Illustration & Graphic Design
A one-time Sawdust Festival exhibitor in the 1970s, Bill Atkins has been heavily involved in the graphic arts for decades in Laguna Beach and its neighboring beach cities. As a 20-year exhibitor at The Vintage Poster in south Laguna, you have more than likely seen Bill’s artwork displayed around town in its predominantly digital format but also in his least-recognized medium of bronze. It is not commonly known, Bill is often commissioned to create bronze plaques of which many can be found in public places throughout Laguna and South OC Beach Cities.
Sign from Bill Atkin’s booth at the Sawdust Festival in 1977.
You may not also be aware of his digital presence on the Sawdust Festival grounds this summer: he designed the popular Sawdust Façade T-shirt that is currently displayed in the sales shop. With this tee, Bill attempted to capture the living beauty that is unique to Sawdust, found in the many trees present on the grounds and the rustic Bavarian facade that sets itself apart from the neighboring festivals.
He also left his mark in the form of a digital painting on one of our new recyclable garbage bins. His “painting” portrays a particularly picturesque pocket of the Sawdust Festival grounds, found at the upper mesa by the waterfall. He hoped to convey a message with this design that by throwing away your trash, you are contributing to Sawdust’s beautiful atmosphere.
Bill’s artwork on the face of the trash bin.
Environmental awareness has been a mainstay in his body of design, so-much-so that five items of his work were selected to be featured in The Big Book of Green Design. One highlighted collection in particular was the One Earth, One Dream project he created in 2008. Composed of twenty-four banners, 6 feet by 2 feet in size, the artwork featured flora, fauna, sealife, weather issues, and etc. To his surprise the publisher even featured the t-shirts he designed for the One Earth project. It was through this publication he understood his calling, and realized what he did best.
One Earth, One Dream, 2008
Thriving in competitive settings, Bill continued to enter more design contests such as the Whale Tail contest of California. Competing with 300 entries, he was selected to create a final design. It took two months of solid work to produce 70 variations, featuring various whale tails against varying skies.
While his work generally revolves around Laguna Beach and the south OC beach cities, he’s also branched out with a worldly take on design through his participation in Laguna Beach Sister Cities. He created the four poster series featuring Laguna Beach and her three sister cities: Menton, France; San Jose, Del Cabo; and St. Ives, England.
All four cities have an art school, with a mission to promote art and cultural exchange. Through the cities’ partnership with the College of Art, an exchange student program was developed between the sister countries.
Bill himself taught at the College of Art actually. He also taught Design, Color Theory, and Digital Imaging for 30 years at other colleges like Laguna College of Art + Design, and The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.
These days during his summer tenure at the ‘Dust, he is only teaching one class and it’s here at the Sawdust Festival in Studio One! Take his class in Color Theory and say hello! You may also find him in his booth, No. 110!