In all the cities I’ve lived in, from the biggest (Memphis, TN) to the smallest (Carlsbad, NM), there has been an area – or two – undergoing some level of revitalization. Knoxville, being a medium-sized town, is no exception and has multiple sections of town being rediscovered and reinvigorated with new businesses. Downtown is a wonderful place to be, no matter what day of the week, the university area is thriving, and an up-and-coming neighborhood, called Fourth & Gill, truly is up and coming. A nonprofit organization I joined last year works as a liaison between local architects and communities to offer pro-bono design solutions for areas like Fourth & Gill, which was the location of their most recent annual fundraiser.
The East Tennessee Community Design Center works with local designers so, of course, there were interesting items to bid on during the silent auction. Out of them all, I locked on to a collection of ink sketches at the end of the long display table and knew right then and there these were going home with me.
Because I love synchronicities, i.e. “meaningful coincidences.”
An artist I met at the Knoxville Farmers’ Market first told be about Brian Pittman. As I listened to him describe Brian’s work, I had this feeling that, if it was what I imagined, it would be the perfect artwork to hang on the wall of my future office/studio.
Utilizing my strategic silent-auctioning skills, I came away with my prize.
In his bio, Brian writes:
If we could combine the selfless, lifetime dedication of a town, its artisans, and laborers to the architectural glories of God with the masterful construction methods and materials of modern construction, what kind of monument would man build to their creator forever reaching for the heavens? In other words, what if man could build a cathedral to the proportions of a skyscraper?
~ Brian Pittman, architect and artist
I truly believe this collection of sketches will be a deep source of inspiration for me. I’ve already written about my yearn for the return of church architecture that actually resembles a house of God. Even though Brian’s cathedrals are fictional (which is quite creative in itself), they convey that sense of grandeur that is missing from churches today and a plea for the return of craftsmanship. Maybe his act of drawing them will renew a desire for the heavenly in the religious community’s architecture.
Also, his drawings have already inspired me to get over – for real this time – my fear of sketching. I love how he left his penciled guidelines. For some reason, this small detail takes away some of the mystery of drawing for me.
Through the power of suggestion, one local artist led me to another, which led to me being excited about drawing my first building.
I won’t be starting out with a Gothic cathedral, however.