Etkin was born in the Bronx, New York and started painting as a small boy. He graduated from Brooklyn College in 1971 with a B.A. in Fine Arts and Education. When speaking about his work Etkin states, “I’ve been painting with oils for nearly 50 years and it’s never boring. I feel as if I’ve just touched the surface of what I can do with paint. I acknowledge the intellectual aspect of painting, but just standing in front of a piece, living, moving, breathing, just the doing of it will get me to the outcome. Every piece is an adventure.” Etkin currently lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee. Collectors of note include: University Museum at ISU (Iowa City), Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and Institute for Contemporary Art, University Museum Richmond, Virginia.