John Kascht is Making Faces

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What do Jimmy Stewart, Elton John, Whoopi Goldberg and Toni Morrison have in common? Beginning February 2, their visages, along with many others, will be on display at the Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science and Art in Scranton, PA.  Following, what may be the greatest celebrity tour ever, they will make stops at The Les Paul Museum in Waukesha, Wisconsin; the Center Stage Gallery in Burbank, CA; the McNichols Art Center in Denver, CO with other stopovers planned through 2020.

The artist responsible is satirist/caricaturist John Kascht, who over a 30-year career has created work for album covers, posters, as well as illustrations for The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, GQ, MAD, Oprah, Glamour, US News and many others. His work is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The exhibit is comprised of upwards of 100 finished works, as well as concept sketches.

Somehow Kascht manages to at once satirize and pay homage to his subjects. So much so, that many, including Stephen King, Sean Connery, Nathan Lane, Neil Simon, Joan Collins, John Travolta, Ted Turner and Rosie O’Donnell own their portraits. Case in point is Conan O’Brian, with whom he teamed up for the film Funny Bones: Anatomy of a Celebrity Caricature for the Smithsonian Institution’s educational network.

Bono, 2012
India ink, watercolor and colored inks

Spike Lee, c. 1998
India ink, watercolor and colored inks

Marty and the Dreamgirls, 2006
India ink, watercolor and colored inks

Edgar Allan Poe, 2015
India ink wash

Michael Richardson sketches and final

John’s past has been as colorful as his portraits. He has been a Catholic monk, an award-winning art director for The Washington Times (owned by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon) and along with his wife Delores, a beekeeper. He is largely self-taught as an artist and teaches in Marywood University’s “Get Your Masters with the Masters” MFA program in illustration and design.

Kascht, who says his name is pronounced “like the singer, past tense” grew up in Wisconsin and today resides on a farm in Pennsylvania with 500,000 honeybees.


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