(CBS DETROIT) - Many businesses struggled to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic, and some found creative ways to thrive. Michigan professional caricature artist Robert Bauer did just that.
"Serious portrait work is classical music. Caricature is jazz," said Bauer
Bauer started as a commercial artist working for ad agencies and automakers. Caricatures were side work until he realized it is more than a craft; it's a live art form.
"This person actually took a moment to notice, 'You've got a little bit of a crook in your nose. And I noticed that when you talk, your head goes forward,'" said Bauer. "The really good caricature artists pick up on all of those little body English details. And if they can pour it on the page, you realize it right away. It's like, 'This person is a real master at it. And they really got me.'"
Bauer started his business, Goofy Faces Caricatures, and now represents more than 600 artists across the country working in zoos, aquariums and amusement parks.
The pandemic threw him a curveball. Luckily, Bauer is used to getting creative. He put away his easel for an iPad and did virtual live drawings for schools, companies and families.
"It just gave them something to totally get their mind off of where they were at," he said.
The digital drawings allow him to zoom in on his work, and undo mistakes, but they also connect with people around the world.
Bauer said no matter the medium, a caricature is about accepting who you are and what makes you different.
"We are pointing out your uniqueness, okay? Let's stop trying to look like each other and try to look perfect. How about we just go with what we got? And turn up the volume and say this is who I am," he said.
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