About the Artist: Rob Maystead
Before we get too far into the story a confession has to be made: this is definitely one of those 'been drawing as long as I can remember' yarns. But please allow a slight indulgence or this page has no merit.
Early on mom would bring rolls of scrap paper home for doodling purposes. After dinner I would tuck a roll under my arm and slip into the private sanctuary that was my room. Darkness would envelope the room save for the soft, narrow glow of the desk light - the transformation is well underway. The radio would be tuned to a classic rock station (though frankly, I don’t think it was considered ‘classic’ then). So with Fleetwood Mac playing softly in the background and with little regard to time the pen would take life. The once blank stock would become flooded with worlds of heads. I don’t know, I guess I lost interest beyond the neck. I would be lost in that world late into the evening night after night, day after day. It’s been love ever since.
My post high school education consisted of Glen Oaks Community College, Northern Michigan University and the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art. The majors were graphic art and illustration. I was able to latch onto the school newspaper and contribute a comic strip called Just Cruisin' which was based on lifelong friends. Caricature has always been my natural artistic slant. All attempts to draw life figures (or ‘real art’ as customers utter as they sit for a caricature) leaned toward exaggeration. Noses would have an inclination to intensify and eyebrows a tendency to merge all to the chagrin of the teacher or model. To this day, I get comments about 'looking amused' while drawing. The view from my side of the board is amazing (heh-heh).
In the mid-1980's a spot illustration of the Statue of Liberty for a local newspaper generated some interest. That front page exposure prefaced five years of political cartooning. Three times a week cartoons were appearing for two southwestern lower Michigan dailies. First with the Sturgis Journal and then the Coldwater Reporter. The wonderful part of the op-ed page cartoons was the opportunity to caricature figures from the world stage.
I've been whipping up caricatures since 1985 at craft shows, private functions and as personal gifts. Why? Well, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing that ‘look’ on a victim’s, er, person’s face once their eyes have found the completed caricature. To coin a term, it’s ‘priceless’. The sheer joy of meeting strangers and converting them to friends equipped with only a few minutes and a marker is magic.
Cartoon/caricature activity had slowed until recent years. Marriage and the addition of children have taken their proper place in regard to time and responsibility. But caricature is part of who I am. With the assistance of the internet I've worked on projects with fine folks from Alaska to Massachusetts and many stops in between. Meeting people during live gigs is so rewarding on many levels. Caricature, to me, is like a day at an amusement park.
come along for the ride.
My wife, two girls and I currently reside in Lexington, Kentucky.
All Images Copyright © 2003 Rob Maystead. All rights reserved worldwide. Unauthorized distribution prohibited.