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April 11, 2018

Mark and Laura Stutzman to speak at Power of Possibilities entrepreneurship summit

Mark and Laura Stutzman, well-known illustrators who reside in Garrett County, are scheduled to present at the upcoming Power of Possibilities spring entrepreneurship summit on Friday, April 27, 2018 at Garrett College. The two plan to address and present the success each has brought to the many businesses he or she has worked with, including sharing experiences and making recommendations on how businesses can leverage targeted promotion.

Having met at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh 40 years ago in a typography class taught by Helen Webster, Mark and Laura Stutzman were both Visual Communications majors with ridiculously large portfolios that didn't fit on a transit bus and were constantly piled up with never-ending homework. Mark got a job at KDKA straight away, while Laura's first gig was at The Pittsburgh Press; although, she set out for her hometown, Washington, DC. to find work.

According to Laura, it was 1979, the recession was in full bloom and freelance was the best way to pay the rent and stay busy. “I moved from ad agency to magazine to newspaper, weekly or sometimes daily,” she said. “As mind-rattling as it was, it was a learning cluster.”

Eventually, Laura took a design position that lasted a couple of years until the better way to pay the rent was freelance illustration. By 1981, Mark was in DC working at Goldberg-Marcesano, a small but influential agency. “As a staff illustrator, Mark cut his teeth on PBS work and started a career geared toward entertainment,” stated Laura.

By 1982, they were married and living in the burbs, formed Eloqui (el-oh!-kwi) and began to feel the conservatism of the nation's capital with respect to the home-grown work. Two amazing kids later, they moved to Western Maryland and setup shop in their attic studio and have been there ever since, Stutzman explained.

“We've been at this for a while. Many changes have taken place since we signed those articles of incorporation in '84,” said Laura. “It's a lightning-fast digital world and with all the love, we do our best to preserve the things that drew us to this work and the things we still cherish about living the creative life.”

Best known for his rendition of the young Elvis Presley Stamp, Mark Stutzman's illustrations are used in advertising, on products, posters, magazines, book covers, and other niche markets. His work is well-known in the entertainment business; on Broadway: Young Frankenstein, The Musical, Annie Get Your Gun and in the mystical realm of David Blaine and his event "art" posters.

He has created artwork for movie products and premiums for Batman, Jurassic Park, and Space Jam, as well as book covers for Steven King and is an acclaimed playing card artist. With a client list topped by McDonald's, DC Comics, MAD magazine, The New Yorker, Nickelodeon, Rolling Stone, Microsoft, Time, and Esquire, he's had the opportunity to influence many worlds through his illustrative works.

Stutzman works with clients from around the globe in the quiet comfort of his remote studio. But as a member of New York's Society of Illustrators and The Illustrators' Partnership, he has contributed to annual shows there, has been selected in competitions among his contemporaries, and is a recipient of the Stephan Dehanos award.

He has volunteered his time by serving on the board of directors for a local arts organization, spoken and presented for schools and colleges and produced artwork for local nonprofit organizations. He has also been a guest speaker at EG3 and EG6 (The Entertainment Gathering) in Monterey, California.

In his home town, he has contributed to a public art movement with large-scale murals. His latest venture strays a bit from art but has been rewarding. Stutzman helped found and serves as president of Engage Mountain Maryland, a nonprofit volunteer organization that focuses on community organizing to empower citizens to be more active and involved in local and state issues.

Laura's illustration career started in Washington, DC, after leaving agency work in 1982, and spanned the next 25 years. Her work, mostly editorial and institutional, was inspired by Dean Cornwell and N.C. Wyeth, with their narrative sensibilities and impressionists, Sargent and Hassam. Its most recognized by its confident, painterly style, a blend of traditional technique and contemporary imagery.

Her clients have included PBS, MCI, CBS, Simon & Schuster, National Geographic, U.S. Postal Service, Zippo, Time/Life Books and the US Mint to name a few. In 2003 she entered the children's book market with "B is for Blue Crab", an alphabet book of Maryland and an updated retelling by Alisa Grodin, of Oscar Wilde's "The Happy Prince", both published by Sleeping Bear Press.

In 2007, a friend asked if she might be interested in helping with some marketing materials; menus, ads and photography for her two businesses. That began the next chapter of her professional life. She's still working with that friend who has several businesses now and others who have a need to communicate visually.

Registration is open for the upcoming conference. Individuals can learn more and register online for the Power of Possibilities spring entrepreneurship conference at www.garrettcollege.edu/pop or by calling Garrett College Continuing Education and Workforce Development at 301-387-3069.