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Darien Caricature Artist Finds Inspiration In Presidential Politics

Political cartoonist and caricature artist and Darien resident Bob Carley presenting his caricature to president-elect Donald Trump Photo Credit: contributed
Donald Trump reacting to Bob Carley's caricature Photo Credit: contributed
Trump signing Carley's caricature Photo Credit: contributed
Bob Carley presenting Bernie Sanders with a caricature. Photo Credit: contributed

DARIEN, Conn. — Caricature artist Bob Carley of Darien clearly recalls the moment he presented his creation to President-Elect Donald Trump.

“In January, I had taken a little vacation in Portsmouth, N.H., and went to a Trump rally," Carley said.

When Trump got close in the massive crowd, Carley showed him the caricature.

“When he saw it, his eyes popped wide open," Carley said. "He then posed holding the caricature so I could take a picture of him. He gave me a big smile."

The caricature of Trump, along with many others, is part of an exhibit called "Hail to the Chief ... Caricatures of the Presidents and the 2016 Candidates," which is on display at the Ridgefield Library and Norwalk Public Library through the end of November.

The exhibit is also being shown at the State Capitol building in Hartford.

Carley, 58, a former Norwalk resident, said he has been drawing cartoons since he was in his teens. At 15, he had his first cartoon published in the "Darien Review."

What makes his caricature unique is that he surrounds each creation with the person’s best one-liners.

“I love wit and humor, and it makes it interesting for the viewers not just to see a caricature but to read what the person said," Carley said.

He also described himself as a nice caricaturist -- which also sets him apart. “A lot of caricaturists draw people to ridicule them,” Carley said. “Instead, I like to give them a gift -- something they can put on the wall and appreciate.”

Carley never asks for payment for his caricatures. “I’m doing this for myself."

To make a living, he works as a background actor -- an “extra.” He has appeared on many TV series, including “The Good Wife,” “Law and Order” and “Blue Bloods” as well as the film “Still Alice.”

On the subject of politics, Carley said he is a big Trump supporter. “I think we need to drain the swamp,” he said. “Let’s give him a chance.”

Aside from supporting Trump, Carley said the Republican president-elect makes for a great caricature. “He has so many unique features you can zero in on, especially his hair," Carley said. “You make his mouth open, make his pointy finger. He is one of the best faces for a caricature since Richard Nixon."

However, he said Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was a lot more challenging as a caricature “because she doesn’t have the most identifiable features,” he said.

His standards are exacting. When making a caricature of Barack Obama, he complained that many artists “go way overboard on him. They exaggerate his smile, and make his teeth and chin so gigantic that the caricature ends up not even looking like Obama."

Carley especially enjoys presenting caricatures to his subjects in person. “There is real fun in seeing them receive the caricature and seeing that it really does look like them,” he said.

Aside from presidents, Carley has also done caricatures of Dolly Parton, Caroline Kennedy, Sylvester Stallone, Lee Iacocca, Ed Koch and Henry Kissinger.

The Ridgefield Public Library is at 472 Main St. For hours and information, check the website .

The Norwalk Public Library is at 1 Belden Ave., Norwalk.For hours and information, check the website .

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