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My name is Kevin Sprague. I am a photographer/designer/illustrator living in Western Massachusetts. I run a design studio called Studio Two ( which has been around for about 11 years now. I employ 6 people right now, and we work on projects all over our region, with a lot of work for theatre companies, local museums, small manufacturers, jewelers, and the non-profit sector. Because the Berkshire, where we live, is fairly rural we pretty much do everything: print and web design, illustration, marketing, consulting, etc. I am also the primary photographer and image-maker for my clients and also do a lot of editorial shooting for regional magazines. Because I primarily shoot for myself (i.e., my design clients) I am pretty much my own art director, which means that we have a lot of creative leeway and a certain amount of efficiency in what we get to do. I like to shoot, process, manipulate and publish my images quickly: I like to see my images go out into the marketplace and do good work, selling tickets, building businesses and creating opportunities.

When did you first decide to become a graphic designer/ illustrator? Was there a pivotal moment?

I started working in the design and imaging field about 12 years ago, as a kind of accidental evolution from my work as a video producer. The transition of video to digital (quicktime, non-linear editing and all that) meant that I was starting to deal with images in the digital realm. One thing led to another and more and more people were asking for print work and less video work. A fortuitous business relationship also occurred at that time when I starting working with a professional designer on some projects. She and I worked together for the next 10 years.

Who or what inspires you?

I am motivated by design and imagery that tell stories: I like to be drawn in, and to see a shift in my expectations. I love the work of Amy Guip, Kate Turning, Howard Schatz and Jerry Ueslmann. These are all photographers, but with the exception of Howard they all work in layered, composite images that extend reality. I like to formality of Rodney Smith and the untold stories in his images as well. I like mystery, beauty, elegance, darkness and hope in contrast, love.

Where does your training come from? Self-taught? College/Art School?

Completely self-taught, on the job. I was an english major, which helps with the whole copywriting and proofing part of the job. Plus I know my Shakespeare.I've been using photoshop since version 1.0 so I know my way around. If I need to read a manual it usually means the software wasn't written very well.

How do you keep "fresh" within your industry?

I've never really had trouble feeling stale. I like the challenges that my clients give me every day and I enjoy suprising them and myself with the results.

What are some of your current projects?

I'm working on a personal project which is a novel - only told with large composite images. I'm about a third of the way through it.

Which of your projects are you the most proud of? And why?

I'm proud of my ongoing work with Shakespeare and Company here in the Berkshires. Every? year I get to illustrate great Shakespeare plays and other productions, and I am always suprised by the results.

Are there any areas, techniques, mediums, projects in your field that you have yet to try?

I used to dabble in 3D software and animation, but have had to put that aside. The tools in that area today are very powerful and it would be fun to bring them back into the process. I just haven't had the time. I'd like to have a tool in photoshop that just would grow vines all over eveything in 3D with a click of the button.

Any advice to the novice designer/ illustrator?
I think that it is important to dig deep, and see where the stronger emotions are in any project. And then you have to fight for your ideas. Nurture your good clients.

What makes a designed piece or illustration successful?

Impact. Something that makes them stop in their tracks, and then when they stop to really look, another larger meaning or deeper issue becomes clear. I like it when design includes a little mystery or something funny or non-obvious. I almost always work from beauty as a core attribute. I don't like ugly things, no matter how necessary.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?

I ride my bicycle and in the winter I ski like a maniac. I work with people who I get along with. I take pictures of beautiful things.

And finally, what is the best thing on prime-time TV right now?

Lost. It's basically the game "Myst" for television. EVERYTHING is a red-herring. NOTHING means anything. I imagine that it will just get hopelessly surreal in the next few seasons.

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