Clinton Lugert: 100 Creatives
Number 41: Clinton Lugert
Years spent living in MN: 806 fortnights
These days, many creative types have their hands in a variety of mediums. This is certainly the case for Clinton Lugert. As part of THEY film + design, he has created websites, band T-shirts, movie credit animations, posters for events like the yearly screening of the Star Wars Holiday Special at Bryant-Lake Bowl, and cinema production with Gregg Holtgrewe's Dawning. At Olson, he has worked with brands both local and national. And as part of the Pencil Project collective, he worked on the Twin Cities Film Festival trailer.
Name three things that are inspiring your work right now:
1. Mythology, for the great stories and archetypes within.
2. Music. I match the genre I'm listening to with each project I'm working on. This is one of the ways I keep myself versatile.
3. Anthropology. Having such deep insights into the people you're creating for can be extremely helpful on public projects. And the left-brain analysis helps bring balance to the process.
Name three things that inspired and/or motivated you as a budding creative type:
1. Comic books. I loved them for all the reasons kids do, and I still love them now. Trying to mimic their style and tell my own stories was the gateway for me.
2. My kindergarten friend Jamin Lackie. In the small world we grew up in we were the only other artists around. We continue to inspire and challenge each other to this day as he focuses on 3D character creation.
3. My surrogate grandfather, Curtis Thormodsgaard. He was a creative pioneer and huge inspiration. He showed me the tools and methods of the trade and was a great example of a successful, self-made creative. His entire family has been a massive factor in my creative and personal life. I work with his grandsons every day at the studio we share in the old Grain Belt Brewery.
What was your last big project?
At Olson, I'm often working on campaigns for large brands, but they aren't only mine. At THEY-design, the last big project was Gregg Holtgrewe's Dawning. I thought I was coming on to shoot second camera, but by the time it was all done I was an associate producer, consulted on the story, and part of the effort to land distribution. My biggest contribution was designing all the branding and marketing materials for the film, from hand screen-printed posters to title credits animation (with Gaardhouse). After a long journey, the team successfully had the film distributed through all major outlets. It was an indie-film miracle.
What do you have going on now or coming up in the near future that should be on our radar?
The Pencil Project and I are in pre-production for a documentary about a man seeking to beat a land-speed record with a motorcycle he's building in his garage. An electric motorcycle.
Creative/career high point (so far)?
After a couple years of designing and printing gig posters I eventually found an opportunity to create a poster for my favorite musician in the world, Joseph Arthur. It was one of the hardest things I've ever designed in my life, probably because it was so personal to me. Balance and redemption are strong themes in his music, and eventually the concept became an illustration of the Icarus and Daedalus story. When I presented the poster and reasoning to him he loved it and drew Icarus for me, and then I exploded into stars.
What has been your biggest challenge as a creative type?
Financial was definitely a hurdle, being self-employed for so long. Knowing when to charge high and when to accept a passion project is tough. I think my biggest challenge however has been saying no to challenges in general. I'm proficient in many disciplines and have a wide range of interest; consequently, I've overloaded myself many, many times. Focus is key.
How has the Minnesota scene changed since you began working here?
I've been able to legally drive for almost two years now. That's a change.
Since I've been making things here, Uptown has been neutered and Northeast has developed, but it's hard to constrain the creative community to just Minnesota since we're all so connected. Maybe that's what's changed. It's felt to me that in a short time the tools of our trade became so accessible that everyone was shooting video or recording a band or designing. But then all at once we started getting our hands dirty too. It's been a pleasure to watch and participate in the return of screen printing, letterpress, and even craft beers. I'm greatly enjoying this renaissance of craftsmanship.
Name the best movie you have ever seen. How about the worst?
Fight Club. I think it's a modern masterpiece and not just as a film, but as art. It speaks to the emasculation of modern males, urban angst, and American escapism. It was entirely self-aware, and broke the fourth wall with style. Its satire is endlessly quotable. It has fantastic performances, amazing cinematography, and a killer soundtrack. Every piece of that film was perfectly crafted. In my opinion, of course.
The worst is definitely the Star Wars Holiday Special. The MN Film & TV Board makes it into an annual endurance match, and I have a blast making the mash-up posters for it. Sure, it's a great event, but no matter how much fun we have, it cannot wash away the blight that creation is on all moving pictures.
What has been the best concert you have attended (so far?):
It was the best and the worst at the same time: The final So It Goes show. "Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt."
For more info on Clinton Lugert, visit clintonlugert.com.
Do you have a suggestion for someone whose work we should be checking out? Feel free to leave your top picks in the comments.
Past creatives, so far:
81. Joseph Scrimshaw
80. Adam Turman
79. Raul Osorio
78. Kristin Berwald
77. Rudy Fig
76. Laura Fulk
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