This includes artists who do portraits for people and artists who use pastel crayons to copy famous paintings onto pavements. Passers-by can show their appreciation by giving coins. usually into a hat or a can. Regardless of the accuracy of the likeness or excellence of the work, portrait artists usually consider payment mandatory - which is why some local governments (in London, for instance) consider it street trading and therefore work requiring a license.
Tricks of the portrait artist include exaggerating about the shortness of the sitting, to praising the supposed beauty of prospective customers' wives or children in order to flatter, to charging apparently well-off clients extra. In their favor, many have excellent ability, and as a whole, they add atmosphere to squares and alleys. Popular areas include parts of the West End in London and Montmartre in Paris. Many portrait artists are also capable caricaturists.
Some people may use this term more broadly to refer to people involved in busking, such as musicians who sing and/or play instruments, acrobats, jugglers and living statues, or for those performing street theatre.
In New York City, street artists have an advocacy group that has won numerous Federal lawsuits on their free speech rights.