A two-year journey for caricaturist John Kascht’s collection of funny faces from politics, sports, history and pop culture will reach its final destination at the university this week.
“Making Faces: Portraits by John Kascht” will be on display in the Friends of the Libraries Gallery at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum beginning Saturday. The exhibit will display caricatures and satirical drawings that focus on the human face, Anne Drozd, museum coordinator at the library, said.
Drozd said the works — mostly originals with a few prints — are grouped in sections that will show Kascht’s process when working on a caricature. The section panels include an introduction, body language, sketching, design, portraiture and satire. She said the exhibit will draw in a new audience because it is unlike the comics and cartoons normally on display in the library that combine words with images.
Kascht, whose 30-year career began by drawing political cartoons for his local paper at the age of 14, said that before he even started drawing, he was very creative and interested in viewing the world through the lens of others, often impersonating their actions to do so.
“I would follow my parents’ friends around, walking like them and eventually talking like them,” Kascht said. “So before I drew caricatures, I was performing caricatures.”
Throughout his career, Kascht has created work for various publications, including The New York Times, Time Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Rolling Stone and Newsweek.
Kascht said it can be tempting to chase fame and success, but it can come at the cost of happiness and creativity.
“You start managing the career rather than nurturing your creativity,” Kascht said. “It can really be a trap.”
Kascht said caricature is not distortion or even exaggeration, but rather the amplification of a subject’s features. He said recognizability is essential to a good caricature, so much so that the drawing looks more like its subject than they do.
“A caricature, if it’s been deeply observed and well-drawn, [will] nail that likeness from a whole bunch of angles, somehow magically compressed into one image,” Kascht said.
He said his process for getting to the truthfulness in caricature involves breaking down the walls subjects put up, eventually reaching the real and authentic person.
“Technology is another layer to be penetrated, like lighting, makeup, stage presence or comedic shtick,” Kascht said.
Drozd said the exhibit will visually enhance a lot of what students already encounter in their everyday lives. She said the immediate ability to recognize the figures in the art, as well as the art’s relatability, makes the exhibit something for anyone to enjoy.
“Because of the broad scope of people that [Kascht] is focusing on, I think that there is going to be someone that’s of interest to anyone walking into the gallery, whether you’re interested in art and his process, or you are just a fan of celebrities in general,” Drozd said.
“Making Faces: Portraits by John Kascht” will be on display Saturday through May 3 at the Friends of the Libraries Gallery in the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. The gallery is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.