I studied with, and was inspired by a famed creator, Viktor Schreckengost, also known as the "American da Vinci." He painted, sculpted, and was a pioneer industrial designer. You still use and see his designs. In 1972, Viktor Schreckengost established the Industrial Design department at The Cleveland Institute of Art, founded in 1882, where I graduated in 1987. And I actually graduated with a degree in Industrial Design, not painting. In fact, the art school was often cold and the painting studios where not properly ventilated so I developed a horrible skin rash when I worked with turpentine and oils. I was allergic to oil painting when I was in art school and I walked around with a raw rash on my neck. It was no wonder that I produced muddy and flat paintings. Years later when I discovered painting again, I found the least toxic approach to oil painting that involves only pigment and linseed oil. There were no more skin conditions. Viktor Schreckengost inspired me more than any other professor. He was such a Renaissance man and true gentleman. Unfortunately, I could not say that was my experience with all my male professors, or male students, in the Industrial Design department. It was, at times, brutal. Sexism and racism still lingered in the 1980s. I still remember a male student scoffing at my job offer at the same firm where we would be working together. He remarked, "Well, I'll make more money that you, and I always will." Although memorable, that was the least of the hostility. Despite the constant barbs, having Viktor Schreckengost as my teacher kept me going. Viktor Schreckengost had no other agenda but to teach and inspire and he made the design process a beautiful puzzle that I still love. I designed my company's website, collateral, and closely collaborated with my talented graphic designer, Todd Hedgpeth, who created my graphic identity. I use design when I paint. It plays a huge role in developing the composition of the painting, the balance of color, the understanding of form. Even though my personal experience of art school was far from ideal I wouldn't change a thing. I’m glad I knew this legend and I know that I’m not alone in this regard. Viktor Schreckengost was a good man, a devoted teacher, and a rare talent in our time. I recall him telling me how he came to design the childrens toy the Hippity Hop Ball and then later sold the patent to the military to somehow function as landing gear. I paid close attention to the fact that he owned many patents. He was also a keen businessman and he blessed many with his creations.
- Because of Viktor Schreckengost I’m still Designing
- Cleveland Institute of Art, Collector's Journal, Hippity Hop Ball, Industrial Design, Todd Hedgpeth, Viktor Schreckengost