LEFT: With satisfied customers at Dawson Family Reunion, 1988; CENTER: With artist/friends Son Nguyen, Peter Scott, and Charlie Fulton, drawing in the Dominican Republic, 1997; RIGHT: Yet another satisfied customer, West Virginia State Fair, 1995.
After several months living the life of a 'starving artist', I answered an ad for caricaturists in November of 1986, joining Caricatures for All Occasions, of Alexandria, Virginia.
The Legendary Charlie Fulton!
The brainchild of Charlie Fulton, a boisterous, hard-drinking, globe-trotting entrepreneur and self-made 'half-a-millionaire', the company provided artists for malls and events up and down the east coast. The job was perfect for me, I began a life-long friendship with Charlie, and soon became an accomplished Caricaturist, eventually joining him and Peter Scott as a Partner in the business.
My association with "Washington's oldest and largest Caricature Company", from 1986-1998, brought me success and recognition. I travelled from coast to coast, and even to the Caribbean! As my fame grew, my client list became a 'Who's Who' of celebrities... Among the recipients of my drawings were Howard Stern, David Letterman, Jerry Springer, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, George and Barbara Bush, Marion Barry, Jack Kemp, Don Johnson, Lena Horne, Joe Gibbs, Rosalyn Carter, and many others.
I entertained for President Reagan and Vice President Bush at a 1988 event, drew many of President Clinton's guests at one of his 1992 Inaugural Balls, served as the Washington Redskins' "National Defense" caricaturist for fundraising projects that year, illustrated books, magazine articles, album covers, and calendars, and once even taught a caricature class for the FBI!
I also was a featured entertainer at corporation conventions and parties, drew at hundreds of bar and batmitzvahs, created print ads, painted caricature-themed murals and billboards, illustrated websites, sketched at many elementary schools and nursing homes, and in 1994, I returned to the Corcoran as a guest speaker, on alternative careers for artists! (Not bad, when you consider how opposed they'd been to my choosing caricatures in the first place!)
All this attention, and the occasional television interviews and newspaper stories about me was fun for a while, but as years passed, my company workload became all-consuming, while my time actually creating art decreased, significantly. I felt a growing sense of claustrophobia, becoming frustrated by the monotonous, business-centered routine my life had fallen into. Then Martha Spanos appeared, and turned my world upside down!