Monday, September 30, 2013

Architecture USA: in the Works

Just a Preview of this week's Project -- The regional differences in American architecture will pair with their respective regions and illustrate a relationship between a region's climate, culture, and topography and its ways of building. A focus on small dwellings. I spent last week drawing this topographical map of America and am beginning the house drawings. Figuring out how to "pair" the houses and the land is my challenge - an architect's perennial dilemma!
In the meantime, I'm also snatching the states from this large topographical drawing and pairing them with a quintessential house type and state tree, as small prints and postcards, like these for South Carolina, featuring a Charleston side porch house.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Turn-of-the-Centuries: Why Draw?

All summer, I've been pondering a "post-graduation" post. What I learned in grad school, how I will apply that now, where I see my work in 20 years...Huge thanks to all of my professors and classmates for all they helped me learn... But I just could not tear myself away from making drawings, forging into new horizons, developing new ideas, seeing what's over the hill ahead, not contemplating the past.  I've definitely had thoughts of gratitude and direction made possible by my experience at the University of Virginia, School of Architecture. But I've been waiting for a quiet contemplative moment, at the top of a mountain, to write - and I never seem to be at the top. There is always another hill to climb! [These new works of the summer will find their way to this blog in the next few months, along with other new works inspired by place, architecture, travel, memory...]

Now, it's fall and I need to stake my claim and move forward. I will take this from a more immediate perspective, from real and recent situations: How to answer the question, "So, what do you do?" at a party and How to answer, for an article in an alumni magazine, "Where are you now and what are your career goals/aspirations?"  Sometimes clarity comes from thinking in the back of your mind, over time, then calling up those thoughts in a moment, no editing or filtering. So, here goes. These are my intentions for Turn-of-the-Centuries.

the short story:
I make Architectural Map-Drawings of places people love. They buy prints of drawings I've made, or commission new ones and hang them on their walls, give as gifts, send them as postcards. Organizations commission me to make drawings to commemorate or celebrate special places, like their headquarters, their main street, their town - kind of like in the 19th century when every city in America wanted to boost itself with a Bird's Eye View drawing. I'm intrigued by that tradition. I hope to make a small dent in the documentation of historic places in the 21st century with my drawings. I hope to help people appreciate historic buildings and places and contribute to the conversation that may ultimately preserve them.

the longer story:
I love drawing architecture. I love maps. I want to capture PLACES I love by drawing them. And I hope to share these places, this love, with PEOPLE, with you

Do you have a special PLACE in your heart? For me, and perhaps for you, life holds greater meaning thanks to the experiences we share with people and places. Memories are created in places that leave an imprint on our hearts. Bear with my mush... These PLACES remind us of treasured people and experiences. Childhood, Friendship, College years, Travel, First house, Dates, Engagement & Marriage, Children, Grandchildren. I love to draw a PLACE that holds such meaning. I feel it and I love it when others do, too.

What makes a place beloved? Historic buildings attest to the accumulation of these memories over time and, often, old buildings are loved more than they are valued in monetary terms. The National Trust publishes 11 Most Endangered historic places each year. And there are so many more. I create visual resources - drawings, maps, graphics - that help illuminate the value of historic buildings and places. Check out how the small but growing historic town of Eastport Maine is harnessing ART to appreciate, sustain and preserve their community - both culturally and architecturally - via The Tides Institute & Museum of Art
[I'm thrilled to be one of the artists contributing to their renaissance. I completes a Streetscape drawing in 2011 and am currently working on a contemporary Bird's Eye View.]
Water Street, Historic District, Eastport, Maine.  The Tides Institute & Museum of Art.  Kirsten Sparenborg, Turn-of-the-Centuries, 2011. 

So, by drawing beloved PLACES, I can support:
1. Personal Expression of Memory and Meaning
2. Public and Personal Appreciation of Historic Buildings & Places
3. Preservation of Historic Buildings & Places
through personal acquisition, personal commission and public or institutional commission. [contact me]

but, wait! PEOPLE and their relationships are ripe for meaningful art, too. (note: I'm talking abstractly here. I do not draw people. I do not have that gift. : )  I draw Family Trees (and "Family Seas") for special gifts and family reunions. I also love to design wedding Save-the-Date cards. These uniquely combine PEOPLE + PLACE to celebrate a very special memory in the making.

