Reidar is educated at the State School of Art and Craft (the Oslo National Academy of the Arts (1966-1969)) and Leicester Polytechnic (1970-1971).
He relaunched the air-brush technique of illustration in Norway in 1973.
He worked at AB Bates / PlanDesign (Tangram) and Pentagram, London (1976) from 1971-1977.
In 1977 he established Holtskog&Wold (Alexander Reklamebyrå 1983-) with Terje Wold.
In 1981 he joined Art-Aid as a partner with Sven Skaara and Terje Børresen from 1980-1987 (GRID Design 1987-). He left the firm in 1999 to work at he Oslo National Academy of the Arts.
He has been involved in a number of major design projects of national importance. This includes
Visual Identity Programs for clients like Statoil ( The national oil company), UNI / Storebrand (Major Insurance company), NetCom (the first private Mobile Phone company in Norway),
Høyre (the conservative party of Norway), Focus Bank, the Norwegian Museum of Architecture,
Norge `87 (a major cultural event in 1987 in Gothenburg, Sweden) Norgesprofilen (visual identity for Norway for the Royal Department of Foreign Affairs), the Management of the State Petroleum Fund and Lillehammer `94 (The Winter Olympic Games at Lillehammer 1994 as a working member of DesignGruppen `94. (LOOC)).
Reidar Holtskog has participated in several national and international juries of design, as well as several competent committees. His work has been awarded and have been published in several national and international publications. He has written several articles of design in Norwegian as well as international books and publications. He has been the category leader of the jury of the Award for Design Excellence in 2002, 2003 and 2004 (given by the Norwegian Design Council).
He has been doing several study trips on architecture, art and design. Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Reykjavik, Tokyo, New York, London, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Paris, Nice, Antibes, Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Milan, Rome and Istanbul.
This is what inspires him most, apart from several designers and architects these days:
The swinging lines of expression and sophisticated colors of Edvard Munch, the genius brushstrokes of the French and Dutch Expressionists, the use of colors of Ludvig Karsten, Thorvald Erichsen and Harald Sohlberg. Pointillists like Henri-Edmond Cross and Georges Seurat. The simplicity and blue-color of Yves Klein. The simple, but still expressive images of Inger Sitter and Jan Groth. Francis Bacon`s madness. Fluxus. YBAs. David Hockney`s diverse experiments. Gerard Gasiorowski`s flowers and hats, Jean-Michel Basquiat`s rawness and Julian Schnabel`s earlier works, as a kind of «Genius Naive». Gerhard Richter is probably the one that rarely, or never fails whatever he chooses to do on a canvas. Sol Levitt, who is as accurate as can be, on a surface or a wall with his patterns and geometrical constructions. The personal projects of my friend in US, Ji Lee. O Jun in Japan, who has a strong, graphic naiveness that still has the japanese expression kept in a certain way. And of corse Henry Matisse and female artist like Barbra Kruger and Marlin Carpenter.
Apart from these artists, some Norwegians artist like Olav Christoffer Jensen, Kjell Erik Killi Olsen, Børre Sæthre, Lars Ramberg, Sebastian Helling, Kjersti G. Andvig and Sverre Bjertnes create works that arouse curiosity and admiration. There is in fact a lot going on.
Art spans from pure formal studies, to narrative images, made to talk to people and maybe make you think.
Architects and Designers make the answers and the practical functions, while artists may make pure beauty, questions or provocations. The answer of what Art is, is maybe no answer, rather spiritual mystery after all.