Gary Myrick is an artist whose subjects often find themselves sitting for him in a place where they would rather not be. His sure, swift strokes reveal an unrivaled sense of telling detail that has made Myrick one of the most successful of a rare breed: the courtroom artist.
His sketches have captured the rumpled paunch of legendary swindler Billie Sol Estes and the carefully powdered nose of notorious Clinton accuser Paula Jones. Chin cradled on her hands, head framed by a cowled sweater against a deep red wall, housewife Candy Montgomery looked to Myrick like a monk at prayer before her axe murder trial ended in aquittal. One particularly buxom witness reminded Myrick of "a '58 Cadillac". The pale eyes of "Death Nurse" Genene Jones stare from his drawings with the same intensity she fixed on the prosecutor who was accusing her of murdering children in her care. The intent, unsmiling likeness of nurse Jones now finds it's place in a unique gallery - the famous and notorious, their accusers, defenders, victims and lovers.
The hundreds of drawings encompass nearly three decades of some of America's most sensational trials, including the Branch-Davidian arraignments, held as the drama played out at nearby Mount Carmel. Myrick's archives hold the likenesses of the late former Treasury Secretary and Texas Governor John Connally, convicted arms smuggler Edwin Wilson, oil millionaire Cullen Davis, convicted child murderer Darlie Routier, alleged serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, Whitewater defendants James and Susan MacDougal and Charles Harrelson (the father of actor Woody Harrelson, convicted for the assassination of a Federal Judge) and countless others, both famous and obscure.
Born in Crosbyton in West Texas, Myrick grew up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. At 19, he was hired as art director of KTVT-TV in Fort Worth. Two years later, as substitute art director for KDFW-TV in Dallas, he covered a trial. Television news executives were delighted at his speed and accuracy, and a new career was born for Myrick. In 1979, he free-lanced steadily in New York City for CBS News, but decided to return to trial-rich Texas. Upon returning, he found himself covering the Billie Sol Estes trial simultaneously for CBS and ABC, turning out two full sets of drawings every day "so that Walter Cronkite wouldn't duplicate 'World News Tonight'".
That led to Myrick being offered a rare exclusive contract by the highly acclaimed WFAA, a relationship that continued for nine years. He was kept sufficiently busy during that time that on one day, he sketched three trials in three cities - one in Dallas, one in Waco, and one in Fort Worth.
Upon leaving WFAA to become a free-lancer, Myrick worked for virtually all major national TV news outlets, including NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, Fox and Sky News. In addition, his work continues to appear on programs such as "48 Hours","20/20", "Prime Time Live" "Dominic Dunne", "Murder By The Book" and "American Justice". Many of these programs have availed themselves of Myrick's rich archives when doing programs on famous past trials.
Increasingly, collectors have also become interested in Myrick's work. They recognize that such drawings are the last vestige of the vanishing, historic role of the "artist-journalist", a tradition which goes back to the time before photography. While Myrick's courtroom drawings are clearly a fitting choice to adorn the walls of law firms, many simply appreciate them for their outstanding artistry, insight and wit, in addition to their value as social and historic artifacts. Saturated with powerful observation, these images hold up simply as masterful works on their own merits.
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