A God-send to every kid with a mildly sadistic urge to make drawing, like, a hundred times harder than it needs to be, the Etch A Sketch has been around for more than half a century, proudly complicating the shit out of tasks as normally simple as making a diagonal line. Which makes it all that much more impressive that Colorado artist Jeff Gagliardi basically made a whole career out of creating truly impressive reproductions of famous artworks on Etch A Sketches -- sadly, that career ended when Gagliardi broke both his wrists last year, but that doesn't mean he's just sitting around not doing anything, either. Tomorrow, he shifts his focus from quality to quantity when he'll gather as many people as possible for SketchAPalooza, an attempt to set a Guinness world record for "Largest Mass of People Ever Drawing on Etch A Sketches at the Same Time."
Gagliardi, who lives in Lyons, brainstormed the idea with the help of his neighbor toward the goal of raising money for the school system in his town -- and also, of course, for the distinction of breaking a record. "We're just following in the footsteps of those greats that have summited Mount Everest or been to the moon," he quips. "But seriously, it's just mostly meant to be fun".
Gagliardi's rendition of van Gogh's "Starry Night."
Courtesy of Jeff Gagliardi
But let's be honest: It's also about the greatness. To make it happen, Gagliardi needs at least 250 people to show up and be willing to draw the same thing on a full-size Etch A Sketch (pocket models don't count). And what shall that thing be? "Here in Lyons, the landmark is Steamboat Mountain, which is basically a rock outcropping, and we're all going to try to draw that -- hopefully, it won't be too challenging for people," he says.
Sounds like a challenge.
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To get in on the glory, simply register at the SketchAPalooza site, and then show up at Lyons' Sandstone Park between 9 and 10 a.m. tomorrow morning, preferably with your own full-size Etch A Sketch -- Gagliardi will have some to sell for $10 a pop, but supplies, he cautions, are limited. And as long as you're there, stick around for Lyons' Good Old Days celebration, with music, beer and lots of other stuff all day. Both events are free.