Five years ago I started doing caricatures. It had been an interest for some years, but I had never thought to try or do it. I took the challenge up, and started in my library. Up to this day, I now have 170+ caricatures I have done in that time. I have done a more subtle, sympathetic style, as I wanted to commercialise them. I have drawn several people from different nationalities, ethnic groups and so forth. It was when I posted Maya Angelou (again on Behance) that I received another message from the same man. I won’t paste his message in the thread as it was a little personal this time, but will translate the key points.
He stated again that white folk used cartooning (caricatures) as a way to define ‘ethnic and religious difference’ in history, and he found my artwork offensive. What he was trying to get across, was I was white and I had no place doing caricatures of black people. His main point was how ‘white’ people distort the facial features of a black person to become derogatory. I had to point out that the art of caricatures full stop, was to do this action. It was not an attack on ethnic differences. He had none of it and said I deliberately made the noses and lips more racially provocative on purpose.
Now, as I tried to read it, is he was trying to make a point that I had no argument because I was white, and white artists will automatically do this because of underlying prejudice. Now, as a child I had a fascination in biology. I was no scientist, but had a love and always marked well in biology. This continued in my art, with my efforts to show correctness in anatomy. That said, I researched the paths of evolution of ethnic groups and understood why Scandinavians have thing noses and African have wide noses. There was a clear and evolutionary reason! If those ethnic groups transposed themselves into a new environment doesn’t automatically change that appearance. In fact I love those differences, and loved the idea to emphasis them, to show that evolutionary brilliance of Mother Nature.