Edwin Krumm: A Thousand Words Are Worth a Picture
It’s another “local boy makes good” story, and you can actually see this boy making good every Friday in the Cape Gazette, and Thursdays in Beach Paper. From the time he was barely old enough to hold a pencil, Seaford, Delaware-born Edwin Krumm loved to create images and draw. His 11th grade teacher recognized that talent and urged him to take special classes for design and language. The confidence that grew from that support set young Edwin on a path to his Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual Communication/Graphic Design in the very first graduating class at the then newly renamed Salisbury University.
It sounds easy, but it wasn’t. The youngest of five boys in a single-parent household, Edwin is the first to admit that he had “nowhere to go but up.” Though the lack of effective role models might have served as a convenient excuse for some kids to follow in low-achieving footsteps, it had the opposite effect on him. “If someone’s going to do it, it had to be me,” he emphasizes. And do it he did.
“I always had to have a job and take care of myself, but I’ll admit that I was a little vagabond for a while.” Richer kids might have called that “finding themselves,” but Ed isn’t one to brag. He did whatever he could to earn enough money to take trips to Montreal and Quebec. Even at 21, he was already familiar with the gay-friendly atmosphere of Rehoboth Beach, and compared all the hot spots (none the least of which, “Gaybec”) to here. “Seeing that Rehoboth wasn’t the only gay oasis in the world made me appreciate it even more.”
One of his most life-changing experiences occurred on a visit to Mont Saint Michel in Normandy, France. Founded in the year 708, the rich history and ancient design of the island monastery was not lost on the budding artist. “It was a historical, eye-opening experience for me.” In fact, the inspiration he took away from that trip formed the basis for his final graduation project in pastels.
There’s not that much difference between the spark of visual design and the style of high-end restaurants, and Krumm moves seamlessly between both. While working with the catering departments of top eateries like The Buttery and Nage, he has mastered every facet of the business, from butlering food to supervising, to pretty much anything front of house (industry lingo for the room where customers chow down).
“Everything I do is in preparation for something better,” says Krumm, and he admits that he’d love to get further training in the culinary arts. Again, he pays tribute to his somewhat autonomous childhood: “I’ve been cooking for myself since I was 10, so why not?”
In 2004, Amanda Neafie, an ad representative for Cape Gazette, suggested that Edwin apply to the production department at the paper. What better way to sharpen your graphic design skills than to work in the deadline-intensive environment of a busy newspaper! Working elbow-to-elbow with three other talented designers, Edwin and the team create many of the display ads, colorful maps, and eye-catching design elements that make both the Gazette and Beach Paper visually attractive.
“It’s definitely a team effort,’ insists Krumm. “I work with a great group of people, and I don’t want anyone reading this to think it’s all just me, ‘cause it’s not.” Teresa Rodriguez is a talented designer in her own right, and is the artist behind the Beach Paper’s striking front covers. Sherresha Powell builds display ads and some of the classifieds as long-time Gazette employee Kristin Cornell fine-tunes the editorial pages, feature articles, display ads, and the newspaper’s busy website. They all work together to make the weekly publications easy to read. Chief techie-head and Photoshop guru Chris Foster ensures that the hundreds of photos and graphics in each issue are sufficiently colorful, sized and formatted to print properly. The nonstop buzz of clacking keyboards, crinkling paper and clicking mice (or is it mouses?)—not to mention the occasional spat over an offending semicolon or hyphen—is overseen by production coordinator Norma Parks. Edwin sums it up nicely: “It’s like a family.”
Like the others, Edwin uses his artistic eye to bring his own signature look to his work. Because so much of what he does involves on-the-fly design for the paper’s advertisers, he works hard to preserve the integrity of his own creative voice while still serving the clients’ needs. “Our little team uses fine art and graphic design elements to generate something simple that effectively draws attention to our clients’ messages.”
When he’s not in front of a keyboard, Krumm draws freehand. He works primarily in dry media, including charcoal and pastels, though recently he has branched out to oils. His still-life drawings are strikingly beautiful, and his fondness for shadow and silhouette is readily apparent. Some are so detailed that I actually thought they were photographs.
So the next time you slip into your bunny slippers and settle down to page through the local papers, think about Rehoboth resident Edwin Krumm, whose artistic skills help to make those pages more enjoyable to read.
Bob Yesbek, is a Rehoboth Beach resident. Email Bob Yesbek