Cartoon Power 100 by Forsh

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A month after City & State published its 2016 New York City Power 100 list, we were tipped off that all 100 power players were gathered in a small art gallery on the Lower East Side. No, Margaret Chin wasn’t throwing a party – the 100 influential New Yorkers were all together in the form of caricatures by political cartoonist Evan Forsch. Flattered by having our list enshrined in ink, City & State caught up with Forsch at LES Popped, his pop-up art shop on Grand Street, which has since closed.

C&S: We didn’t even know you were doing this until we saw photos of the finished product. What inspired you to draw the Power 100?
EF: I follow you guys on Twitter and I read some stuff. I do political cartoons for The Villager and I did them for The Lo-Down – they stopped printing so they stopped doing the cartoon, but they’re still around doing great stuff. So I’m interested in politics and I saw the Power 100 and all those faces and thought, wow, that would be a fun project to do.

C&S: It’s a cartoon-like style for the faces, but you wrote the names next to them in a street art, wild style lettering. Do you do both styles?
EF: I’ve never tagged any walls or even wheatpasted. I love that stuff though! I guess that’s what inspired it. I love it just as an art, but I’ve yet to hit the streets or sticker anything. But lots of cartoons. I’ve been in The New Yorker, Reader’s Digest. So for a project like this, where I’m just doing it on my own, there’s no restrictions. I can combine styles and whatever!

C&S: How long does each drawing take you?
EF: Normally just a few minutes. I mean if I’m doing it at a party, you’ve got to get through them pretty quick. I could take my time more, but really for the most part it took more time to track down photos that I wanted than to draw the actual picture. I can do them fairly quickly. Maybe three minutes.

C&S: Some of these drawings – Charlie Rangel, John Catsimatidis – they have very expressive faces. Do you have a favorite one that was the most fun to draw?
EF: My favorite? Almost all of them were fun to draw. Some people are just kind of generic. I messed up Schumer. I see the mistakes more than the stuff I like. I was happy to draw Preet Bharara!

C&S: Are you civically engaged? Or do you just enjoy following politics as an observer?
EF: My kids go to elementary school. I’m on the PTA, and all the nonsense that goes on – not with the people, just with the laws. I’m on the SLT (School Leadership Team). Apparently Bloomberg set up this thing, and we do nothing. It’s awful. I want to help my kids.
I like to follow (politics). And it’s very frustrating just to follow it, as I’m sure you know. And I guess the fun part is that I do get to express my opinions in the cartoons. Some of my most recent ones were about Shelly Silver because this area is his. I used to live in his co-op and I moved two blocks away to a different co-op recently. I have strong feelings about him and his pretending to do good while he’s really not. Very upsetting.

Click on images below to enlarge

You can see more of Forsch’s work at Evan4sh.com.

Watch out for City & State’s Albany Power 100 list, which debuts next week.