Mike Brown: The Hand Drawn Photo Booth!
Once upon a time there was a girl named Natalie Allsup-Edwards who was born in a toy store in Austin, Texas. Needless to say, she grew up to be an artist. Natalie’s parents, who were obviously hippies but also entrepreneurs, were always pushing her and her sisters toward creative endeavors, such as fixing their dollhouses themselves as children and whatnot. Meanwhile, my parents were encouraging me with super boring endeavors, like going to church and mowing the lawn.
Basically, my parents’ encouragement led to high amounts of teenage drug use, and Natalie’s parents’ encouragement led her to turning her own artistic abilities into an entrepreneurial experience known as The Hand Drawn Photo Booth. Different upbringings, to say the least.
The Hand Drawn Photo Booth is rad and basically what it sounds like—a pop-up photo booth like the old time-y ones, except instead of putting money in a slot and taking four dirty pics with your significant other while the curtain is pulled, you put money in a real artist’s hand and let them do four mini caricatures of you.
“Benefits of a hand drawn photo booth vs an old time-y black-and-white one is that it’s never out-of-order or broken down.”
Aside from old school photo booths always being broken, I think there’s only one in Salt Lake, at the International Bar, even available for public use, although I’m sure I’m wrong. Every other photo booth you’ll find these days is digitized and includes Snapchat filters to help with your low self-esteem and daddy issues. Overall, all of these things make a hand drawn booth that much cooler than the real deal.
Benefits of a hand drawn photo booth vs an old time-y black-and-white one is that it’s never out-of-order or broken down. Well, unless the artist is having a really, really shitty day, but after meeting Natalie and witnessing her overwhelmingly friendly and comfortable demeanor, I don’t see that happening with her photo booth any time soon. Although, I do think it would be funny for her to hang an “out-of-order” sign on one of the other artists that work with her if they were having a bad day.
Aside from her artistic upbringing, I asked Natalie what inspired her to start the Hand Drawn Photo Booth. The answer was awesome and surprising, and it goes back to a well-known cartoon that is part of my boomer childhood that all you millennials and Gen-Zers will have to Google to find out how awesome it is—The Flintstones. Anyway, The Flintstones were great. It was an animated show starring Fred Flintstone and his neighbor Barney Rubble who lived in caveman times. They even had a goddamn laugh track. The Flintstones would have all the dinosaurs and animals do modern things for them, and in one episode Fred and Barney got a polaroid picture etched out by a prehistoric bird, thus inspiring Natalie to hand draw pictures as though they were coming out of a photo booth. Also, the Flintstones have a line of daily vitamins that taste great and are good for you.
“Every other photo booth you’ll find these days is digitized and includes Snapchat filters to help with your low self-esteem and daddy issues.”
The Hand Drawn Photo Booth was first started in 2011 at a local farmers market and has grown into a full-fledged business with around ten employees. The Hand Drawn Photo Booth was at Craft Lake City’s DIY Festival this year (no shit) and is readily available for weddings, parties, festivals, bar-mitzvahs, and pretty much any event, I think. I don’t know if they do funerals yet but that would be a great way to lift the mood, in my opinion.
Also, full disclosure, although Natalie’s parents really do own a toy store in Austin, Texas, she was NOT actually born in a toy store, but her older sisters were. I just thought it would be a great way to start this article.