I love doing this. I hope I can do something for you, to help visualize, commemorate, celebrate PLACES and PEOPLE that hold special meaning for you. I'm so grateful to be able to do what I love, to learn every day, with each new project. I'm grateful for the mentors, professors and friends who have taught me and helped me toward opportunities that have pushed me to learn to research and write, and to draw. I'm grateful for all of you who support me by purchasing my prints and postcards and books, for commissioning me to bring your memory to fruition by drawing. THANK YOU!

Kirsten Sparenborg Brinton

Architectural Map-Drawings to Date: September 2013

*click larger*       TOTC Architectural Map-Drawings to Date: September 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

STAUNTON Virginia's West Beverley Street: Print & Postcard

Staunton Virginia's "main street", Beverley Street, in a veritable museum of architectural styles, thanks to turn-of-the-century eclectic architect T.J. Collins.
Thanks to architectural historians and architects (Frazier Associates), business owners, leaders, planners and preservationists (Historic Staunton Foundation) over the past four decades, Staunton's architectural heritage has been preserved and utilized. A stroll today down Beverley in downtown Staunton offers antique, jewelry, gifts and book shops, a fine cigar and gentlemens' accoutrements shop, live music and fantastic restaurants - leave room for gelato afterwards at the Split Banana in the old Masonic Temple!
The Masonic Temple was designed by Chicago architect I.E.A. Rose and built in 1896.
The National Valley Bank was designed by T.J. Collins and this portion, center, was built in 1903.
I'm kind of keen on those triangular flag banners. Homemade white fabric banners like this decorated the Sears Hill Bridge Re-Opening here at the Depot in April - and I was smitten. Beverley Street's no stranger to festive decoration - wait 'til you see my Woodrow Wilson-inspired Staunton Print, in the works...
Of course -- Postcards, too! A souvenir to send, or keep.
The banner flags draping the back of the card kind of remind me of the tricolor stripe on international  AirMail envelopes.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Exploring STAUNTON Virginia

The sun woke me up this morning on a holiday. So I chased it around downtown Staunton, from the churches of Frederick Street to the Shopfronts of Beverley Street.
Worthington Hardware; Gooch & Hoge Building & Masonic Building. 10 block Beverley Street.
View west down Beverley Street (at Market Street.)
made [By the People; For the People]. new shop on Beverley Street selling AMERICAN-made goods. Can't wait to visit!
Clocktower Building (old YMCA), Gooch & Hoge, Masonic Building. Beverley Street.
National Valley Bank, Beverley Street. T.J. Collins, Architect.
Warehouses facing the Railroad Depot, Middlebrook Avenue.
Watching trains from the newly refurbished Sears Hill Bridge.
View over Staunton from Sears Hill on the Sears Hill Bridge Day, April 2013.
Flowers are always in season at the flower lady's house on Beverley Street. (click larger)
Thanks for sharing some of my favorite places in Staunton. I'm beginning to draw now...keep in touch to see which of my favorite sites I draw this week. Hope you like!

Monday, September 2, 2013

This is STAUNTON Virginia

Staunton Postcard, 1908.
This week, let's go to STAUNTON.
I visited here first in 1995 with my new best friend, Kathy, from architecture school. We stopped at her mother's home in Staunton on the way back to school from the Rem Koolhaas lecture at the National Building Museum in Washington DC. She drove me through town and I was impressed with the hills - so steep! A road trip through beautiful western Virginia with my mom landed us here at a B&B several years later. A marriage to a JMU doctoral student brought me here this year to live. We love it. Our favorite thing to do is explore Staunton so we cherish the few times we've had here after a very busy semester and a summer spent mostly out of town and look forward to many more Staunton explorations!  I'm so excited to draw Staunton's main street, Beverley Street, this week. Keep in touch --
STAUNTON VIRGINIA. by Kirsten Sparenborg, 2013
STAUNTON VIRGINIA.  Map by Kirsten Sparenborg, 2013
Staunton, 1857. Lith. Woldemar Rau. Copyright Ed. Beyer. Library of Congress.
View from Sears Hill, Postcard, early 1900s.
Perspective Map of the City of Staunton, 1891. Library of Congress.