Talk about some mad Etch A Sketch skills! One of the most iconic paintings of all time, Georges Seurat’s 1884 painting, “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte,” was just recreated by artist Jane Labowitch not with a pen or pencil but with an Etch A Sketch. Sitting in front of the actual painting at The Art Institute of Chicago, it took the artist eight hours spread over four days to make the beautiful waterfront scene.
She told the Chicagoist that this isn’t the first time she’s used Etch A Sketch for art. “I’ve been pretty consistently using an Etch A Sketch as an artistic medium since I first started playing with the toy when I was four,” she said.
The artist holds a BFA in Illustration from Chicago’s American Academy of Art and works as a professional illustrator. She initially planned to recreate the painting using a digital image but then heard that the painting would be temporarily moved to a wall facing a well-placed bench. This led her to deciding to Etch A Sketch in person. Passersby noticed. “I met people from all over the world who had stories to share about how they had an Etch A Sketch when they were a kid, too.”
What’s next? Labowitch plans on recreating another Art Institute treasure, Marc Chagall’s “America Windows.” Can’t wait to see more.
If you’d like to learn more about Georges Seurat’s famous painting, Mental Floss has an interesting article that lists 15 things you may not know about it.
Update: We got in touch with the artist to ask her a few questions.
How has the response been to your Seurat Etch A Sketch?
The response to my Seurat Etch A Sketch has been explosive! It’s blown me away. So far I have been interviewed for CBS Chicago radio and a few online news articles. I was in the RedEye today. Tomorrow I am going to be on NPR and I will be on Fox 32 news on Sunday morning! On Monday I am going to be on WGN radio. It’s been a whirlwind media circuit and I am so so grateful that my art is being so well-received!
What’s the secret to creating such detailed Etch A Sketches?
The secret to creating such detailed Etch A Sketch art is patience! It is important to take your time to make sure that you don’t misjudge proportions. I spent arguably as much time staring at the painting as I did rendering it on my Etch A Sketch, to make sure that I wasn’t missing any important details.
What’s the biggest challenge in creating these?
The biggest challenge is making sure that everything stays proportional, meaning that nothing is too big or far apart from other things in relation to it. This is difficult to do, because there is no way to map out or sketch the final drawing before you begin. The fact that everything is all connected with one line adds an interesting challenge, too, because you have to come up with creative ways to make everything connect without it being distracting.
Do you have any plans to create Van Gogh’s Starry Night?
I actually have made Van Gogh’s Starry Night, on a pocket (small) Etch A Sketch! Here’s a link to it. I gave it to my mom for Christmas in 2014, as it is one of her favorite paintings, and I have never given her an original Etch A Sketch rendition of mine before. I would love to re-visit Starry Night on the classic (large) Etch A Sketch, though! It’s one of my all-time favorite paintings.