If you're a portrait artist like James Mundie, jury duty is a great place to draw, because people hold still for so long.
James Mundie is a draughtman, printmaker and photographer living in Philadelphia where he says he gets called for jury duty "with surprising frequency." This time Mundie was determined to spend the time productively, so he showed up with sketchbook at hand. When they finally let him go, he headed to a local pub for lunch:
"I draw constantly," Mundie wrote to me, "but I'm trying to be more disciplined about making a regular practice of using my sketchbook. Sketching helps keep my drawing skills honed, but also loosens me up and helps me to become more efficient in describing form. Just the act of drawing something -- really observing it --- helps me to focus and relax. It's like meditation."
James Mundie's work seems to map the path from here to fantasy. On his web site mundieart.com, there are intricate drawings and prints; some are the ordinary faces around us, and others are the creatures and scenes of dreams. At another site called Prodigies, Mundie displays his "portraits of 'anomalous humans' -- sometimes called 'monstrosities' or 'freaks' -- in contexts borrowed from artworks of centuries past." At first you think these are historical drawings, and realizing that they're not pulls you in to what Mundie has drawn and your own reactions to it. "It is my hope that these images compel the viewer to linger and consider their own inhibitions and conceptions in relation to a subject which many consider taboo," he says.
If that weren't enough, the black and white photographs in Mundie's Flickr photostream are full of a sense of light and scene, like the photo he took from that same seat in the pub after jury duty.
The American Gallery of Juror Art is proud to welcome James Mundie. All rights in these drawings are his; thanks to him for allowing them to be reprinted here.