Stephenson Showcase: Sayger/McGill’s “A Great Creative Debate”

Stephenson Showcase: Sayger/McGill’s “A Great Creative Debate”

Muscled, spandex-clad superheroes versus fuzzy bunnies in striped sweaters.
Moonlit, gritty city rooftops versus sunny meadows.
Dark, moody character studies versus colorful, detailed botanical studies.

These are the artistic battles that are waged daily in the Sayger-McGill Household.

Aili McGill and Stuart Sayger met in 2013 and initiated a creative debate that has endured nearly 10 years. 

Aili McGill

Sayger is an internationally celebrated illustrator, working primarily in the comic book industry, known for projects such as “Lego:Bionicle,” “Joker: Year of the Villain,” “The Walking Dead,” “Kiss: Zombies,” as well as his own comic book series “Shiver in the Dark” and many other titles. He’s known for his moody, atmospheric style that combines mixed media drawings with computer coloring and effects.

McGill is a visual and performing artist whose illustration career began at age 13, submitting drawings to the Fortville Community Shopper newspaper. She published her first children’s book The Owl and the Pussycat Went to Sea, based on Edward Lear’s historic poem, through a Kickstarter campaign in 2016 and produced a collection of comics called “The Misadventures of a Bad Bunny” in 2021. McGill loves studying nature in her work, utilizing bright watercolors and oil pastels in many of her pieces.

Even though their styles vary wildly, the two have been drawing creative inspiration and strength from each other throughout their courtship and married in a private, backyard ceremony in September of 2020.

Stuart Sayger

“Stuart gave me the nudge I needed to reawaken my illustration career. Without him, I never would have produced my first children’s book. He not only provided the graphic design expertise I needed, he also was unfalteringly enthusiastic, giving me praise and constructive feedback exactly when I needed it,” says McGill. “I never expected just how gratifying it would be to end up with someone who lives and breathes art: with Stuart, I always have a partner with whom I can go to museum exhibits, talk through creative roadblocks, and even build an art collection. We even have an ongoing conversation in illustrated love letters. It’s a remarkably beautiful life we’ve built together.”

“Aili can do anything,” Sayger says. “Her creativity knows no bounds. I have to work hard just to keep up with her. And that’s a great thing: I never dared to dream that I could have the kind of life we’ve built together. She’s a great partner in life and in the studio.”

Explore their artwork and the products of their creative debates throughout the month of November in the Stephenson House. Stuart and Aili will be on hand during Day of the Dead on Nov 1 from 3-7 pm, First Friday on Nov 4th from 6-9 pm, and on Small Business Saturday from 10 am until early afternoon. The couple will host a reception on the evening of Wednesday, Nov 23rd from 6-9  pm – Stuart will invite his ‘comic book family’ of social media followers to join him at Nickel Plate that evening, live and on Facebook.

Les Reinhardt
lreinhardt@nickelplatearts.org