5 minutes with Jeff Mangum ’92

Position: Caricature artist

Degree: Painting

Hometown: Durham

“People ask me all the time if drawing people at events and parties is my real job. And I say yes, it beats working!

“A friend of mine from the ECU School of Art and Design moved to Charlotte after graduation and started drawing caricatures
on the side. He thought I’d enjoy doing it too and took me along to a few events. It was the most fun thing ever. I’ve been doing it full time since 1999.

“The basic thing to excelling at caricatures is good drawing ability and an outgoing personality. What drew me to it was the instant gratification. It’s a quick sketch that the subject sees in three minutes. I always want people to leave with something they like, so I don’t overexaggerate features in a mean way (I make fun with them, not at them). It’s supposed to be a pleasant memento.

“I also paint wall murals around the Charlotte area where I live – everything from hotel lobbies to bowling alleys to a Whole Foods parking garage. I’m currently doing a mural at a laser tag arena with fluorescent paint. It’s not exactly the Museum of Modern Art, but it’s really fun. And that’s one of the reasons I went into art, because I like it so much. Otherwise, I’d still be doing it as a hobby. At least this way pays for the supplies.

“One great thing I learned in the art program at ECU was the importance of meeting deadlines. This piece of art is due on this day, and nobody will care why you don’t have it. In the real world, someone won’t give you a bad grade, they’ll just never call you for a job ever again.”

We want to hear stories from alumni about how their experiences at ECU shaped them today and how they pass those lessons to others. Send us an email at easteditor@ecu.edu.