do they enjoy it? The work they produced was of a high standard in terms of technical ability yet I could not tell one artist’s style from the next. Why do they all have such a similar style? Perhaps they conspire together to produce the same style and quality of artwork. I could have picked any of them to draw me and the result would have been almost identical. Do the artists in London produce the same style portraits as those in Prague, Berlin, Nairobi, Muscat?  I suspect they do. This fact cheered me up, at least I have my own style and I can indulge at my leisure without worrying too much about money (being able to earn an income with online editorial project management rather than really bad attempts at portrait art).

Still, I feel sorry for these artists who aren’t able to earn a solid income as well as draw. I just hope they are happy, leaving a tiny bit of themselves in the homes, possibly framed, of some of the millions of visitors to Prague (and London, Paris, New York, Kabul, Rome).

'I hope it looks like me, if not I'm going to be really cross'.

‘I hope it looks like me, if not I’m going to be really cross’.


This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Art buskers of the world unite

  1. Well if the key to being able to draw well is to do it every day and receive instant feedback on your drawing, I suspect the street artists have an advantage. Whilst they can certainly draw faces in a particular style on demand, that’s not the same as being a rounded artist. Oh, and those pictures they put on their carts to advertise their trade – they’re not done in 15 minutes!

  2. beckybendylegs says:

    How do you know they aren’t done in 15 minutes?

  3. Pingback: Does good art have to be interesting? | BeckyBendyLegs

Leave a Reply