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Tree of Life

Updated: Apr 22, 2023

A few years back, I was running a "paint night" type birthday party for my friend's daughter when I received an unusual (for me) message on my art facebook page. It was the assistant news director at our local KDKA (CBS Affiliate) news station here in Pittsburgh. She had said they were in a bind and needed a courtroom sketch artist for an upcoming hearing. Turns out, she found me on LinkedIn (which I barely use), and she asked if I would consider it even though it was not something I usually did.

I agreed, and that first courtroom sketching gig was for the federal arraignment of Robert Bowers, the accused shooter in the Tree of Life Synagogue mass shooting in October 2018. It was a blur, a very fast hearing. It lasted less than half an hour if I remember correctly, but I was able to produce several sketches for it. That was the first of several times the news stations here in Pittsburgh called me in for my sketching services.

Robert Bowers, 2019. Do not reproduce image.

The last time I had done it was in February of 2020, right before COVID shut everything down. I hadn't thought I would do it again, honestly, since I hadn't heard and was moving on to building other aspects of my art business.

Then, a couple months back, I got a call from that first contact again, the woman who had reached out to me initially. It was finally time for them to hire a sketch artist for the capital case of Robert Bowers, accused of 63 federal counts. They were bringing me back, if I was willing. And I was willing. It is important.

The trial kicks off on Monday 4/24/23 with jury selection. I will be going pretty silent professionally until the trial is over. I have not closed my Etsy shops completely, but I have significantly lengthened the processing times, and I have temporarily paused my other illustrating and painting work for the time being.

Keep an eye out on the news for updates on the trial as it unfolds.

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