Monday, September 14, 2009

I pretty much have to attribute much of my career and life as an artist to my first real job... in Ocean City, MD. These were some of the happiest times in my life. It was a "coming of age" story, when I first learned to sustain myself, find independence, discover the power of drawing portraits and meeting girls, and most importantly, supporting myself and my life by drawing.

I worked alongside about 20 artists in a business called "Face Place". It is where I met lifelong friend, Rick Wright. We sat directly on the boardwalk, staring at the Atlantic Ocean each and every day, sketching tourists at lightning speed.. sometimes charcoal portraits, mostly caricatures. I believe we charged $4.50 for a color caricature profile in 1977, the year I started. To net $100 in one night was a major accomplishment, and a lot of money for an 18 year old kid in those times. (Oh how I wish that I sunk that money in just beginning technology companies.)

I did draw since an early age, but it was during these times hanging with all the artists, I realized that an artist was who I was and who I'd always be. This photo was taken in 1977 of our special little shop. It was nothing more than an alley way turned into our studio. I've lost contact with the artists pictured, but it seems like it was only yesterday. Today, 32 years later, I can honestly say I enjoy drawing more than ever... and I realize how lucky I am to never have had a real job.


KeelanParham said...

Wow, that's a cool looking place, Jeff. Full of atmosphere. Love to see more like this one of the "old days".
BTW, I saw downtown at "Mama B's" Subs on an old poster there that the Grosvenor used to be The Royal Dutch Inn. Never knew that. Were you drawing there at that time? The history of caricature here in Central Florida before I moved here really intrigues me.

Jeff Mandell said...

I didn't really work that hotel. A guy named Marshal did htough. I was in Buena Vista Palace on the corner. Now it's something else. Back then that was the fanciest hotel in Orlando. Before Grand Cypress was built. And Disney tickets were $13. Ah, the 80s... There were no artists in Disney yet, a few were scattered in the other tourist attractions. A couple in hotels. Universal didn't exist.