On June 25th, 2011
Jeff Led a Group of 372
Setting an Official
With over 35 years experience in Etch-A-Sketch Art, Jeff Gagliardi is one of the original, and one of the best known Etch-A-Sketch artists. But believe it or not, Jeff never had an Etch-A-Sketch when he was a kid. The first time he seriously tried to draw anything on an Etch-A-Sketch was when he was a college student (at the School of Visual Arts in New York) and was playing with an Etch-A-Sketch that belonged to his nephew.
“I did a drawing of the Taj Mahal complete with reflecting pools. Quite frankly, I didn’t think it was a big deal, but my family wouldn’t let me erase it. From that point forward people would walk past the serious work I was doing as a painter and want to see the Etch-A-Sketches.”
That was all in the early 1970’s. Since then he has enjoyed fame and success as an Etch-A-Sketch artist and he’s created countless sketches.
End of a Career Not long ago Jeff broke both wrists in an accident and his Etch-A-Sketching career has now come to an end. After 5 surgeries his dexterity just isn’t what it was. He still does personal appearances and will continue to produce prints of his work, but his days of creating ambitious new Etch-A-Sketches creations are over.
As for his work, Jeff calls Etch-A-Sketch Art “a quintessential American art form, where the medium truly is the message. I love creating works that you wouldn’t expect to see — like a reproduction of a Renaissance master’s work, or the corner of a five dollar bill. It’s a totally familiar subject, but it now has an element of disbelief. I like to push the limits of the Etch-A-Sketch, creating many works that hang vertically (you have to draw it sideways) or have lines that seem not to connect.”
Jeff’s Etch-A-Sketch Art has been displayed at the Denver Art Museum and the Berkshire Museum in Massachusetts, as well as galleries around the country. He’s been a guest on several ABC and NBC news shows (watch some recent interviews here) including Good Morning America, and his Etch-A-Sketch work has appeared in many publications including People Magazine, The USA Today, Omni Magazine and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.
Jeff lives with his wife Nanci near Boulder, Colorado.