We have been performing at events in the Twin Cities and throughout the country for over 30 years. We are professional entertainers, not just good at drawing, and will WOW your guests with amazing speed, uncanny likenesses and a style of interaction that will make it a really memorable experience. Speed is as important as quality at events! Don't believe claims of 12 per hour unless you see video proving it, and even then...remember WE do 17-25 faces per hour, more than anyone else in the region--and our video is online for the viewing.
Dian did a beautiful job.
We were thrilled!!
MANY years ago I was a Recreation Director and hired Pete and Dian to draw for a celebration at our nursing home. I had absolutely no idea how incredibly well received they would be by residents, families and staff! Pete and Dian were very professional and engaging and captured the true essence of each person in a very special way (not the crazy, sometimes demeaning way other caricature artists do!) A few months later my husband hired them for a community fair where they provided families with equally fabulous keepsake caricatures. Now here we are almost 20 years later and our children are excited to have caricatures of their own drawn at their upcoming spring 2018 school carnival. I personally am looking forward to watching a whole new generation of kids being awed and delighted by Pete & Dian's speed, precision and extreme talent!
If you are looking for fun, interactive entertainment look no further, Pete & Dian are sure to make it something memorable for you and all of your guests-now and maybe even in twenty years!
Response from Caricatures by Dian & Pete Wagner:
Thank you so much, Heidi! We were so flattered that you remembered us after all that time and went to the trouble of tracking us down again! I am looking forward to joining you for the upcoming school carnival over in Wisconsin, our home state! I really appreciate you taking the time to write such a nice review. See you soon!
Pete's caricatures were such a hit at our carnival, and Pete's work was top notch! The caricatures really captured the essence of the people he drew, plus he was such a pleasure to work with. I would definitely recommend working with Pete for your next event, we will for sure be inviting him back.
Response from Caricatures by Dian & Pete Wagner:
Thank you, Elise! You are wonderful to work with and I loved performing at your private college event and meeting and visiting with all the students and their families who came over to be drawn and to watch me draw. I look forward to working with you again in the future!
Pete and Dian were at our elementary school's carnival 4 years in a row.. and THEY were the big hit! For a very reasonable price, they came in and were able to draw an unbelievably large amount of caricatures each hour.
Can't stress enough the quality, kid-friendly/entertaining, and value added service Dian and Pete provide. We are looking into having them back at the school dance since we no longer have the carnival.
Response from Caricatures by Dian & Pete Wagner:
Thank you, Tracy! We were so happy to join you for the carnivals and so sad when it was discontinued. It's nice that those currently working on the dance remembered us and I hope that will work out! We look forward to working with the school again.
Dian & Pete are such a great addition to any event! They are able to quickly draw up such creative and fun caricatures for parents, kids, and families. Our event attendees always leave with a smile and masterpiece to share for years to come. Sign them up for your next event, you won't be disappointed!
Price Range: $90-135 per hour per artist
Gig Length: 90 - 480 minutes
Insurance: Business and inland marine coverage which covers the client for liability if needed.
Unions: Graphic Artists Guild
What to Expect
Our strengths are that we are truly funny and true entertainers. Many young guys who can draw THINK they are funny and can produce some guffaws but lack the finesse to truly entertain EVERYONE including the "victim." Many illustrators with no real comedic sense tend to think a drawing only has to be ugly to be funny. Not us! Our motto is "Funny, not ugly!" We amaze and delight both the people being drawn and those watching. We make it a warm, engaging, fun experience with playful conversation and surprising flourishes to our art. Many of those who are now calling themselves caricatuists can draw well enough, but unfortunately are really not well-suited to the personal side of the art form--the performance! One thing that makes us the best is our speed. Pete draws up to 25 faces per hour, Dian up to 20. Others make claims of 10-12 per hour but in fact often fall way short of that. We prove our speed and quality with YouTube videos on our main website--unedited video shot at actual events, not edited video making it appear faster than it is, jazzed up with music to make it appear more lively than it is, and done in a studio where better quality can be faked. We draw true caricatures, which means we are able to capture the essence. Caricature is about using the minimum number of lines to produce the maximum effect and a great likeness, it is not about overdone details, shading, airbrush, etc. "Less is more" when it comes to caricature. Best entertainment value by far!
