Courtroom Art

Courtroom art, perhaps a new sector in the Fine Arts.  Daniel Grant has an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about courtroom artists.  From an appraisal perspective, the value is rather low, but many of the courtroom artists do find a market for their work in addition to the pay they getting for the drawings.  Sometimes it is lawyers and judges whom they draw during the course of the trial.  Some of the artist state they can draw anywhere from $500.00 to $1,500.00 for the drawings.

One artist mentions the courtroom drawings are not quite fine art and not really illustration art either, and that galleries dont know what to do with works.  Some of the courtroom artist charge $500.00 to $650.00 per day per client.  If drawing for multiple clients, the days pay could total a nice sum.

Grant states

When the hearing ended, Ms. Cornell, Ms. Rosenberg and all the other courtroom artists in attendance rushed outside, where photographers were waiting to take pictures of their sketches that could be transmitted quickly back to the newsrooms. Sometimes, they can lean the drawings up against a wall, or someone brings an easel. On occasion, things get a bit fancier. For the 2005 child-molestation trial of Michael Jackson, a booth with lighting was set up outside the courthouse for Sacramento, Calif., artist Vicki Behringer's watercolor scenes of the trial. Undoubtedly, you saw those pictures, too. You take in the visual information, not giving a thought to what it must be like to hold a palette in your left hand, painting with your right and praying that no one jostles you, causing the bottle of water in your bag to spill. "The look of courtroom art in New York is pastel," Ms. Behringer said. "The look in California is watercolor."

She noted that "I really haven't had many accidents. Pastels are messy, and the pastel dusts make me cough. Watercolors, on the other hand, dry quickly, and you can apply large swaths of color."

For courtroom artists, the work is sporadic (a celebrity in trouble with the law helps), and it is most lucrative when a number of different news outlets call on a single artist. Bill Robles, a courtroom artist in Los Angeles who has covered the trials of Jackson, Patty Hearst, Rodney King and Timothy McVeigh, noted that he is paid between $500 and $650 per day (the more network affiliates use the story, the more he receives) per client. He covered the U.S. government's lawsuit against Arizona's new immigration law for eight different news outlets, which he called "a very good day's work."
To read the full article, click HERE.

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