Artist Draws Free Caricatures on the Square

Walking to the Square with a small army-style backpack, caricature artist Isidro Nunez, or “Isidro Arte,” has all he needs for the night. All his markers, pens, paper and easel, which he uses to draw the faces of Denton, fitting into this one bag. He pops open the bag and sets up shop. He takes out a few signs labeled, “Free Caricature,” and attaches them to the easel's legs with clamps from a broken phone tripod.  

Arte makes it look easy. Between Beth Marie’s and LSA Burger in front of Mad World Records, Arte has been bravely taking on crowds of Denton nightlife who stand in line for his caricatures since the Summer. He loves seeing people’s reactions to his caricatures.

Drawing since he was a kid, YouTube and hours of the internet taught him all he knows about drawing caricatures. Arte now feels he has improved greatly at drawing caricatures, and he even offers digital caricatures and a digital photo booth service.     

For as long as he can remember, he has loved art dating back from when he moved to the United States at seven years old. After high school, Arte studied graphic design at a trade school in Dallas. Arte’s passion to be a full-time artist has not always matched with money. It sometimes became difficult, and he even became homeless at one point.

Working through the difficult time, Arte crafted a plan to come to Denton, as he noticed that Denton didn’t really have a local caricature artist here, and now uses his art to pay rent. Even though he does it for free, the groves up people getting their caricatures still leave him tips. This along with being present on the square gets Arte offers from people for his services at parties or events. When he does parties Arte charges hourly rates or at places where he has to pay to be there, like flea markets, he charges per caricature. Apart from caricatures, he practices several forms of art, even creating murals like the one outside of Eskimo Hut on Sunset St. with a big red heart and has Denton written in the center of it.

“I do feel like I'm on to something,” Arte said. “It keeps me in practice, makes people happy, [lets me] meet new people, get work, all of that.”

Arte said he hopes his artwork as a whole will eventually get to a point where he does not have to do it for a living but purely for fun.

“I've figured out how to fit everything I need in a backpack which I can take anywhere and travel if I want to and always have a way to make some money real quick.” Arte said, “I could survive anywhere just of the caricatures or spray paint art alone.”  

Arte will be doing some of his work at the Deep Ellum Arts Festival which you can see here.

Photos by Robert Warren and Isidro Nunez.