Shorewood Kiwanis Harper Charity Cruise logo inspired by midcentury art

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published February 1, 2019

 Mark O’Brien, chairman of Roy O’Brien Ford, congratulates Jeff Sornig, of Chesterfield Township, on his winning logo for the 2019 Shorewood Kiwanis Harper Charity Cruise Jan. 25 at Macomb Community College.

Mark O’Brien, chairman of Roy O’Brien Ford, congratulates Jeff Sornig, of Chesterfield Township, on his winning logo for the 2019 Shorewood Kiwanis Harper Charity Cruise Jan. 25 at Macomb Community College.

Photo by Sean Work

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Jeff Sornig, of Chesterfield Township, served in the United States Marine Corps for years.

As a Marine, he said he had always liked drawing, but didn’t do much while serving his country. He retired in 2012, however, and began taking classes at Macomb Community College the following year. His degree was put on hold after two years, though, for a 13-week internship at Nickelodeon Studios in California.

He parlayed that experience into a job for the next two years and only recently returned to the college, where he will receive his associate degree in imaging and illustrations this year.

“I really only came around to art after I retired,” Sornig said.

All that experience has paid off, though, as Sornig was named the winner of the Shorewood Kiwanis Harper Charity Cruise logo contest. His winning design was created with inspiration from midcentury design and United Productions of America (UPA)-style art.

Although he’s always been a fan of 1970s muscle cars, he sought inspiration from the 1959 model year, modeling his design around a light blue Corvette.

“I naturally gravitate more to the cartoony,” Sornig said during the Jan. 25 award ceremony. “I looked at the previous designs. I wanted to do something different.”

The way he created the design, he said, “made a lot of extra work for myself ... how it translates into a silk-screen design.”

The third-place winner, Jeannie Skirpan, of Harrison Township, said she asked her father for inspiration for her design.

“He told me to do the ‘Bullitt’ Mustang from the movie,” she said.

That was “candy to a Ford dealer,” according to Mark O’Brien, of Roy O’Brien Ford, one of the presenting sponsors of the contest.

Skirpan said she worked from a photo she liked to create the design.

“We had lots of entries,” said design teacher Kris Mellebrand. About 60 students participated.

The second-place winner was Allison Ray, of Shelby Township.

Sornig received $1,000 for his first-place design. Second place was awarded $650 and third place took home $350, with prizes provided by Shorewood Kiwanis and Roy O’Brien Ford. The students also received matching scholarships from the Foren Family Foundation Engineering and Advanced Technology Fund from the Macomb Community College Foundation.

Mellebrand said she asked Sornig, specifically, to submit a design.

“I knew how good he was. I was very pleased. He’s an interesting guy,” she said.

“Obviously, you have talent. It took me right back to my childhood,” O’Brien said. “You’ve got a great career ahead of you.”

Shorewood Kiwanis member Dr. Carl Papa, one of the judges, said there were dozens of great designs submitted for the contest.

“It’s great experience for them,” he said. “The Harper Cruise is such a huge thing for St. Clair Shores and a huge fundraiser for Shorewood Kiwanis.”

This year’s cruise will be held Aug. 28 on Harper Avenue from Old Eight Mile Road to Bayside Street. The cruise raises money for Kiwanis charities, as well as partner charities CARE of Southeastern Michigan, the Macomb Chamber Music Society, the St. Clair Shores Cultural Committee, Maggie’s Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan and Lakeshore Family YMCA.

“This is a team effort,” said Rosanne Minne, co-chair of the cruise.

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