Velvet Elvis

Velvet Elvis

A Velvet Elvis is a painting of Elvis Presley on velvet. It is sometimes known as a "Velvis", which is a portmanteau originally coined in 1984 by David Knechel. This combination is considered a typical example of kitsch. It is typically a costumed torso of Elvis holding a microphone, painted on black, navy blue, red or purple velvet. Edgar Leeteg (1904-1953) pioneered painting on velvet in the modern era in the 1930s.

A brief history of black velvet paintings is presented by Pamela Liflander in "Black Velvet Artist", a booklet published by Running Press, Philadelphia in 2003, and included in an art kit by the same name. Liflander also details the life of Edgar Leeteg, "the father of American black velvet kitsch," whose "raucous and bawdy" life was previously captured by James Michener in "Rascals in Paradise" (1957).

Velvet was a popular medium for artists on the streets of Tijuana, reaching a height of popularity in the 1970s. [cite web|url=|title=The Rise and Fall of Velvet Elvis|publisher=OJR|accessdate=2006-05-23]

Cultural references

*An entire level of the video game Psychonauts, known as "Black Velvetopia", is dedicated to such velvet paintings.
*In the PC Game Fallout, a Velvet Elvis portrait can be found in the crashed UFO encounter, on the alien skeleton that had the blaster.
*"Weird Al" Yankovic recorded "Velvet Elvis", a whimsical ode to such a painting. The song is a pastiche of the musical style of The Police.
*"Velvet Elvis" is the name of a synth band from the 80's.
*"The Velvet Elvis" was the name of a now defunct bar in Savannah, Georgia located at 127 West Congress St., decorated entirely with Velvet Elvis paintings and other Elvis Presley memorabilia.
*"Velvet Elvis" is the name of an 1980s rock group based in Lexington, Kentucky. The group originally consisted of Dan Trisko (guitar, vocals), John Clark (bass, vocals), Sherri McGee (drums, vocals) and Doug Carman (keyboards, guitar, vocals). Scott Stoess (bass, vocals) and Jeff Yurkowski (keyboards, vocals) later replaced Clark and Carman. Velvet Elvis released two self-produced albums in addition to one for Enigma Records that was produced by Mitch Easter.
* is a book written by Rob Bell of Mars Hill Bible Church and published by Zondervan Publishing in 2005. Rob Bell was the lead singer of the colle-rock band _ton bundle in 1990 and wrote a song of the same title.
*"The Velvet Elvis" is an Elvis Tribute Artist based in Denver, Colorado, voted Colorado's Best Elvis by the Westword weekly.
*The Stray Cats song "Elvis On Velvet" makes reference to the intense commercialization of Elvis following his death, suggesting that 'The King' would find such items (particularly the paintings) disrespectful.
*The song "Black Velvet" by Alannah Myles is about Presley.
*Alan Jackson's song "Little Man" mentions a store selling velvet Elvis
*Switchfoot's song "Poparazzi" mentions velvet Elvis's being sold "on the 90210".
*The song "Sidewinder" by Lard contains the lyrics "Slither into town/In the velvet Elvis night"
*"The Velvet Elvis" is a bar and live music lounge located in Oshawa, Ontario.
*"Elvis" is a song by Sister Hazel about a Velvet Elvis
* "Velvet Elvis" is a Roswell, Georgia rock 'n' roll band based voted Best Party Band by Willow Springs HOA.


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