A Little Bit About Robert

Robert was born and raised in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. He lived with his parents, Bob and JoAnne, and older brother, David, in a small apartment on a busy street above the Krause Sign Studio. While growing up Robert would drive to Michigan on weekends with his parents and brother where they had a second home in the Saugatuck/Douglas area. Robert loved spending time in Saugatuck and knew he wanted to make it his home someday.

With a God given gift for artistic talent, it was only natural that when Robert graduated from high school in 1977, he would follow in his fathers footsteps and along with his brother, David, become the 4th generation of sign artists. Robert says he went to the school of hard knocks as he worked through his apprenticeship. After working together for a few years, Robert's parents moved to Michigan, making their second home their primary residence, and leaving the sign business in Illinois to Robert and David.

The brothers worked together for 13 years before Robert took the risk and ventured out on his own by buying a house in a small subdivision off the Lake Michigan shore in the Saugatuck/Douglas area. Now he had a house in the area he loved, but no work, so with his sleeping bag along, he commuted to Chicago and worked at the Krause Sign Studio for a few days a week. The rest of the week he’d work out of his 1&1/2 car garage attached to his home in Saugatuck. He even built a billboard rack in his backyard to hold a billboard while he painted it, (good thing the backyard was very private).

After a couple of years the time working in Chicago would become less and the time working in Saugatuck would become more, and he knew Saugatuck was finally his home. It was right around then that he married his girlfriend of 4 years, Sigrid. They have two children together, an older boy, Bobby, and a younger daughter, Haley. Now that Robert is a dad, he would discover the world of Boy Scouts. Never having been a scout himself growing up, he could now enjoy it with Bobby. How fortunate to have everything fall into place.

Eventually Robert bought a building on 2422 Blue Star Hwy. by the corner of M-89, which he turned into the Robert Krause Sign Studio. Robert encourages visitors to drop in by keeping the garage door open, even on chilly days. Upon entering the sign studio, visitor’s probably first notice young children's artwork hanging on the walls and cupboards, and one might think Robert has young kids. No, just a proud dad who has taped up pictures over the years and can’t bare to take them down. Second thing one might notice is the absence of fancy equipment, that’s because there isn’t any. Robert still does everything the old fashioned way, the way he leaned from his dad, who learned from his dad, who learned from his dad. Every sign is designed and made 100% by hand.

Apart from creating beautiful signs, Robert also paints murals on inside or outside walls, letters and paints pictorials on vehicles and boats. Robert has even carved sayings in a different language on the beams inside someone's home. If you can think it, he can do it.

This year, 2014, marks the 37th year that Robert has been producing beautiful signs. The manor in which he creates his signs is a dying art. It doesn’t look like there will be a 5th generation, although the talent is there, Haley is co-designer of Saugatuck’s Oval Beach Sign and she refurbished the Mt. Baldhead sign but that’s as far as it goes, for now anyway.

Robert likes to say he works with three people: “me, myself and I,” but there is a 4th person, because we all know that behind every successful man stands a women, in Robert’s case, that would be his wife and author of this biography, Sigrid. Thank you for reading.

The Big Signs

Robert self taught and expanded the Krause Sign business into outdoor advertising. He now owns 5 double face mono-pole billboards, 2 large wooden structured billboards, on various highways in midwest Michigan, and a handful of mini billboards lined up and down Blue Star Hwy. in the Saugatuck/Douglas area.

See Our Outdoor Advertising

The Signs

The signs are made out of redwood or high density foam, (the foam is actually more durable than wood) and it’s either carved or sandblasted, (or both) they are painted and if the customer likes, he can have 23 ct gold leaf added, and, or a 3D carved cutout. “The sign looks the worst when it is new,” he will tell his customer. “After the sign has weathered, the gold will get polished, making it more vibrant than ever.” Robert loves to look at the face of his customer as he shows them their sign for the first time, he says he doesn’t need to look at the sign, after all, he’s been looking at it the whole time he’s been creating it, what he loves is to see the happy expressions on his customers faces.

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