Bruce Norris:  Caricaturing America

Caricatures on wall of DC Psalm Restaurant

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Actor. Caricaturist. These are just a few of the many hats that Bruce Norris, known by many in the Washington, D.C. area as the “Mad Hatter” (in reference to the trademark top hat he wore while working at the famous Palm Restaurant) has worn during his lifetime.      


Bruce first made his mark as an artist during the 1970’s, when he was a part-time cartoonist for the Nuclear Utility Service. During his ten years with the NUS, he mostly worked to help create training videos for the corporation. In 1979, Bruce hit it big when he was invited to throw a one man art show at a party hosted by composer and musician Leonard Bernstein.     


Show with Leonard Bernstein:



Bruce’s work quickly became a fixture on the walls of several restaurants and comedy clubs around Washington, D.C..  At the Palm Restaurant, many of Bruce’s caricatures of patrons—famous and not-so-famous—hang from the walls, including pictures of President George H.W. Bush, First Lady Barbara Bush, and Vice President Dan Quayle and his wife Marilyn.  The walls of Garvin’s Comedy Club showcase his work further, with caricatures of Bill Maher, Jerry Seinfeld, Richard Belzer, and an inebriated Gary Busey.     

Bruce has featured his work at numerous art galleries across the country, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Georgetown, the Mary Ann Reilly Gallery, and two shows at the National Press Club.  In Florida, where he now resides, Bruce has exhibited his work at the Donna Gordon Gallery, Davidson Fine Art Gallery, and ARTpool Gallery, all in St. Petersburg.     


While Bruce’s first love is art created by hand, he takes interest in another artistic venture as well; acting. A member of the Screen Actors Guild, Bruce had a recurring role as an extra on the set of TV series Homicide, Life on the Streets.  In addition to film acting, Bruce has appeared in many plays.  Mostly performing in works by William Shakespeare, Bruce has participated in the 15-minute version of ‘Hamlet,’ ‘The Taming of the Shrew,’ ‘Henry V,’ and a production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ performed in front of the Washington Monument.     

Today, Bruce devotes his time to illustrating for publications in Florida, including the Island Reporter, where he has been a cartoonist for two years, the Ocean Front Magazine, and the South Beach Journal. In addition, he was recently the illustrator for a children’s book written by Canadian author Barbara Goldman. He works for the Marriott Hotel in Clearwater, Florida as a part-time caricaturist. Those who stop by during the Republican National Convention in nearby Tampa will be eligible for free caricatures.
​The VETERANS’ VISION is proud to have featured Bruce’s work for the past 5 publications and for this year’s 24th Anniversary Edition.