Detective Greg Bean, the Bellevue Police Department's sketch artist, is used to his work showing up in newspapers and on television. Now he's got a new audience -- subscribers to the quarterly art magazine "Drawing."
Detective Bean, who reluctantly agreed to become a sketch artist for the Bellevue department nine years ago, has moved beyond quick pencil sketches of criminal suspects to sophisticated oil portraits of all kinds of people.
The summer issue of "Drawing," published by "American Artist," features a 10-page spread of Detective Bean's work, from a selection of police sketches to commissioned portraits and other fine art. "Drawing" is on sale at many bookstores.
Detective Bean will be available to the media for questions and to display some of his work on Thursday, Aug. 21, 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Bellevue City Hall, in Room 1E-108.
Detective Bean began his career in law enforcement 25 years ago, and has been a detective for the last 14 years. Called upon to become a sketch artist -- officially a "forensic" artist, he was ordered to take art classes against his will.
Forensic artists are called upon to interview witnesses and suspects and attempt to create a drawing of the suspect that helps the public identify him or her. Bean's art teachers nurtured previously untapped talents, and he honed his abilities until his sketches began solving crimes. Bean has been so successful, the Police Department is in the process of training two officers to be additional forensic artists.
"The drawing is not the hard part," Bean says. "Anybody who can sign their name can draw. What my first teacher showed me was how to see. Once you understand how an artist looks at the world, you can see how to create art."
He adds, "For forensic art, the most important part is the interview. You have to be able to bring the information out of the victim's or witness' mind and put it to paper. A bad interview will result in a bad drawing, and bad drawings don't catch criminals."
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