Has anyone had something like this happen to them?
My mom had an appointment at the pain management clinic. After getting my mom’s wheelchair set in a spot where she is not in the way, I pulled out my sketchbook and started sketching.
I chose a couple, man and woman, because they were conversing with each other, and I always like attempting to show folks interacting. I drew him first because I had a better line of sight on him. I finished a quick sketch of him, not a detailed one, and started sketching the woman.
He got up and came over to see what I was doing. When he saw I had sketched him, he got extremely upset, and started saying that I had to right to sketch him, and what gave me that right? I tore the page out of my sketchbook, and attempted to hand it to him. He got even more upset, and wanted me to erase it. So I erased the page and showed it to him.
Did this shut him up? No it did not. He kept going on and on and ON about what right did I think I had to sketch him. He claimed it was illegal for me to sketch him. Some guy in the corner got mad. He said he didn’t see anything wrong me sketching people, and he took a picture of the man with his cell phone. Noisy guy did not like that at all. So Corner Guy and Noisy Guy started arguing. (Meanwhile I just wanted to melt into the floor.)
Some guy from the pain management office came out and told everyone to pipe down. I put away my sketchbook at office guy’s request.
After office guy went back, Noisy guy and Corner Guy kept their grumbling at each other to a low growl.
After Noisy Guy left, people started to talk a bit more. Noisy guy had talked to one of the other clients. He was from New York originally and had to come down here. So someone thought maybe he was in the Witness Protection Program. Someone else wondered if he was wanted by law enforcement. Someone else suggested he needed his meds.
One idea did occur to me. This was an older black man. I was wondering if he was defensive because, well, y’know black people have been taken advantage of. I could have seen artists using black people as subjects in the Jim Crow era, and not paying them very much, or not at all. Meanwhile, they’d sell the painting for a good sum.
Anyway… I’m posting this, and then I’m going to my best to forget about it so it doesn’t keep steaming me.
I’m just curious if anyone else has had someone really object to being sketched, and how you have handled the situation.
I’ve never had anyone get upset when they notice I’m sketching them, and they usually make a comment on whether it looks like them or not. Most folks either don’t notice or don’t care.
I’ve had folks I’m pretty sure knew that they were being sketched, but obviously didn’t care.