Darien resident Bob Carley was sitting in a diner when he heard that Al Sharpton was coming to Norwalk to talk about education. So he rushed home to do what he loves: drawing caricatures of famous people and presenting them in person.
"He was taken aback by it. He didn't actually say anything," Carley said. He added that the situation didnt lend itself to humor, but said he did receive compliments from Sharptons staff and hopes the political activist sends him a letter, as many celebrities do.
Carley has surprised hundreds of famous people with his caricatures. He's met former presidents, movie stars, singers, television actors and foreign heads of state. He is especially interested in current events and politicians, inspired by his grandfather, a prominent French political figure who served as chief of staff to French Prime Minister Aristide Briand.
"I want them to like it. I'm not trying to stick it to anyone. I don't make them too grotesque, I don't go overboard," he said. He's received many notes of thanks from notable subjects. Kirk Douglas said he would hang his likeness in his dressing room. He even ended up on "Access Hollywood" while surprising Rob Lowe with a caricature.
Carley started drawing caricatures as a student at Darien High School . When he was 15, he submitted a caricature of Richard Nixon to the New York Review. It was rejected, but famous cartoonist David Levine saw it and encouraged him to keep with it. Carley later got an opportunity to present the caricature to Nixon's daughter.
"If I didn't have to make a living, I would devote all my time to it," Carley said. He considered becoming a political cartoonist, but ended up going into marketing and advertising instead.
One subject Carley looks forward to caricaturing is Barack Obama. "He has an excellent face. It's very easy to draw. Much better than Bush, much better than Clinton," he said. The current president is just one of a long list of celebrities he looks forward to caricaturing and meeting.
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