For a glimpse of my secret other life as a very occasional courtroom illustrator.
Oregon has been in the news for the last 4 weeks due to the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge building out on the east side of the Cascades. Yesterday, 7 of the protesters were brought into federal court in Portland after being arrested. I got a call mid-morning from one of the local news channels asking me to go down to the courthouse to draw.
The courtroom experience is always a little fraught for me.The initial procedural hearings happen in a heartbeat — it is a crazy challenge to capture the general appearance of each defendant in less than 10 minutes. Accustomed as I am to working alone in my backyard studio, with no attention and little time pressure, the adrenaline rush of getting to court, angling for a seat where I can see the defendants, setting up a miniature studio around my feet, and cranking out reasonable likenesses of each defendant without knowing how much time I will have to do so — all of this gets my heart beating fast. But once I am drawing, the surroundings slip away and I experience a kind of hyper focus that I rarely achieve in my other work.
But it’s such a relief to return to my hidey-hole!
Ammon Bundy (one of the spokespeople and leaders of the occupying group)