Snapshots of Forensic Artist Jason Harveys Art Exhibit ‘Fantasy Composites’

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Forensic art is any art used in law enforcement or legal proceedings. Within this field are such skills as composite drawing, crime scene sketching, image modification and image identification, courtroom drawings, demonstrative evidence, and postmortem and facial approximation aids.

A forensic artist, also commonly referred to as a sketch artist, is a graphic artist that renders free-hand or computerized drawings, enhancements, and reconstructions. Forensic art is defined as an artistic technique used for identification, apprehension or conviction purposes.

With that being said…yes we’ve interviewed forensic artists in the past for our blog, all of whom are so very interesting. And hopefully we will get a chance to showcase and spotlight more in the future. We love sharing these stories for students that may be interested in pursuing this particularly specialized field of forensics. This time we are sharing some snapshots from a recent event that we attended in support of not only a real life forensic artist, but a fellow NYPD colleague, Jason Harvey.

Jason Harvey, a Fine Arts graduate and Forensic Artist for the NYPD Forensic Investigations Division had his artwork shown at the Fort Gansevoort Art Gallery in New York City. The exhibit was titled “Fantasy Composites” demonstrating Jason’s ability to create composites from memory incorporating different features of people he interacts with in his day to day life. None of the art that was on display represented actual criminals, but were more a fun rendering of what his job is like. The sketches were great, the event was quite fun and Jason is really awesome. Enjoy. There’s a bonus photo of me somewhere in there with Jason. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forensic Q/A Session with a Forensic Artist!

Sandra Enslow

Ms. Enslow kindly agreed to being interviewed by Forensic Nexus to share her career path. We asked her the following questions:

What is your area of expertise/forensic discipline?

Forensic Art – facial reconstruction, age progressions, post-mortem drawings, skull reconstructions and composites, as well as law enforcement graphics for my agency.

Where do you work as a forensic scientist?

I work in Los Angeles for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), the largest Sheriff’s Department in the U.S.  My title is Graphic Arts Coordinator, Sheriff and I manage the Graphic Arts Unit.

There are two other Graphic Specialists (Forensic Artists,) whom I supervise. On average, I work on any where from 100-200 composites in a year, as well as crime scene drawings, 3-D models and other law enforcement related materials and projects.

What is your typical work day like?

A typical work day includes assigning projects and composite cases to staff, meeting with Detectives by phone or in person, taking on new projects/cases, meeting with witnesses for composites.   Meeting with Executives, going to the Coroner’s Office to view a body, going to a crime scene, attending press conferences and preparing for conventions and classes that I teach are also in the mix of what I do.

What inspired you to pursue this career?

It found me!  I was approached by law enforcement to come to this job and 17 years later I’m still here.  My unit has been in existence for 55 years – with many Forensic Artists having come before me.

What is your academic background?

I have a BA in commercial illustration from California State University at Los Angeles. My forensic training started with my LASD Training Officer giving me a strong core foundation in Forensic Art (FA).  Later I received FA training from Lois Gibson at Northwestern University, Center for Public Safety, and the FBI Academy at Quantico, VA. Forensic Art is not just about taking one class – continuing education is an advantage in this field.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Going to court and testifying. Being part of the process to bring closure for a family, justice to the community and see the system work!

What suggestions do you have for students that are interested in pursuing a career in your profession?

A strong drawing background is essential – take many drawing classes and become proficient in rendering the form. Classes in the cognitive interview and psychology are also important.

Getting a job within a law enforcement and or crime lab environment is highly desirable — often the forensic artist is a collateral duty rather than a full time position.

 

Have we covered all bases? Any further questions come to mind while reading Ms. Enslow story? Please feel free to submit questions by commenting on this post and we will direct them to Ms. Enslow and post her responses.

Forensic Nexus would like to thank Ms. Enslow for her participation.

Contact us at info@forensicnexus.com for more information about mentorship.

Every Monday we will be spotlighting forensic professionals. To contribute your story, please visit here.

Till next week!