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Former Peretz schooler has “Two Rivers Design” business and is also the new conga player for Salsa Orchestra here

by Isaac Gutwilik, March 24, 2011

  I am a Winnipegger, a self-described renaissance man and graphic designer. I have  designed ads for Calvin Klein and other well known companies that have covered buildings in Times Square in New York.    After 27 years of being away from Winnipeg, (20 in New York and & 7 in T.O. ) I have returned to my hometown and am enjoying being able to visit my parents and reunite with former North End and South End buddies, talk about current events and crack a joke or two. I’m even going three times a week to the Rady Gym after work.
  I owe my early beginnings in art to my wonderful experience at the I.L. Peretz   School. One day, after causing some disruption in class, I was sent to the principal’s office. Shimshon Heilik, an exhibiting painter, recognized and channeled my energy with private drawing classes in his study. He then arranged for a scholarship for me  to  attend weekly art classes at the Winnipeg Art Gallery  where I went for several years. During high school at West Kildonan Collegiate we had classes in photography and filmmaking, and I continued with private art lessons.
  I also used my graphic skills to make a little cash by drawing hand lettered signs for the New Winnipeg Kosher Meat Market on Landsdowne & Main. Later, while attending U of M’s School of Art, studying painting and graphic design, I worked as the publicity and graphics director for the U of W Student Association. We layed the groundwork for what eventually became the Winnipeg Jazz Festival.  A two year journey in Jerusalem followed. I was an auditing student at the Bezalel Academy of Art, where I was first introduced to computer graphics. I decided to pursue this upon returning to Canada.
In 1982,  I left for Toronto, attended Sheridan College and spent a few years creating graphics for CTV News. After winning a green card lottery in 1990, I left for the Big Apple with my wife and 6 month old daughter.
   My work in the field of graphic arts, mastery of digital color imaging and photo manipulation led to my landing my designing graphics for a broad spectrum of many very well known companies such as; Pepsi, Citibank, MasterCard, Calvin Klein, Fila, Levi’s, Revlon, Clinique, Vogue, NY Lottery, Barnes & Noble, NBC, Samsung, Arista. Other industrial & corporate clients included Pfizer, Zeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Dupont, Remington, and Goretex. I also did graphics for Rolling Stone Magazine, the Metropolitan Opera, and the  Museum of Natural History
  My design and production work comprised of magazine ads, catalogs, annual reports, trade show and retail displays, tv show background sets, billboards and  airport advertising signage.
  New York was an adrenaline producing heart pumping experience. It’s intense drive pulls you in. Peak perfomance and professionalism are required of you at all times. A work day in New York is the fastest paced day anyone can imagine.  Notwithstanding this pace, we also wanted to raise a family, as well as maintain friendships and find time to pursue personal  interests. The values we had from Winnipeg kept us balanced.
  On any given weekend I could stroll Central Park, Wave Hill, attend street fairs, galleries and museums. The five boroughs of New York are never dull with so many venues. Going to the Jersey Shore was always a great respite. With the high cost of living in New York, it made sense for us to relocate to the quiet suburbs of East Brunswick, New Jersey. We had a second daughter by this time. Commuting was a tradeoff and fact of life, with about 12 hours of travel per week. I did however get to catch up on reading, or grab a nap while on the express bus.
  One of my great interests is jazz and latin music. Playing percussion has been a passion of mine since high school. After work I took classes at the Harbour Conservatory of Music, a school for latin music, where I my teachers were in the top of their fields.. One of my teachers took me with him to attend his Tito Puente recording session with guests Maynard Ferguson and Hilton Ruiz. We all eat Chinese food together afterwards and told jokes. This inspired me to realize that this was something I could do. I ended up freelancing as a musician playing everything from Big Band, Salsa, R&B, Brazilian, Motown, Israeli jazz, Middle Eastern, and Yemeni music. My most gratifying gig was with a local synagogue (Anshe Emeth) band, backing up the children’s choir once a month for seven years.
  While at Pratt Institute I earned the title of Adjunct Professor to international masters degree design students. Simplifying and teaching the processes
  along the way, has helped me create rapport with a wide and diverse group of people. I’ve also learned over the years, that it costs as much to print ugly work as it does to print high quality, well thought out work. On second thought, it may actually cost more in lost potential sales. The difference is in the design process that takes into account a marketing strategy. Effective marketing design can be successful under any budget.
  Back in Winnipeg since September 2009, I’ve done contract consulting.  My new business is called “two rivers design”. I look forward to getting to know  Winnipeg anew, finding ways to help businesses, organizations and individuals, get their unique story and message across in a successful and meaningful way.
 Anyone interested in more information can contact me (Isaac Gutwilik)
  I am also the conga player with the 12 piece New Latin Big Band “Tropical 99”. We’re playing hard hitting salsa, cumbia, meringue and more this Sunday night March 27, 7-11 p.m. at the Park Theatre and movie Café. There will be some room to dance.
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