Pete, Dian and company are the ultimate professional cartoonists, not illustrators or portrait artists or students who do this as a sideline or an opportunistic way to "make a few bucks on the side." They have been fully dedicated to the art form of cartoon and caricature as their main passion in life since they were both teenagers.
Their business, Minne HA! HA! LLC is fully insured.
Pete is one of the pioneers of event performance caricaturing. It is something he did because he had a genuine, natural, God-given talent for it and his heart was truly in it. Pete's first grade report card reads: "Peter is a talented little artist who reveals a clever sense of humor in his artwork." He never needed to "learn" to do caricatures, it was the natural way he always drew. When people ask him how you learn to draw caricatures, he replies, "You can't LEARN to draw caricatures. You have to be BORN with a warped perspective of reality!" So he has always been a leader, not a follower, in the field--unlike most of today's practitioners.
Well known in the Twin Cities area as the controversial staff cartoonist at City Pages, KMSP-TV, the MN Daily and other Midwestern papers, his work has won more than a dozen major regional and national juried awards. His work has been syndicated to over 300 newspapers and published in Time magazine and the Washington Post, the Milwaukee Journal, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Progressive magazine, In These Times, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, High Times, the Republican News in Belfast and many others. Pete has taught cartooning courses at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas, as well as many K-12 residencies through the Minnesota State Arts Board's prestigious "Artists in Education" Roster. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree, summa cum laude and is currently a PhD candidate at the Design Institute at the University of Minnesota. Pete's cartoons are unusual in that they have been exhibited in fine art galleries and museums, including the Whitney Museum of Modern Art in New York. Pete's animated films have been shown in major international film festivals in Europe and North America
Dian is also one of the first to do caricaturing at events, with two degrees in art and has also won national awards. She was the staff cartoonist for the MN Women's Press and her work has been exhibited in many venues. She has also illustrated children's books and taught community education cartooning courses and K-12 residencies along with Pete Wagner.
Additional Booking Notes
There is a technical aspect of caricaturing that anyone hiring for events should be keenly aware of when sizing up caricaturists they are considering hiring. Please keep it in mind when viewing their sample drawings. Namely, this: There is a huge difference between the kinds of caricatures that can be produced in a RETAIL caricaturing situation (like at a fair or amusement park or mall) versus the kind that can or should be produced at an EVENT (like a party or convention). When drawing in a retail situation where each customer is paying for the drawing, they expect to be pampered and the artist has plenty of time to deliver a drawing done in a very "tight," polished, finished style, studying the subject carefully, starting with rough pencil sketches if necessary, erasing and re-drawing to get it right, etc. At an event, on the other hand, there are lines of people eagerly waiting to be drawn and the artist must have an ability to draw very quickly--in a more gestural or "raw" style, and hit the nail on the head the very first time, every time, and should be actively entertaining the subject and the onlookers. Many illustrators who sideline as caricaturists specialize in the former but are too slow or not good enough at capturing one likeness after another of dozens of people they have never seen before in a high-pressure event setting to perform optimally at the latter.
For an artist to show samples drawn at retail caricaturing concessions or in the studio, which is what many are now doing, is deceptive and unethical. Sure they are impressive, but technically, these kinds of drawings are much too finished and detailed to be legitimately used as samples to promote one's qualifications to peform as an EVENT performance caricaturist. They are false advertising. They look nothing like the drawings the artist will be able to do for you once they are at your event--or, if they do draw this slowly and meticulously, you will have many, many very disappointed people who will not get the chance to be drawn after having waited in a long line for a long time, because each drawing will take far too long. I have personally seen some of these artists taking more than 15 minutes on a single drawing! That's fewer than FOUR people per hour!!! Buyers beware!
