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Posted at 11:15 AM ET, 07/29/2008

Celeb-Centric Art: The Etch-A-Sketchist

By Liz Kelly

After news broke that Estelle Getty had passed away last week, the Etch-A-Sketchist got to work. (Image courtesy the Etch-A-Sketchist)

Since my taste tends to run to the kitschy, some of my favorite art is celebrity inspired. I would be the first to dismiss my tabloid taste as lowbrow, if it weren't for the fact that Andy Warhol, too, found beauty in the faces of the famous -- beauty and something more: social commentary in its most bald (and bold) faced form.

And so it is in the finest tradition of Warhol that we should view the work of the shadowy Etch-A-Sketchist, who has been rendering the faces of celebrities in aluminum powder since early 2007. Though, unlike Warhol's iconic works -- which now auction for millions, the Etch-A-Sketchist's works are fleeting -- each one disappearing back into the clouds of silvery dust inside the familiar red-framed toy, only to be reborn into another visage.

"I like the effect the Etch-a-Sketch has on pop culture imagery," says the artist, who prefers to remain anonymous. "It instantly makes important things seem childish and silly. And it reminds you that everything we think is a big deal today will be erased soon."

Last week I interviewed the Etch-A-Sketchist via e-mail:

Liz: Celebrities and Etch-a-Sketch. This is possibly the best combination since chocolate and peanut butter. How did you get started? Where did the inspiration come from?

Etch-A-Sketchist: I like the effect the Etch-a-Sketch has on pop culture imagery. It instantly makes important things seem childish and silly. And it reminds you that everything we think is a big deal today will be erased soon.

Liz: Who is the Etchasketchist? What do you do for your day job and where do you hope to take this?

Etch-A-Sketchist: I am a 27-year-old white male living in Los Angeles, CA. I am an office manager. I have no ambitions of becoming a full time Etch-a-Sketch artist. I hope one day to seamlessly pass on my name and my Web site to a young Etch-a-prentice. Like the [Dread] Pirate Roberts in "The Princess Bride."

More, after the jump...

Liz: How often do you sketch and what is it that makes the best drawings?

Etch-A-Sketchist: I used to do them everyday but now I've slowed to about two or three per week. I haven't really figured out what makes the best drawings. Still working on that.

Liz: What is the hardest part of doing these things?

Etch-A-Sketchist: The hardest part is finding good reference material on the Web. I use Google image search and usually I can find the image I'm looking for but it's like a tiny low-res shot. It's really frustrating.

Liz: Do you work in any other mediums?

Etch-A-Sketchist: I doodle on Post-It notes.

Liz: Have you sold any of these? Do you keep any or are they all sacrificed for the next work?

Etch-A-Sketchist: I have sold two and I did a commercial for ESPN with Gilbert Arenas. I've tried to sell custom pieces but nobody's buying. Right now I'm down to $10 a piece. Hit me up. Paypal link is on the blog. But I don't drill permanent sketches any more. It's a horrific, vampiric process and I just can't abide by it aesthetically. The Etch-a-Sketch is supposed to be erased. That's the whole point. If I wanted to do permanent pieces I'd hook up a pully system to a pen or something and that'd be really dumb.

Liz: Do you have a favorite piece?

Etch-A-Sketchist: I really like "Don't Tase Me Bro" and "Jackson Pollock."

Liz: Do you take requests?

Etch-A-Sketchist: Only really good ones. If I can't think of anything better to sketch.

Alrighty, then.

By Liz Kelly  | July 29, 2008; 11:15 AM ET
Categories:  Extreme Fans, Miscellaneous, Pop Culture  
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Comments

To me, that's staggering talent. Awesome.

Posted by: 23112 | July 29, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

"I really like 'Don't Tase Me Bro' and 'Jackson Pollack.'"

If only he could spell Jackson Pollock...otherwise, brilliant. I love it.

Posted by: musicgeek | July 29, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

"I really like 'Don't Tase Me Bro' and 'Jackson Pollack.'"

If only he could spell Jackson Pollock...otherwise, brilliant. I love it.

Posted by: musicgeek | July 29, 2008 12:16 PM

He spells it correctly at his site. The misspelling here must be on someone else.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 29, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

if he has kids, i'll be he's an awesome dad -- anybody with that much patience would have to be, i think...

Posted by: b | July 29, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Actually, that was pulled directly from our e-mail exchange. But I should've edited more carefully before posting. Now fixed.

Posted by: Liz Kelly | July 29, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

"I've tried to sell custom pieces but nobody's buying."

Free Advice: Stop asking potential customers if they want their Etch-A-Sketchist art shipped by Priority Post or UPS.

Posted by: byoolin once Etch-A-Sketched Kelsey Grammer's EKG chart. | July 29, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

b

'if he has kids, i'll be he's an awesome dad -- anybody with that much patience would have to be, i think..."

He's also probably pretty good in the sack...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 29, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Wow.

Mad, mad, MAD skills.

Wonder if he's a Buddhist. Etch-a-mandala?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 29, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"He's also probably pretty good in the sack..." - Posted by: | July 29, 2008 2:06 PM

*****

You think so? I'd have guessed he has a nipple fixation.

Posted by: byoolin listens to Mexican Radio. | July 29, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

not very creative, the concept of etch a sketch art was in the book 'she's come undone' by wally lamb

Posted by: reader | July 29, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"not very creative, the concept of etch a sketch art was in the book 'she's come undone' by wally lamb"

Yeah... and? I could read about the idea, pull out my old etch-a-sketch and draw... maybe some stairs. But one is destined to be sloped funny.

Unless you honestly feel that you should receive attention for your etch-a-sketch art but don't (and it's as impressive as this), stop being petty.

Posted by: Kim | July 29, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Hm. I don't remember seeing any of Wally Lamb's - or his characters' - Etch-A-Sketch artworks.

Posted by: byoolin | July 29, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I mean, "What Kim said."

Posted by: byoolin got here late. | July 29, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

"He's also probably pretty good in the sack..." - Posted by: | July 29, 2008 2:06 PM

*****

You think so? I'd have guessed he has a nipple fixation.


Posted by: byoolin listens to Mexican Radio. | July 29, 2008 2:08 PM

hahahaha

Posted by: Sully is very happy to be back | July 29, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Damn, you found me out.

I am Wally Lamb.

And I love nipples!

Posted by: Etchasketchist | July 29, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

George Vlosich III - Vintage Etch a Sketch Toy on a New Level - Much better - check out the blog: www.nova-antiques.blogspot.com

Posted by: Antiques Papa | July 29, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Instead of pimping his own blog, Antiques Papa should just have pointed us to George Vlosich's own website, which has a gallery of pretty cool pictures: http://www.gvetchedintime.com/#

Posted by: byoolin | July 30, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Let's face it! Anyone who can do this has incredible artistic talent! He could excel in many creative pursuits.

Posted by: Miranda | July 30, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Simply pointing you to his website would not have told you how impressed I am about his art. The only thing I was pimping was my opinion just like you use this forum to pimp yours.

Posted by: Antiques Papa | July 30, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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