Funny Artist Draws “Really Bad Portraits” of Strangers on the Street of NYC for $3

Ricky Brown sketches “the worst portraits” in New York City…and people can’t get enough! As the artist behind the aptly named Really Bad Portraits Instagram account, he has made a name for himself as an artist with a sense of humor. He brings smiles to people in person and online on a daily basis with his poorly hand-drawn portraits of pedestrians on the street.

It all began on September 24, 2020, when Brown set out for the famous New York City fountain in Washington Square Park, carrying a sign that read: “REALLY BAD PORTRAITS $3 (per person).” Though it may not sound enticing, Brown wound up having a steady stream of customers. Among his subjects that day was NYC resident Race Imboden, an American fencer and Olympic medalist.

A video on Brown’s YouTube documents the day—he draws the portraits in Sharpie, on white paper clipped to a clipboard, then takes photos of the subjects posing in front of the fountain with their likenesses, smiles of laughter on their faces. In the video, he includes a compliment or fun fact for each person, indicating that every conversation is as unique as the portraits. These quick captions range from simple (“zoe. fearless.”) to poetic (“eldridge. moves with the wind.”).

A year and a half later, Brown is still going strong. He recently set up shop at Grand Bazaar NYC, the city's biggest weekly curated market, which is open every Sunday. The portraits are becoming somewhat of a movement, with people actively wanting the street artist to draw them…badly. One person writes, “I definitely want a portrait made next time I go to the Grand Bazaar!! I'll be looking for you.” And a past subject of Brown’s says, “I loved my portrait! Thanks for one of my favorite NY memories!”

The portraits are also bringing joy to followers from afar. “There has never been a time while looking at one of your posts that I haven't become extremely happy!” one commenter admits. “Keep bringing the joy brother…Good work!”

In addition to drawing Really Bad Portraits, Brown  creates abstract paintings, which you can buy or commission through his other Instagram account, @sailboats_andotherstuff.

Ricky Brown is a NYC-based artist who draws what he calls “Really Bad Portraits” …and people love them!

All he has on hand when he hits the streets is a marker and some paper on a clipboard…

…as well as a sign that says “REALLY BAD PORTRAITS $3 (per person).”

His funny and very direct approach has drawn crowds to his work.

In fact, people now seek him out to get their own really bad portrait.

Watch a day in the life of this “Really Bad Portrait” artist:

Ricky Brown: Instagram | Etsy | YouTube
h/t: [SwissMiss]

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