Westlake Man Sketches Star Athletes

by Kirk Rattray

 George Vlosich with his latest  sketch featuring Lebron James.

The Bible promises us in Proverbs 22 that if you train a child up in the way he should go when he is old he will not depart from it. God's holy word also states in Proverbs 18 that a man's gift will make room for itself and bring him before great men.

1 Peter 5 states that if we humble ourselves before the Lord, He will lift us up. If you mixed these scriptures in a blender you would pour out the life of a local artist who is wowing the world with his artwork and glorifying God by exhibiting Christ-like character.

George Vlosich, twenty four, is using his artistic gifting to impact both the advertising world and the professional sports community. An art director by day, he is becoming famous for the drawings he creates using an Etch A Sketch, the Ohio Art toy that children have played with since 1960. (He still prefers the original red frame and white knob design.) What started out innocently, at age 10, during a family vacation has blossomed into an amazing opportunity to share the gospel with celebrities, athletes and others.

During his childhood, Vlosich's father would spend time with him in the mornings before work, when "He would get out the coloring books and color with me and teach me how to draw." His parents surrendered their lives to Christ when he was a toddler. They would take him along to their Bible studies, where he would color and draw. The faith his parents modeled shaped his life. Vlosich knows that "seeing their example…that's played a huge role on me, on everything I do." His parents' prayers for God to use their son were answered early in life - a watercolor portrait of Jesus that Vlosich painted at age four still hangs in their house today.

Through adolescence, Vlosich kept winning various art contests. On the road during a family vacation to Washington, D.C., he picked up an Etch A Sketch and drew the U.S. capital building. Fearing erasure, his family "pulled over to a gas station to take a picture of it." This aspiring artist excelled at this new medium, and kept submitting his creations to Ohio Art. "Finally, they sent someone out to the house to make sure I was actually doing it. From that point on, they started sending me Etch A Sketches." He continued drawing and sketching through high school, honing his talents. Since graduating from the Cleveland Institute of Art he now works as the art directing at Wyse Advertising. He attributes this position to the favor of God in his life. "I have their blessing if something really good comes up with Etch A Sketch to take advantage of it."

Over the last dozen years Vlosich has been featured in many magazines. Although he has been interviewed on programs such as 20/20, ABC World News Tonight and even Live with Regis and Kathy, he fondly recalls that "The very first one was the 700 Club." On Christmas Eve 1992, he presented Pat Robertson and Ben Kinchlow a portrait of themselves. Although Vlosich gives glory to God in all of his interviews, he is dismayed that this part of his story is either downplayed or neglected by worldly media. He quietly, but firmly, tells all interviewers that "It's definitely a God given talent and I have been blessed to be able to do this." He is awed that his creations touch others lives and admits the source of his success. "Every time I do an Etch A Sketch, I pray before, saying 'Lord bless my hands'. We'll even pray together as a family." When friends tell him how lucky he is to hobnob with celebrities, he is quick to correct them. "I always tell them 'No, I've been blessed. It's not luck'." As a Christian he realizes the opportunity to influence others for the Gospel. "With being in advertising, my dad's always said that you have a chance to influence people in a good way or a bad way. Every morning I pray 'Lord, let me be an example of you. Let people see Jesus in me'."

Even though his artwork hangs in places like Beck Center for The Arts, Akron Children's Hospital and ESPN Restaurant in Baltimore, the most striking aspect of this soft spoken artist is not his talent, but the Christ-like humility he displays (Matt. 11:29: Phil. 2:8) His father beams when the world sees Jesus in his son, when they comment "It's his character we admired." Vlosich's mother has said that "To me, that's more important than what he was doing on the Etch A Sketch." He even declined an opportunity to meet President Clinton because he did not want to let his high school basketball teammates down! (God granted him that opportunity several years later.) Typically, Vlosich downplays his gifting to reflect glory upward. "I thank Jesus every day for the talents he's blessed me with and that I can use my talents to glorify Him every day." He also thanks his family for helping him to stay humble, but shrugs at his success. "I know as easy as it comes it could be taken away."

Aside from his Etch A Sketch creations, Vlosich has also created the logo and uniform design for the Cleveland Force soccer team. He is currently designing the logo for the 2004 International Children's Games, which will be held here in Cleveland (the first time in the USA for this event.) He has a website, www.gvetchedintime.com that exhibits his works. Despite his accomplishment and burgeoning fame, this low key artist gently explains that he is merely waiting for the Lord to direct his steps. "God has plan for me with this, my artwork. I'm amazed with the stuff I have done with just a toy." He then sums up his life with the simple declaration "Truly God's hand is in it."

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