A Day on Sesame Street
A paper sculptor meets Elmo
by Patrick Dunn
Few can claim to have shared the same hour of television with Mad Men's Jon Hamm and the Muppet Elmo, but such are Matt Shlian's bragging rights. "I've lectured and presented work at top schools across the country, shown art in museums and galleries all over the world," he says. "This tops them all."
Director Josh Kurz contacted Shlian, an Ann Arbor paper sculpture artist, to appear on an April Sesame Street episode hosted by Hamm. Kurz, who previously filmed Shlian for NPR's Krulwich Wonders, shot six hours of footage in Shlian's studio as Shlian and several kids assembled numerous folded cards into a contracting, snakelike paper sculpture. Shlian describes the shoot as "a total blast," with special thanks to a four-year-old cast member who kept the crew entertained with her childishly logical input on the project. "I've seen some of the rough edits, and the cameras are shaking because the videographers are laughing," he says.
Shlian says the news of his appearance excited his mother, who asked if he'd met Grover. And he'll soon be able to use the segment to wow a brand-new family member: he and his wife, artist Thea Augustina Eck, are expecting their first child.
[Originally published in June, 2013.]
On June 26, 2013, Katie Whitney wrote:
Here's the clip of Matt's segment on Sesame Street: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQVVFrJ-B5I