A Really Bad Souvenir

I love street artists.  Love ’em.  The only thing that beats a street artist for me is a street performer.  I’m talking the juggling/break dancing/death-defying-stunt variety.  A good straight jacket escape is pretty hard to beat for me.  But street artists still have a big place in my heart.  They’re out there every day, trying to make a living selling their art.  You have to give them props for that.  Have you ever tried to do that?  And Etsy doesn’t count, ’cause you can do that in your pajamas.  There is a down side to street artists, though: if they’re around, you know you’re in a touristy area.  For the “travel like a local” ilk, that might be disconcerting.  I’ve learned, however, to embrace even the most touristy of locales.  They’re touristy for a reason–something is there that’s cool enough to see in person.

Piazza Navona, with obelisk and statue fountain
This is why Piazza Navona has tourists


Also, admittedly, some of these pieces of “art” aren’t too inspired.  Like, in New York City you can buy photos of the Statue of Liberty everywhere.  Or in Paris, the Eiffel Tower.  This is like buying the black and white poster of John Belushi from “Animal House” and putting it in your college dorm room.  Come on, get a little more creative with your artistic purchases while traveling.  Although, I’m guessing those rote images of landmarks are what keep these artists alive.  Kind of like how musicians dread playing the same songs over and over at every single wedding, but they have to in order to pay the rent.

If you want a little zest in your art souvenir, why not get a caricature of yourself?  You can always look at it and remember where you bought it, but the location reminder won’t be as blatant as, say, a painting of Big Ben.  I don’t know, just a thought.  But whatever you do, if you’re in Rome, don’t give your money to this caricaturist.  He’s mean.  Look at that awful picture he’s drawing of that sweet little girl.  He’s not pulling any punches in his interpretation of her.

Rome, Italy caricaturist

Actually, the more I think about it, this guy is all right.  Here I am complaining about how people buy cliched images of cities–really safe, postcard-friendly pictures–and here’s an artist who has no regard for his subject’s feelings and is only concerned with his own style.  He’s like the wedding singer who belts out “Sympathy for the Devil” after the Best Man’s speech.  Forget what I said before–buy a drawing from this guy.  You’ll have a memorable souvenir from your trip, and you’ll get to see the ugly side of your soul.

Aug 2011
POSTED BY travelbugrobert

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