Starting in 1974, illustrator Marilyn Church has spent her workdays in court. Church is a courtroom artist who masterfully captures the intensity, drama, and strangeness of high profile proceedings involving John Gotti, Martha Stewart, OJ Simpson, David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz, and even Donald Trump. From an interview with Church in Topic:
"Murder She Drew" (Topic)
How and when did you begin working as a courtroom artist?
It was 1974. I had been doing fashion illustration, which is really based on drawing gestures and being very quick to get everything down.
I had a lawyer friend who was covering a big case, and he told me that there were these artists, hired by television channels, sitting there drawing in court. I was not really a television watcher, so this was a revelation to me. So I turned on a news program and it was the first time I saw a courtroom drawing on television. I was so thrilled to see it, because I can remember seeing drawings in Life magazine when I was young, courtroom drawings, and thinking, God, how exciting. An artist can sit in court, draw some life, and watch these amazing cases happen.
So, right away I just thought, I can do that. I know I can do that. I showed up in court the next day.
You were in the courtroom with Donald Trump a couple of times—for the 1986 USFL v. NFL case, and also his 1992 divorce from Ivana. Can you tell me a little bit about the experience of drawing Trump?
My impression was that he was controlling and full of himself. He takes over the room, and Ivana was shrinking in his presence. Although I’m sure she’s a very strong woman—that was my impression.
Also, it seemed like Trump could get away with anything. He was a bully back then, it was obvious. Not so much at the football trial, but at the divorce hearing. He draws the attention of the room—that’s what I wanted to get across.