Illustrating "Kings"... A Royal Thrill
Mark Stutzman is best known for his illustration that adorned the 1993 Elvis Presley Stamp that ushered in a wave of excitement for the U.S. Postal Service. Breaking all records for commemorative stamp sales was just the beginning of how it would impact the USPC and Stutzman's career. "Looking back, I was such a pup. It was so exciting but completely foreign to the illustration life I was accustom to." Since the famed stamp's release, Stutzman has gone on to work for countless clients across the country and around the globe. This year he logged Eloqui's 1800th assignment documenting his many hours of experience.
He has illustrated not just the King of Rock 'n' Roll but also the King of Pop, book covers for the King of Horror, posters for the King of Spades and the King of the South. Legends of pop-culture seem to be a recurring subject of Stutzman's body of work. Just out of art school, his first job had him illustrating portraits in pen and ink for TV Guide ads. This experience lead him to a Washington, D.C. ad agency as a staff illustrator. He produced several season posters for PBS while there. His yearning for more illustration assignments eventually lead to him pursuing a full-time freelance career, joining his wife, Laura and forming Eloqui. Seeking a more tranquil studio life, He and fellow illustrator, Laura, moved their studio to scenic Western Maryland, where they have remained since.
Stutzman's working philosophy is to focus on reaching visual solutions for clients with an interactive approach. Some projects come in just needing an illustrator's hand to flesh out an idea. Others come in as a glimmer of an idea while others as simply a problem needing to be solved. However the project is presented, he is happy to work towards a solution with the goal of leaving a meaningful and lasting image.
"Why still working in traditional mediums?", he's often asked. Stutzman's response is simple. "Working in traditional mediums make me feel like an artist. Besides, stained fingernails and dirty elbows look good on me." He's always been consumed by the love of classical art. "I was a very odd child, seeking out classical religious paintings and nudes from the Renaissance. I went to my first art museum as a teenager and was literally high from it. This is what I have to do!", he thought ...and so he did.
Stutzman has received numerous awards for his illustrations, including the Stephen Dehanos Award from the Society of Illustrators in New York. He has also received a gold medal from the Society of Illustrators in Los Angeles and has appeared in the Print Regional Design Annuals, Communication Arts, Society of Illustrators Annuals in New York, The Addys and Society of Publication Designers. Stutzman has been a guest speaker at EG (Entertainment Gathering) conferences in 2009 and 2012, various schools and colleges and has taught a Summer workshop for youths.