Meet Ethan Long
Children’s book illustrator Ethan Long has lived with his wife and three children in College Park for decades. He loved the close-knit neighborhood and being involved with his kids’ school activities: PTA, soccer and Halloween costume contests. Though his kids are now grown, Ethan isn’t hanging up his pen and paper any time soon. He’s starting a new adventure with NFTs and more.
Long is also well known around town for his public murals. While some may be gone now, beginning in 2012 as part of a College Park Main Street and City of Orlando joint initiative, Long ultimately completed 12 murals.
You can still see Long’s whimsical murals on utility boxes on Edgewater drive, and at Lockhart Elementary School. He’s had what one might call an illustrious career. Long has had over 125 books published. He created “Scribble and Ink,” an Emmy-nominated online interactive series with PBSKids.org and “Tasty Time with ZeFronk” which aired on Disney Junior from 2008-2010 and was also Emmy-nominated. Along with those accomplishments, Long has many awards and honors to his name, including the 2017 Florida Book Award Gold medal for his book Big Cat, the 2020 Kidscreen Awards Gold Medal for Scribbles and Ink and the Theodor Seuss Geisel Gold Award Winner in 2013 along with having several of his books named book of the year.
Although Long and his wife, who are now empty-nesters, recently moved to Littleton, Co, he says being part of the College Park community has been one of the best experiences of his life. “l’ll never lose those connections. I think College Park is one of the best places to live and raise a family.” Long still has family in the Central Florida area and visits several times a year.
The Journey with NFTs
A graduate of the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Long is beginning his NFT journey with a new dedicated character named Stamp Pete the bull. Riffing on the idea that NFTs are collectible, Ethan uses Stamp Pete’s adorable mug to make stamp-looking portraits. Ethan has learned more about how to create unique digital iterations of each image for this project and has had a lot of fun doing it. He says he doesn’t know where Stamp Pete will go next, but he’s excited to be embarking on a new adventure with his bull buddy.
“NFTs are not very mainstream right now. But I find it an interesting process to not only make this art, but to be able to have this new work coexist with my children’s entertainment work. Kids may not be interested in NFTs at the moment, but it could be like baseball or Pokemon cards. The audience could be adults, gamers or maybe even kids down the road. It’s all very exciting.”
Alongside his NFT project, Long is working on fine artwork and hopes to have some of his pieces in galleries in Santa Fe in the future. “I love making kids laugh. There is also a more serious side of my work I’d like to explore,” Long says. “I’m so grateful to have this amazing career where I can grow and learn and try something different. I can’t wait to see what comes next.” Check out Ethan’s work at www.ethanlong.com and www.ethanlongnft.com!