A creative mind: Bemidji teenager makes unique art
BEMIDJI — In Jennifer Dodge’s kitchen, 16-year-old son Elvis is hunched over a piece of paper, pen tightly gripped in his fist. He is drawing one of his creations, Flopsy the Bunny.
It takes what seems like less than a couple of minutes to finish.
The speed at which he works is quite impressive. Flopsy’s a character he has been working on since late 2010, early 2011 according to Elvis.
Elvis is a ball of energy, as soon as he finishes, he darts out of the room, and comes back again moments later. “His mind moves faster than the rests of us,” Jennifer said. “That’s partly due to the autism.”
If you ask Elvis at what age he started drawing, he responds almost as soon as the question is asked.
“When I was 2 or 3,” Elvis said.
“And he hasn’t stopped since,” Jennifer said.
Drawing has not been his only creative medium. When he was younger, Elvis made homemade horror movies.
“They were really cool,” Jennifer said. “He made one that was ‘Freddy vs. Leatherface’ and he played both roles.”
His art is unique. Growing up, Elvis was inspired by cartoons he saw, such as “Ed, Edd n Eddy” and the movie “A Nightmare Before Christmas.” And those influences can be seen in his art, which have horror movie themes mixed with the surreal animation from cartoons. But he has his own voice in his art.
“When I was little, I didn’t like the live-action shows on Nickelodeon, because I was use to the cartoons. But that’s why I liked the Cartoon Network more when I was little… but my mom would get mad at me because we would watch Cartoon Network too much, not enough Nickelodeon,” Elvis said.
“Remember when mommy had to block it? Oh my gosh, you thought the world had ended,” Jennifer replied with a laugh.
It was the Cartoon Network show “Ed, Edd n Eddy” that really caught his imagination.
“When I was a little kid, I wondered what it would be like to be like ‘Ed, Edd n Eddy.’ Because I wanted to be with ‘Ed, Edd n Eddy,’ I wanted to live with them,” Elvis said. “To know what it’s like to be...I wanted to live in a world with no adults. That’s what I liked about ‘Ed, Edd n Eddy,’ there were no adults in the show just kids.”
His output of art is large; Jennifer said he’s gone through countless reams of paper. She holds on to his work, which she scans into the computer and posts on his Facebook fan page. Through social media, his work has been seen by people from all over.
He even designed a tattoo that Jennifer sports on her arm. It is a drawing of the Mad Hatter, but with Elvis’ take on the “Alice in Wonderland” character.
His own comic book It is in Flopsy the Bunny that Elvis seems most proud. He has made a homemade comic book of the character, and hopes to have an animated version of Flopsy by summer; he’s already working on creating more characters.
“‘Flopsy the Bunny’ was inspired by a cartoon I use to watch called ‘Courage the Cowardly Dog’ and it’s one of my favorites,” Elvis said. “On my 17th birthday, I’m having a cake based on ‘Courage the Cowardly Dog.’”
Through the website www.cafepress.com/dodgeboys Elvis’ artwork is for sale, emblazoned on drink cozies, Christmas stockings and many other products. His Facebook page, www.facebook.com/elvisdodgeart has countless photos of his work, and Jennifer said it’s difficult to keep up with his art output because there is a lot of it.