George Vlosich III: Etch A Sketch Master

For many an adult, the Etch A Sketch is probably one of their most memorable childhood toys.  Would you believe that this now ubiquitous toy was ignored in its early days?  It was developed by Frenchman André Cassagnes in the 1950s and was initially ignored by the Ohio Art Company when it was displayed at the Internationl Toy Fair in Nuremberg, Germany.  Back then, the toy went by the French name L’Ecran Magique. After their second encounter with the toy, the Ohio Art Company decided to take it on – as a risk.  The rest is history.  Today, practically everyone knows about Etch A Sketch.

Understandably, most people see the device as a mere toy for children.  There are those, however, who see potential in the most inane things.  George Vlosich III is one of them.  He took the Etch A Sketch to new heights by using it as the main medium for his works of art.

If you find it hard to imagine how one can create “acceptable” pieces of art using an Etch A Sketch, take a look at some samples from GV’s gallery. I’m not a LeBron James fan, but this is pretty impressive.

No one can deny the talent of the late King of Pop, just as no one can deny the talent behind this drawing.

I also like this drawing of the Highwaymen.  (Yeah, one of my guilty pleasures.)

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Longing for a piece of the Big Apple to keep as a souvenir?  GV’s drawing is a good idea.

Now that you’ve seen what one can do with the Etch A Sketch, can anyone tell me just how this thing works?  But, just in case you don’t feel like looking it up, here’s the basic idea behind the toy.

The glass screen has a coating of aluminum powder in its underside.  When one moves the stylus – which is controlled by the two knobs – the aluminum powder is scraped off.  The effect is a dark line showing against the lighter gray background.  If one gets frustrated with the picture and wants to erase everything, one simply has to shake the device to coat the whole screen with the aluminum powder again, leaving a clear gray slate.

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