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Michael McNevin
November 7, 2002 10:10 AM   Subscribe

Michael McNevin creates the most incredibly detailed pictures using an Etch-A-Sketch. Call me a cynic if you like, but I can't help wondering if it's a fake ... (via b3ta)
posted by ralawrence (21 comments total)

 
This guy is pretty amazing as well.
posted by machaus at 10:19 AM on November 7, 2002


I haven't felt this humbled and inadequate since that 'one time' with Lana! Amazing links, thanks.

I would be curious to know how much time is put into each piece. I remember my own feeble attempts at art on an etch a sketch, and it seemed to me that it was very slow going.
posted by canucklehead at 10:26 AM on November 7, 2002


Mr. Etch-a-Sketch is pretty good too. I wish I could find some more web art to link to.

I remember seeing the Mona Lisa picture a while back in a magazine (don't know if it's his). I tried for a week to draw a circle on my etch-a-sketch, and gave up in frustration.
posted by jazon at 10:36 AM on November 7, 2002


Yeah, I doubt it is fake, I have seen some of these things up close in real life and they totally humble my "Mountain Range" and "Stock Market" Etch-A-Sketch creations.
posted by Fabulon7 at 10:39 AM on November 7, 2002


Hmm. Look at the bridge in this picture. The vertical wires don't appear to be connected at either end, which is impossible on an etch-a-sketch, I think...
posted by Mwongozi at 11:14 AM on November 7, 2002


not to derail the wonderment of his Etch-A-Sketches, but check out the *rest* of the site too, this guy sounds pretty cool. he's like a wandering troubador DIY folkie type. there's a column of road stories called "Napkin Literature," i clicked on this one randomly and was totally absorbed by his tale of a "stolen" truck. thanks ralawrence!
posted by serafinapekkala at 11:18 AM on November 7, 2002


The etch-a-sketch drawings are actually pretty easy to do. You make your drawing in pen on a transparency first, then lay it over the etch-a-sketch and basically trace it.

The vertical wires don't appear to be connected at either end, which is impossible on an etch-a-sketch, I think...

While that's true as a general matter, in some models when you make a right angled turn in your line, the "joint" will disappear, leaving a blank spot. That could account for the break at the top and bottom of those wires.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:30 AM on November 7, 2002


I smashed my foot through my etch-a-sketch when I was eight, because I couldn't draw the 45° angle on number 4.

I still have the scar.
posted by mook at 12:33 PM on November 7, 2002


mook: That is the funniest thing I have read all day! Sorry about the scar...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:37 PM on November 7, 2002


Oh, my God...

There needs to be a word or phrase for taking something ordinary (even stupid) and doing something extraordinary or remarkable with it. Like the huge pumpkin cannon (too lazy to find the link), or this guy, or this guy. Maybe there is and I'm just missing it.
posted by squidman at 12:40 PM on November 7, 2002


etch-a-sketch knob turning skills aside - he doesn't seem to be that good of an artist . . .
posted by cinderful at 4:03 PM on November 7, 2002


There needs to be a word or phrase for taking something ordinary (even stupid) and doing something extraordinary or remarkable with it.

I have proposed:

Stuplime (stü-'plIm): Something so resoundingly stupid as to be sublime.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 4:06 PM on November 7, 2002


And here's another needed bit of niche vocab: art which is notable solely for the unfriendliness of the medium. Like cinderful suggests, none of these are bold (dare I say it: crucial) or suprising pieces of art, but I am compelled to admire the effort required to produce them.

I'm having trouble thinking of good examples. Consider, perhaps, some graphical montage made from a 2D array of thousands or tens of thousands of screenshots from Quake, taken in sequential order, which forms some coherent image when seen from a distance.

Or building a fullsize recreation of Michaelangelo's David outta legos.

Help?
posted by cortex at 4:37 PM on November 7, 2002


Question for the experts: could you 'sketch' on an Etch-a-Sketch with some kind of magnetic crayon (like a magnetized roofing nail)?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:19 PM on November 7, 2002


The vertical wires don't appear to be connected at either end, which is impossible on an etch-a-sketch, I think...

I was taught by an etch-a-sketch nutcase years ago (who was not as good as these people) that if you retrace a point several times, it has the effect of erasing it. That new bit of incredible tedium on top of the other incredible tedium put me off of e-a-s art for good, I'm afraid.

As I recall, there is some kind of fixitive you can spray in the back to lock the picture once it's done.
posted by umberto at 5:46 PM on November 7, 2002


cortex: ASCII art. Sculpted hedges. Ships in bottles, perhaps. There's also things like NaNoWriMo and 24-hour comics where time is the unfriendly factor.
posted by furiousthought at 7:40 PM on November 7, 2002


could you 'sketch' on an Etch-a-Sketch with some kind of magnetic crayon (like a magnetized roofing nail)?

No. Aluminum powder and plastic beads aren't magnetic.
posted by kindall at 9:12 PM on November 7, 2002


furiousthought: good calls. And believe me, I know all about the unfriendly nature of time when it comes to that lustrous she-bitch NaNoWriMo.
posted by cortex at 10:28 PM on November 7, 2002


furiousthought: good calls. And believe me, I know all about the unfriendly nature of time when it comes to that lustrous she-bitch NaNoWriMo. posted by cortex

I'm giving it a shot too. I think there are a few of the Mefi's taking part in NaNoWriMo this year.
posted by dejah420 at 1:09 AM on November 8, 2002


I too am fascinated by artists who specifically choose an unfriendly medium, or set up a difficult restriction to work around. Necessity is the mother of invention. Restrictions breed creativity.

Make me thing about these novelists who've written entire novels while avoiding the use of the letter "E":

Ernest Vincent Wright -- Gadsby, 1939
Georges Perec -- La Disparition, excerpt,, 1969
Gilbert Adair -- The Void, a translation of the above, which also avoids the letter "E", 1997

Also the avante-garde filmmakers who insist on using the no-budget Fisher Price toy videocam (which records on audio-cassette!) the PXL-2000.
posted by Fofer at 6:21 AM on November 8, 2002


oops, thing=think
posted by Fofer at 6:22 AM on November 8, 2002


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