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


SumGreater said...

I really like your short-term and long-term goals. You do excellent, precise, and beautiful work, so I can only imagine you will succeed beautifully.

If I had your skill set, there are a couple of beautiful places I would draw as well. First would be a section of the Blue Ridge Mountains from above as a topographical map with pretty lines showing the descending height of the mountains and me as a tiny dot on it. Second would be the cemetery where my daughter is buried, but in your style with wonderfully clean lines and high perspective. It would show markers, paths, and trees, with something special right at her spot.

I know those things aren't really what your focus is--because you're doing those wonderful cities and buildings--but those are places that are special to me. I like that you celebrate place as a piece of our hearts in your art. (I totally just made a poem there! :) )

Kirsten Sparenborg Brinton said...

Thank you, SumGreater. I have some preliminary topo drawings of the Blue Ridge I would like to expand and your daughter's cemetery tugs at my heart and my drawing hand. I would love to draw these special places, with your memory in mind.