by Doug Brown
Check out this amazing video of 97-year-old Rocky River resident and World War II veteran Hal Lasko, known to everybody as "Grandpa," and try not to choke up. After his eyesight deteriorated, the former graphic designer started using Microsoft Paint because he can zoom in close enough to see his work.
Directed by Josh Bogdan and Ryan Lasko, the eight and half minute video called "The Pixel Painter" shows how Grandpa "spends ten hours a day moving pixels around his computer paintings" to create "a blend of pointillism and 8-Bit art.
According to Lasko's website:
Grandpa was born July 28, 1915 in Toledo Ohio - he was one of eight children of Austrian immigrants. As he was starting his career as a graphic designer, he left civilian life to serve in WWII drafting directional and weather maps for bombing raids.
During life after his service he was a graphic designer in Cleveland, OH. Working on projects for companies like General Tire, Goodyear and The Cleveland Browns, he eventually retired from American Greetings in the 1970's. While Grandpa worked in a creative field - he wasn't able to fully express his artistic desires on the job - staying up late to paint at home and amassing his own collection of work. His earlier work ranges from colorful drip paintings to abstract design.
He says it wasn't until he retired that he was able to dedicate the time he craved to his art. In the late 90's Hal's family showed him Microsoft Paint - y'know, the one with the "spray paint"? Grandpa was hooked. His work blossomed and he painted on the computer all. the. time. No one knew how important this program would become to Grandpa until he lost some of his vision in 2005 because of wet macular degeneration. Since then Hal has also become legally deaf.
Despite these "setbacks" Grandpa wakes up everyday and is still inspired to create.
Lasko will be 98 on Sunday and to "celebrate," his website is selling prints of his work for $98, with 10 percent of each purchase donated to Veterans of Foreign Wars programs.