Archive for August 2nd, 2010

The village of Orland Park, south-west of Chicago, calls itself the “world’s golf club.”  It’s only a slight exaggeration.   I was drawing at a party in a golf club in Orland Park last night and I can attest to the lush, green environment in that neck-o’-the-woods.  A family was celebrating the christening of two baby girls.  There were a hundred-and-fifty guests—beautiful, well-to-do sisters, brothers, cousins, uncles and aunts.  Lots of expensive, buff bodies on the dance floor after the sumptuous dinner.  Throughout it all, I was set up near the gift table drawing anybody who sat down in front of me.  In my twenty-one years as a professional caricaturist, I’ve noticed that at a family gathering, adults tend to defer to the children and when all the children are drawn, the adults also come around to get their caricature.  I took very few photos last night because my battery ran out. So, all I have is a few shots of children.  Now, these kids were very well behaved, both boys and girls.  They all knew how to sit still for a couple of minutes, which is all that’s required for being drawn by a caricature artist.  But there was one big difference in the way boys and girls sat.  Girls smiled and boys didn’t.  We can take these sentences out of the past tense and put them into the present:  Girls smile and boys don’t.  My experience last night was not unusual.  It’s how it is, generally:  girls smile, boys don’t, even if they’re only four years old.  There are exceptions, of course.  But most often I only get a smile out of a boy, after the drawing is done and I turn it around for him to see. Then he’s all teeth and grins. He cracks up.  During the actual drawing process,  uh-uhh, he’ll sit and stare like John Knox about to deliver an admonition.

This reminds me of a photo taken by the German photographer, August Sander (1876-1964), who did penetrating character studies of his contemporaries.   Here’s an uncanny portrait from 1925 of a pair of twins, probably not older than four.

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