Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Q&A With Paul Savramis on his Passion for Art and Graphic Design

Paul Savramis is the founder of Rising Stars Inc., a sports outreach that utilizes the power of teams and playing basketball to help young people develop life skills and the values they need to make correct decisions in their formative years. He is based in Long Island, New York. Here he discusses another passion in his life, art and graphic design.

Q: Paul Savramis, you are best known as a sports figure, humanitarian and entrepreneur with graduate degrees in physical and special education. Tell us about this more artistic dimension of your life.

Paul Savramis: Art and graphic design were always a big part of my life growing up. My mother, the late artist Helen (Nitsa) Savramis, was a gifted and well respected artist across Europe when we came here from Greece. She made certain that her passion and love of art remained part of my early education. I guess it worked because as a child I can still remember having a pencil a drawing every chance I got. While I was still in grade school, I was offered a full scholarship to Brooklyn, New York’s Pratt Institute weekend program for gifted artists and that was a thrill for mom.

Q: Did you continue studying art in high school?

Paul Savramis: I was really into sports in high school and struggled academically because of the language barriers so travelling into the city on weekends to attend Pratt was not happening, but I always kept art as a hobby. I designed shirts and worked a brief stint locally as a storyboard artist in the comics industry. As I started working with sports camps and clinics, I often was called upon to draw cover art for brochures and design the programs they used.

Q: And do you still do design work for Rising Stars?

Paul Savramis: Yes, I still do all of the designs for Rising Stars camp shirts as well as the overall work for all the advertising materials. I still enjoy that. My mother always said that my gift for caricature cartooning and storyboard art as well as creative design was unique and set me apart from her talents in fine arts.

Q: Who were your influences?

Paul Savramis: Two of my greatest influences in art and life were the late great legendary cartoonist Charles Schultz, the creator of the famous Peanuts strips, as well as Walt Disney. Charles Shultz would write and encourage me to keep art in my life for years. He was one of a kind. Disney just overwhelmed me with what was possible both in art and in business. Thinking back on it, I guess looking at what he accomplished in Orlando and creating Disney World out of a swamp had a huge impact on me early on as an entrepreneur. I also enjoy surf artists such as Rick Griffin and Wyland nature art, which is totally unique. Today’s materials really allow an artist to capture nature in a way we could never imagine years ago.