BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Artists have to etch out a living — especially, actually necessarily, if you’re an Etch A Sketch artist.
Mark Paich, a printmaker and artist, including in the medium of Etch A Sketch, has been selling his work in Washington Square Park for the last month.
Etch A Sketch images are created by turning two wheels to move a stylus to scrape horizontal, vertical and even — if you have some Sketch skills and know what you’re doing — diagonal lines through a layer of gray aluminum powder.
The piece Paich is holding in the photo above, “Somniferum Duality 1,” took him 60 hours to make. It’s permanent, meaning even if you turn it upside down and shake it — the normal way to wipe an Etch A Sketch clean — the image will remain. That’s because the excess aluminum inside has been removed.
When you buy an Etch A Sketch artwork, you buy the entire Etch A Sketch — red plastic frame, white knobs and all. As for the prices for Paich’s pieces, let’s just say they’re a bit more than for a black-light poster.
Paich noted that he is not the only artist out there who creates with the iconic 1960s-era toy. There’s a small community of them, including notably Princess Etch, a fine artist who has been Etch A Sketching since age 4 and is a virtuoso at the quirky craft.
Paich, who lives in Yonkers, has really been enjoying vending his art in the Village park. He can do so since he is selling “expressive-content matter,” which is protected as free expression under the First Amendment.
“Having a great time showing my work in the open air,” he posted on his Instagram page. “I’ve been an indoor, commission-based illustrator for years now and forgot about the magic of connecting with people. It’s an absolute honor and privilege to have someone, at chance, want to adorn their home with your work. And bringing art to people that may not ever go in to the confines of an ‘art space’ to see it is a unique and humbling experience.”
For more about Paich’s art, visit his Web site, markpaich.com.