Had he lived, musician Marc Bolan would have celebrated his 60th birthday today. The UK artist who fronted T-Rex (originally known as Tyrannosaurus Rex in their pre glam days) scored a ton of hits including the brilliant "20th Century Boy" (see video above), collaborated with David Bowie (he played guitar with Bowie and also shared the same producer -- Tony Visconti), and was arguably responsible for glam rock (thanks to T-Rex's Visconti produced sound, coupled with his unique & smart fashion sensibility including an affinity for wearing boas & sporting glitter onstage -- long before any other artists did). Bolan tragically died in a car crash at age 29 on September 16th, 1977. He was just two weeks shy of his 30th birthday. Today in the UK several low-key events are planned by fans of the late great artist, and in New York a concert event has been scheduled to celebrate his 60th birthday anniversary and will be attended by Tony Visconti, Patti Smith, Robert Gordan, his son Rolan Bolan and others.But even before I realized that today would have marked Bolan's 60th birthday, he had been on my mind a bit this past week. Every time I hear Devendra Banhart's voice I can't help but think of Marc Bolan who he is more than a little reminiscent of. And in the past week on the radio I've been hearing a lot of Devendra Banhart because his recommended new album Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon (XL Recordings) dropped. Pick it up at Amoeba Music and while you are there pick up a T-Rex release if you don't already own one or more. Meantime, for more background reading on Marc Bolan check out this website or his fan club website, or do a YouTube search for such videos as "Jeepster" or "Get it On (Bang a Gong)."
George Vlosich III,
and one of my favorite
drawings by him.
This boggles my mind. The art of George Vlosich III is something astounding, something baffling; I don’t understand why he’s chosen this medium! The artist Paul Klee was once asked about how he draws. He said he simply takes a line for a walk. The line George Vlosich takes for a walk goes on one insanely long nutty jaunt. And when you consider that all it takes is a single inadvertent bump for his art to be toast …
Vlosich uses an Etch-A-Sketch, and yes, it’s the same exact rectangular, red plastic framed model toy many of us had as kids. Each Vlosich Etch-A-Sketch piece takes considerable pre-planning and will typically take between 40 to 60 hours of patience, focus and attention-to-detail to complete. Remember, to draw with an Etch-A-Sketch, there is one line and only one line all the time. There’s little room for error, you can’t erase a mistake.
Probably the best thing I ever drew on one of those things was some pathetically lopsided cat. Vlosich produces refined images and precise portraiture and has since he was a kid. He started drawing when he was about ten years old. By the age of 18 he was being commissioned by the Topps Trading Card Company to produce a series of Etch-A-Sketch drawings as special inserts for their 1998 Topps Baseball trading card collection. He continues working today, still using the Etch-A-Sketch and it’s 5 x 7 screen, but Vlosich has also expanded his art to include painting and illustration, and has set up a design company specializing in advertising and logo design, sports memorabilia and apparel. Plus, he has a line of greeting cards. So next year for Christmas … someone send me one. I’d be damned pleased!