Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The King of Broadway

This is Tony Awards month.  With deference to the subject matter in this space, The King of Broadway -- for my money -- ruled not with a scepter but an artist's pen.  
Welcome to the Summer Solstice edition of Not Your Usual Caricature Artist.
 For well over seven decades,  Al Hirschfeld chronicled the stars of Broadway (and movies and politics) with a unique style that no one else even attempted to emulate.
Sparse of line and detail, but richly nuanced in facial likeness, Herschfeld's work was a staple of the popular Arts section of The New York Times every Sunday.
Just as famously, according to Wikipedia, "Hirschfeld is known for hiding (his daughter) Nina's name in most of the drawings he produced after her birth.
"The name would appear in a sleeve, in a hairdo, or somewhere in the background....He engaged in the 'harmless insanity,' as he called it, of hiding her name at least once in each of his drawings. The number of NINAs concealed is shown by an Arabic numeral to the right of his signature. Generally, if no number is to be found, either NINA appears once or the drawing was executed before she was born."
Now I'm nowhere near as facile with a pen or pencil as Mr. Herschfeld, but that hasn't kept me from my own attempts at putting some personalities in my sight lines (the first four, commissioned work).

To wit:
Prince Harry, Extreme Makeover's Ty Pennington, McDonald's Ray Kroc, Harry Houdini and Denzel Washington.

Thanks for your company. Join us again the first Tuesday of next month for another broad brushstroke of Not Your Usual Caricature Artist...