ELVIS’ GOLDEN CARICATURES VOLUME 4 features still more images of Presley hoppin’ and a‑boppin’ in the ’50s—or at least how mostly modern artists viewed Elvis and the decade! Despite this being the fourth volume, there is absolutely no drop-off in quality!
For more information on the art of caricatures, refer to the first volume of this series of articles. Each image below has the artist’s name beneath it—and many are first names only followed by the last name’s initial. I have hyperlinked as many of these names to a page that will give you more information on the artist as I could find.
I subtitled this volume “Shaggin’ the ’50s” from Little Richard’s song Rip It Up, which Elvis recorded for his second RCA Victor LP album in September 1956. Due to the Austin Powers movies, most people understand that there is a sexual interpretation to the slang.
But in Richard’s song, the lyric is, “Shag on down by the Union Hall—when the joint starts jumping, I’ll have a ball.” So as a kid, I always heard shag as dancing . . .
Artist: Gary Tymon
The artist apparently did this drawing for a “massive Elvis fan” and included her in the background, dancing as Elvis sings. Tymon’s treatment of Presley is so . . . nice, that I am almost afraid to call it caricature. But it certainly is a good piece to open this edition of Elvis’ Golden Caricatures with!
Artist: Matt Ryder
Elvis-as-James-Dean-as-hood/punk. For those who think that caricature is a small matter, this acrylic painting is on a canvas that is four feet high and three feet wide! This would be an imposing piece on anyone’s wall.
Artist: Gabby Correia
I don’t know about you, but I reflexively think “guy” when I think “caricaturist.” Ms Gabby Correia is the exception to the rule. Because of the white coat and the trimmed sideburns, I am guessing that this rather pensive portrait of Elvis was taken from the filming of Jailhouse Rock. Actually, if it wasn’t for the absurdly exaggerated hair, this lovely rendering would not qualify as a caricature.
Artist: Alberto “Sting” Russo
I don’t know why, but this image of Elvis reminds ever so slightly of actor Jack Black. (And I swear I haven’t had a drink or toke in years!)
Elvis looks like a youth here, younger than any of the photos of him from the time he signed with Sun Records in 1954. I don’t know what it is about the image, but I find it somewhat haunting.
Artist: Sebastian Kruger
Yeah yeah yeah, as a song (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear was a bit of fluff for the girls, but that’s not the way Elvis sang it. Readily dismissed by hard-assed critics who always want to see Presley-the-artist, his vocal on Teddy Bear was sheer genius.
In fact, if Buddy Holly had cut this track instead of Elvis, the critics probably would call it genius! Sebastian Kruger stops just short of lasciviousness in his portrayal of Elvis here.
Artist: Dan L.
While the overall impression from this image is of Elvis in the ’50s, the complete lack of sideburns made me move here to the volume of images from the 1960s. Plus, photos of Elvis in a jacket and tie tend to be from the early ’60s.
Artist: Diego Abelenda
The worldliness (tiredness?) in the eyes here would lead me to place this piece in the volume of ’60s caricatures, but buddy Jerry Richards assures me that the car is a caricature of a 1957 Chevrolet, so Diego’s art will stay here in this ’50s volume.
Artist: Karen F
This is the only three-dimensional piece that I selected: a sculpture by Karen F that looks like it would be quite comfortable on the wall of an amusement park fun house!
Oh, hell! First it was Jack Black, now I see Bill Clinton in this image of Elvis. I think it’s the eyes (and still, neither dope nor drink brings it upon me).
Artist: Pablo Morales de los Rios
I tend not to respond well to this style of drawing: I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s too squiggly for me. That said, I really like this one—even if EP doesn’t look very excited. (Perhaps it’s because he just realized he’s about to fall back on his ass . . .)
Artist: Jota Leal
Private Presley rarely receives any attention from anyone—caricaturists, cartoonists, artists, or just fans and writers such as myself. That Elvis spent time singing and practicing and learning was not all that evident a the session where he cut his first new sides in March 1960.
In fact, had the six tracks recorded then been issued as both sides of his first three singles of 1960, the continuity between the ‘old’ Elvis and the ‘new’ Elvis could have been maintained. Then, in April 1960, he recorded It’s Now Or Never and Are You Lonesome Tonight and things were never the same.
Artist: Daniel Kukic
There are many zombie-Elvis caricatures and related artwork on the Internet (just type ‘zombie elvis’ into Google). While that’s not my usual cuppa tea, I did want to include this one, as it may be the best of show. Also, I’m not even certain if it qualifies as an Elvis caricature: it’s more a poke at the United States Postal Service.
FEATURED IMAGE: The artwork at the top of this page is by Spot-On-George, and is taken from one of the most famous photos of Presley performing on stage in the 1950s. This was shot on September 26, 1956, at the Mississippi-Alabama Fairgrounds (my fifth birthday was three weeks before this but I couldn’t make the gig) and can be found all over the Internet.
Despite this, I couldn’t find a credit anywhere for the photographer. Note that I significantly darkened George’s original for use as the featured image so that the white print of the title could be read.
POSTSCRIPTUALLY, I have planned four volumes of caricatures of Elvis in the ’50s, and two each for the ’60s and the ’70s. There are at least two artists who have done enough high-quality caricatures of Presley to merit a volume of their own, Al Hirschfeld and Alberto “Sting” Russo. Here are links to the volumes:
The First Published Caricature of Elvis Presley
Elvis’ Golden Caricatures Volume 1 (Rockin’ the 50s)
Elvis’ Golden Caricatures Volume 2 (Rollin’ the 50s)
Elvis’ Golden Caricatures Volume 3 (Rattlin’ the 50s)
Elvis’ Golden Caricatures Volume 4 (Shaggin’ the 50s)
Elvis’ Golden Caricatures Volume 5 (Stuck on the 60s)
Elvis’ Golden Caricatures Volume 6 (Wild in the 60s)
Elvis’ Golden Caricatures Volume 7 (Elvis by Hirschfeld)
Elvis’ Golden Caricatures Volume 8 (Love Letters from the 70s)
Elvis’ Golden Caricatures Volume 9 (Aloha from the 70)
Elvis’ Golden Caricatures Volume 10 (Elvis by Russo)
Mystically liberal Virgo enjoys long walks alone in the city at night in the rain with an umbrella and a flask of 10-year-old Laphroaig who strives to live by the maxim, “It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble; it’s what you know that just ain’t so.
I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn, and a college dropout (twice!). Occupationally, I have been a bartender, jewelry engraver, bouncer, landscape artist, and FEMA crew chief following the Great Flood of ’72 (and that was a job that I should never, ever have left).
I am also the final author of the original O’Sullivan Woodside price guides for record collectors and the original author of the Goldmine price guides for record collectors. As such, I was often referred to as the Price Guide Guru, and—as everyone should know—it behooves one to heed the words of a guru. (Unless, of course, you’re the Beatles.)