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Freeman Cebu Sports

Etched in greatness

SPORTS COLLECTIBLES - SPORTS COLLECTIBLES By Bobby Motus -
Some of us might be familiar with that childhood toy, Etch A Sketch. To the uninitiated, an Etch A Sketch is a 5 in. by 7 in. gray sketching screen bounded by a red plastic frame. Turning the two white knobs at the bottom of the frame, the aluminum powder inside the device allows for varieties of thin lines and shapes to be sketched on the screen.

For the novice artist, simply drawing a circle on an Etch A Sketch would be difficult and consumes some time. Enter George Vlosich III. This 26 year old native of Cleveland has mastered the toy that he has incredibly created detailed portraits of sporting icons. Legendary college hoops coach John Gooden of UCLA, was greatly impressed with the work that he invited Vlosich and his family to his home. Baseball great Cal Ripken, Jr. has an enlarged version of Vlosich's sketch which is permanently displayed at Baltimore's ESPN Zone Restaurant.

Vlosich spends 60 to 70 hours on each Etch A Sketch and finishes only 10 or 12 of these masterpieces a year. When a portrait is completed, he drains the aluminum powder from the back of the device to keep the work from being erased accidentally. Collectors pay him as much as $10,000 for an original Etch A Sketch creation. He works as a full-time graphic artist and does his creation on his spare time.

Vlosich had the talent since he was two years old which was encouraged by his dad, George II. He was 10 years old when he made his first notable drawing of the US Capitol while vacationing with his family in Washington, DC.

His first portrait of sports stars were almost unrecognizable but he eventually developed and refined his style. Since not every Etch A Sketch are made alike, Vlosich has to try 3 or 4 devices before he finds one where the lines are nice and crisp and gives him lots of details. As a result for his quest for details, the Topps Card Company commissioned him in 1998 to make portraits on Etch A Sketch of baseball stars for a 10-card series.

By turning his basketball heroes into Etch A Sketch creations, Vlosich has met Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd, Allen Iverson, David Robinson and Chris Webber. In 1996, he made a portrait of MJ, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman on Etch A Sketch and all three of them autographed the artwork. Vlosich was so awestruck with MJ that he couldn't even shake his hands.

Most of the time, these NBA stars expect Vlosich to give them his creations but he doesn't. Since they can't be reproduced, he gives them a print of their likeness on the Etch A Sketch as a gesture of thanks for putting their autograph on the original work. And for the stars to make their autograph, he asks them to sign on an acetate sheet which he then attaches to the screen without defacing the surface.

His ultimate goal would be for his creations to hang in art galleries. It would be easy to print hundreds of these works and sell them but he would rather keep the originals as it is, without duplicates, making the artwork a rare collectible. We all know that there is only one Michael Jordan and collectors also know that there's only one autographed Michael Jordan Etch A Sketch done by George Vlosich. Very rare indeed.

Germaine Canilao ([email protected]), I hope my feedbacks to your email did its intended purpose. Make good, bro, and good luck! E-mail at [email protected]

ALLEN IVERSON

CAL RIPKEN

DAVID ROBINSON AND CHRIS WEBBER

ENTER GEORGE VLOSICH

ETCH

ETCH A SKETCH

GEORGE VLOSICH

GERMAINE CANILAO

MICHAEL JORDAN

SKETCH

VLOSICH

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