OUTside INspiration by Bill Sager

The change from electronic and analog technology to digital has been going on since the 80’s. We are still in the middle of a digital revolution and with so much content on the web it can be both wonderful and overwhelming. For this edition of OUTside INspiration, Bill Sager talks about the artists whom he’s loved since before this digital deluge, and who continue to be sources of inspiration for him today. 

“For the most part I still look back to the work that inspired me to pursue a career in the arts 15 years ago. Maybe that’s just me not wanting to leave my youth behind, but it’s also an acknowledgement of the things that pushed me into a particular style. From comedians to musicians, the following individuals all have an underlying style that stood out to me and made me want to become a better artist.”

Paul Rand: Designer 

Rand was a graphic designer who famously told Apple’s Steve Jobs “it’s my way or the highway” when it came to design. He was known for only providing one design direction to clients and they had the choice to use it or not. I’ve never been a fan of big egos, but Rand could back it up. His preference for clipped out photography in place of illustrations was a big shift in the 1950’s. Large typography and asymmetric layouts became signatures of his style, and I’ve been trying to emulate it for more than a decade.

Chuck Close: Artist 

I first saw his work at the Milwaukee Art Museum when I was a kid. Standing over 9 feet tall, the black-and-white photo-real portrait stood out in the gallery filled with color. Close suffered spinal artery collapses that left him severely paralyzed. Yet he continued to work by changing his painting method, which, in my opinion, elevated his art.

Andy Kaufman: Actor/Comedian 

I didn’t discover Kaufman until years after his death. I saw a mix tape collection of his work in the late 90’s that really changed the way I looked at presentation and delivery. The joke was on the audience and it left people constantly guessing. I strive for those “aha” moments in both my print and fine art work. Even after his death people thought he was joking – that’s total commitment. I wish he was still around.

And lastly, a little experimental Floyd from the early 70’s never hurts for a creative musical backdrop. I think I’ve watched the movie “Live in Pompei” over a 100 times. 

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