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above composite by laura sweet
above: Mitt Romney Etch Art by George Vlosich
Yes, Etch A Sketch has recently been all over the news as a result of what some are calling a political 'scandal' or a 'gaffe' when an aide for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney compared it with Romney's fall election strategy (see video below).
Smartly, Etch A Sketch has turned this to their advantage with a new ad campaign by Team Detroit, two of whose new ads are shown below.
Sales for the 104 year old toy have increased by 1500% in the last week and on Thursday afternoon, the Ohio Arts Company also started ShakeItUpAmerica.net, a site with links for both voter registration and Etch A Sketch retailers.
Coincidentally, I had begun a blog post on the most talented Etch-A-Sketch artists just prior to this recent incident. So, given all the buzz about the toy and the recent increase in sales, now is a good time to inspire you all with the following.
There are several artists who actually create permanent artwork on the classic Ohio Art Company's Etch-A-Sketch (and more are listed at the end of this post), but George Vlosich III is one of the most talented and prolific of the bunch. An artist who works in many mediums, he is best known for his ability to create fantastic and awe inspiring portraits on that old beloved toy with the red plastic frame.
He's transformed the classic Ohio Art brand Etch-A-Sketch from a child's toy into a collection of pop art that been featured in museums and galleries across the country and the originals sell for thousands of dollars. Each is an original work of art that takes 70-80 hours to create.
He has rendered montages of politicians, celebrities, musicians, athletes, movie casts, cities and countries in the familiar red framed toy.
Barack Obama and Lincoln Memorial:
The Royal Wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton:
Cal Ripken Jr.:
James Lebron, MVP:
Gone With The Wind:
The cast of Gangs of New York:
He has been featured on shows such as Oprah, The Late Show with David Letterman and ABC – 20/20 to name a few. He created a Paul McCartney piece (shown below) specifically for Art Basel 2011 which was displayed with the Verne Gallery: The Paul McCartney piece for Art Basel Miami in progress:
How does he do it?
George carefully plans out the image by sketching in a notebook before starting any work on the Etch. He designs as much as he can that will fit on the 5 x 7 inch screen.
He works meticulously with the line and if he makes a mistake, he has to start over. he begins by getting all the line work of the portraits in first.
Once he gets all the line work in and is confident it looks like his intended subject, he begins to shade. He claims that is the easy part, but also the most time consuming and tedious. What looks like one line may be traced over between ten to fifteen times. To actually do the shading from light to dark may require a line being traced over 20 to 30 times.
Once the work is complete, he has to make sure that it can never be erased. Aluminum powder is inside the Etch-A-Sketch and sticks to the glass when you shake it. A stylus inside scratches off the powder, thus creating the image. George must carefully remove both the powder and stylus so that the image on the screen becomes permanent.
Once the Etch is complete, George photographs each final artwork for his website, and his own personal collection.
Chances are, most of my readers can't afford originals or commissioned pieces, but you can purchase limited edition numbered and signs prints and giclées of many of George's Etch-A-Sketch portraits. Original commissioned Etch-a-Sketch artwork by George Vlosich III start at $3,000. These are detailed one-of-a-kind gallery pieces that have taken him 20 years to perfect. The final Etch-A-Sketch creation is made permanent, signed, framed, and shipped to you. Below is a video of George creating his Obama Etch a Sketch as part of the Black History celebration:
For the first time, through the studio of GV Art + Design they are now offering quicker, simple personalized Etch-A-Sketches created from a photograph. The price for a simple one portrait Etch A Sketch is $725.00. Additional portraits can be added for an additional cost. For your purchase, you will receive a permanent Etch-A-Sketch of your portrait shipped and delivered to you.
*Please Note: These are personal pictures ONLY: no athletes, celebrities or iconic images will be created. The artwork created on these Etch A Sketches are done by the GV Art + Design studio and not done by George Vlosich III.
Buy prints and giclees of George's Etch-A-Sketch art here. George also creates sports illustrations for posters, t-shirts and more. See all of his work at his website.
Other Etch-A-Sketch Artists
Yes, I am aware that there are several other talented Etch-A-Sketch artists out there. Below are just a few, many of whom will create commissioned portraits or sell prints of their work.
Kevin E. Davis:
And Christoph Brown who etches on the pocket sized version of the Etch-A-Sketch:
Other Etch-A-Sketch artists worth mentioning and whose work you can see in the Ohio Art Hall Of Fame: Eric Rowlett Tim George Andrea Malenich Shea Baker Stacy King And for those who love the nostalgia of the Etch-A Sketch, be sure to check out the awesome Official Etch-a-sketch iPad case!
images for this post are courtesy of the individual artist and the Ohio Art Company