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!
I love when artists or activists, or a combination of both, take creative strides to transform common everyday urban areas into something unexpected, something new and useful or entertaining, such as this time last year when fifteen related organizations across San Francisco, including REBAR, transformed parking spaces all over the city into mini-parks for one day (Sept 21, 2006) named "PARK(ing) DAY."
You may remember seeing this series of public space installations around San Francisco last year either in person or in the news. Either way, take a few minutes to check the video above for a first hand look at this citywide form of peaceful protest that delighted surprised San Franciscans. Important to note was that this powerful civic statement was done without breaking any laws. Apparently once you pay for your parking space in SF County you can do with it as you please. You gotta love it!
AMOEBLOG: I know you have your new solo album, Wanderlust, which is just out and available at Amoeba, but can you tell me how long you have been in the hip-hop game and can you break down your overall hip-hop history for those who don't know about you?
CELSIUS: I have been freestyling since '89. Around that time, and before we had real production, we used to make tape splice beats and rap over them on a Karaoke machine. I would hand out some of those tapes. Made my first real tape/Psychokinetics song in 1995 ("Losta Glue" Strength in Numbers). Since then, two tapes, three vinyl releases, various compilations, two Psychokinetics CDs, and now my first solo CD. I grew up in Alameda and have lived all over the Bay since. East Lake in Oakland is my home now.
AMOEBLOG: How much, in your eyes, has hip-hop changed? And how exactly has it changed-- especially from your perspective as a Bay Area artist?
CELSIUS: I guess the biggest thing I notice is that it's become a business, and more of a pop sensation now -- a money maker rather than a pervasive voice of the streets. The heart and soul that was so evident when I fell in love with the music is now very much subversive. Also, now, with the advent of the internet and home studios, it's changed because everyone is an eff'in rapper! It used to be an accomplishment to have a CD. Now everyone does and they all think they're dope. I guess it's just way more saturated now. Also, dudes can never have done a live show and have tons of fans because of the internet. I think that in a lot of ways, the quality has gone down, even though there is still greatness out there. You just have to look harder these days.