Look carefully at the sample drawings shown by artists who are offering to draw at events. They SHOULD show you actual drawings done at PARTIES or other events, with the people who were drawn holding up or standing next to their drawings so you can check the likenesses. Most artists do show at least a few of these now, but... Is there a party in the background? Or a convention hall? Great. Better yet, they should show you VIDEO of themselves at actual events drawing caricatures, complete, un-edited video of themselves drawing complete caricatures from start to finish so you can get a feel for what it would be like to watch them at a party and how long it would take to sit there being drawn.
If not, for example if the photo shows that the samples and people holding them are in a shopping mall or at an amusement park, or worse yet they only show you elaborate airbrushed full-color pieces depicting famous celebrities, that's a dead giveaway that the artist thinks of caricaturing not primarily as a form of entertainment, but as a craft or commodity, and the samples they are showing took much longer to draw than could possibly be ideal for a party or event situation. It may be fine to spend 15-40 minutes on a drawing at a mall or amusement park or fair. But you cannot draw enough caricatures of this kind at an event and make it work well, unless perhaps you have a grand total of only five or six guests--or you hire 15 or 20 artists!
Other, more mechanistic, less aesthetically-oriented technical issues to consider:
Lighting is important for successful caricature performances. We do bring a 500 watt studio light if needed, but it is always nice and maintains the ambience of your event better if we can find lighting that does not clash with the lighting design treatment there.
Position is also important. The artists need to be set up in a spot where they can be seen but also accessed easily by the flow of traffic. We have over 30 years of experience in spotting the ideal location at your event, so it is best to be flexible and let us scope out the layout before you decide exactly where to place us.
You supply several chairs for the guests, we normally bring our own with us along with our drawing tables or boards and other supplies. It is important to set up so that people may watch but will not bump into us or cramp us.
Extra considerations like special folders or printing of your logo or event info on the paper need to be coordinated with us for best results. Not just any paper can be used, for example--please contact us before printing! Bags are available for an extra charge. We normally like to have the drawings taped up on nearby walls or windows if the venue allows it, which adds greatly to the fun.
We introduced the idea of using video cameras and monitors over 20 years ago, but have found it is cumbersome and rather hard to draw for the camera when it is just on a tripod rather than being shot by a professional videographer (as is done for Pete when he appears on KMSP-TV). It can be done and can add to the fun but has its limitations.
Digital caricaturing is also available. Not only can we do it, but Pete has his MFA degree in digital design, where he did intensive work forging the use of computers for cartooning. But it is expensive and requires more setup work.
There are many other things we have learned over the years to optimize your use of caricaturists at your event--far too many to cover here. Please ask for details.
Upcoming Booked Events
|June 09, 2018 • 7:00pm - 10:30pm||Graduation|
Past Booked Events
|January 21, 2018 • 10:30am - 12:00pm||Children's Birthday Party|
|January 20, 2018 • 7:00pm - 8:30pm||Birthday Party|
Many caricaturing wannabees approach drawing at events as a one-note set list, drawing the same formulaic cookie-cutter face over and over and over again. Everyone has a huge "Tweety Bird" forehead or a goofy smile with buck teeth or some other gimmicky treatment. With us, no two are alike unless the subjects happen to be twins--and even then, we manage to show their individuality!
|Pete Wagner||Lead artist and CEO, Minne HA! HA! LLC|
|Dian J Wall-Wagner||Star artist and President, Minne HA! HA! LLC|
|Jonny Johnson||Veteran artist|
Influences & Inspiration
As said above, we were the pioneers. When we began drawing caricatures at events in the 1970s, it was unheard of. We largely invented the genre! Caricaturing in fine art and print media existed, of course, and among those Hirschfeld, Bill Sanders (Milwaukee Journal), Oliphant, MacNelly, Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and Mort Drucker were influences. But it was hard to find a caricaturist performing live. Even the artists at places like Sardi's in New York did not do it primarily as a form of performance art as we did. Pete performed onstage around the country in 1979-80 and on KMSP-TV in recent years, wowing the audience with his clever imagery and speed.
Grounded outlet, chairs, room for performance (about 8x12 feet), smoke-free area