Sunday, August 7, 2016

Etch A Utlley - All Art-Eyes On Todd Uttley

You will probably recognize Todd "Tenders" Uttley when you see a picture of him. He is not only one of my personal inspirations but a great friend and awesome artist. Todd has been a scene stalwart for years involved in bands (Duggout, Subsets, Virginia Creepers) watching bands, turning records, producing stunning visual arts and slinging burritos at Habaneros are just a few places you may have seen him or perhaps will see him... So when he started posting his Etch A Sketch-ing's on Facebook, I decided to take my 'you see great art, say something' belief to a level greater than just a mere "Like" on Facebook...

Questions by Shawn Abnoxious (in BOLD) Answers by Todd Uttley.


Todd... On a personal level, I know you are a creative and verily talented artist so I know this Etch A Sketch thang isn't something that comes out of nowhere... But it sorta seemed to come outta nowhere concerning you... One day--BAM! All of a sudden you do these awesome etchings! Can you explain your drive and ambition behind this 'new thing'? Is it even a 'new thing'?

My wife, Sarah, had gotten some Etcha-Sketchas for the kids she was teaching art to and that's how it found it's way back into my world. I just picked it up and started to see if I could doodle with it like I did when I was a kid. I tried to push myself into seeing how far I can take it. It dawned on me that the Etcha-Sketch is perfect for these days we live in-disposable. Attention spans that lasts for nano seconds and then we move on. As soon as a piece is done on the Etcha Sketch, it's time to wipe it clean and start over. A digital picture is all that's left. Something that took a few hours is now a memory. I'm sure I could go deeper into this thought, but that's the core of it. From dust to dust.

Your etches really struck me as vibrant expressions of the moment... As a young'un, did you do such involved pictures as you do now?

ya, I guess so- I was really into trucks when I was little. Drawing all kinds of trucks and vans that were fitted with crazy exhaust pipes and big tires and so on. When I got close to turning into my tweens I became obsessed with skulls. I would try and get as detailed as I could with the layout of a skull. Hundreds of thousands of skull drawings!

I have intentions to touch on the subject of 'Van Culture' but for a moment Id like to stepping back a bit... You mention the temporary nature of Etch A Sketching's... They are definitely 'made for the moment'. Where do you want to go with it? Whats your goals? 

I think at this point I want to do a show. I'm working out the details on how I want it to look, but expect a show in the future here. 

How have you chosen your subject matter for your etchings?  

It just comes out with the tinkering of the knobs, really. No planning yet. Planning on the pieces will come with the pieces I do for the show. Subject matter is weird because I feel my best stuff comes from just turning the knobs without an idea of what is going to come out. Working it out as it goes along. I guess I have plans of trying subject matter that would interest me, but right now it's all about going with the flow.

A show! Awesome! How many Etch A Sketch units do you currently have?

We have one- it would probably be blown up prints. Trying to figure out how I'm going to make big Etch A Sketch frames to complete the look.

In your own opinion... How important is 'the flow' and 'spontaneity' to art in general, not just the Etch A Sketch variety?

Very important to me- if something is forced I don't have fun doing it and I feel it doesn't come from where the "magic" is the makes good art or music--it [Etch A Sketch] doesn't come from where the "magic" is that makes good art or music.

Who is next?
Not sure what or who's next to sketch-it's a surprise for us all!

I've seen you post several etchings on Facebook so far... Thwart readers will see the Blog header you did for Thwart... Is there a link that people could go to check your work-to-date?

Not yet but as soon I have more pieces I will be making a viewing home for them.

Any possibility of combining the Etch A Sketch Show and your interest in 'Van Culture'? 

Naw- Etch A Sketch is it's own thing and my van passion is another.

I would now like you to talk about your van (name and all) and introduce Thwart Readers to what 'Vanning' is all about.

My van at the moment is named "Tin LIzzy" . It's my escape from normal day crap. When you ride in Tin LIzzy, the world becomes a video for the soundtrack blaring inside the van. Seriously, I don't know how to describe a passion to someone other than it's like the same thing you would have about music equipment or records or anything that someone really gets into. I don't live by the river in my van (yet) but I can understand why someone would want to. Vans are just like having your favorite room always be with you- got your tunes on your hi-fi, got your shag carpet for feet comfort, a few places to put your drink of choice, some nice comfortable recliners and couch that turns into a bed. All that and some flare on the outside that people turn and give you the thumbs up to-what's not to love about a van!


Stay aware on Thwart...! for announcements of Todd's future showings of his Etch-A-Sketch work and 10 bonus points if you catch Todd cruising Tin LIzzy in your neighborhood!


Learn more about Etch A Sketch:

Give Thin Lizzy's Jailbreak a listen: