Coffee Sketch Podcast

147 - Sketching the Year of the Dragon

March 11, 2024 Kurt Neiswender/Jamie Crawley Season 6 Episode 147
Coffee Sketch Podcast
147 - Sketching the Year of the Dragon
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Show Notes Transcript

Catching Up and Sketching the Year of the Dragon

In this episode, the hosts engage in a casual chat covering various topics including sports team tactics, coaching changes, and the impact of such changes on fans and teams. They briefly discuss their current coffee choices, highlighting a preference for specialty brands and the simple joy of gas station coffee. The conversation then shifts to a more serious discussion on the academic world, specifically addressing changes in the accrediting board for architecture schools and efforts to make architectural education more accessible. They explore the implications of reducing barriers to entry into the architecture profession, fostering diversity, and the potential for broadening the practice of architecture. The hosts also delve into a creative sketching segment inspired by the Year of the Dragon, discussing their process, architectural inspiration from Taliesin West and Frank Lloyd Wright, and the importance of sketching as a tool for creative expression and problem-solving in the classroom.

00:00 Introduction and Casual Banter
02:03 Coffee Talk: Sharing Personal Stories
02:49 Super Bowl Commercials and Marketing Strategies
05:39 Academic World: Architecture Schools and Licensing
10:39 Sketching Session: Year of the Dragon
18:33 Reflections on Sketching and Teaching
20:56 Conclusion and Farewell

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Kurt on Twitter - https://twitter.com/kurtneiswender

Kurt Neiswender:

Hey, Jamie, how is it going? Was that a two?

Jamie:

Yeah, like the hand gestures. Yeah, it's yeah, I'm getting good. Like hand signals.

Kurt Neiswender:

What do

Jamie:

you like? Like, put me in coach. Yeah, I'm going to be like that assistant coach on the sidelines with those, you know, stealing signs. Well, I'm not going to steal. I'm like, it's not, I don't want to be a catcher. I mean, don't, you know, no, that's, we're not, we're not talking, we're not talking about the baseball.

Kurt Neiswender:

National championship by stealing signs. So yeah, well,

Jamie:

that's probably true. Yeah. You do live in Michigan. So just be careful.

Kurt Neiswender:

I'm, I'm I'm glad they won, but yeah.

Jamie:

Are you glad that he's at the chargers now? Did anyone, did anyone tell him that that's also the chargers?

Kurt Neiswender:

Well, when, when they offer you twice as much money to, to go per year, but the other thing that it, you know, yeah, given, given the little drama that he's had this year, it kind of. It gives me, you know, as a USC alum, it gives me a little flashback of when our, our favorite coach Pete Carroll left amidst some scandal to avoid sanctions and all that fallout. So, I wouldn't be surprised if Michigan gets slapped with some, some. Penalties

Jamie:

anyway, drama to start the podcast. I always fun. Bring

Kurt Neiswender:

the drum. How about you? I mean,

Jamie:

we're, we're, this is episode 147. Like, I mean, the drama is that like, where's episode 145 and 146, but I

Kurt Neiswender:

got to go take me out of here. Oh man, I can't catch a break today. I guess. Thanks. But,

Jamie:

Coffee of the day. What's yours? I have a good story

Kurt Neiswender:

for mine. Cool. Well, I'll get mine out of the way then. Cause I don't have, I don't have a story, but remember I picked up, I think I showed the bag in last month or so it's a Sputnik, it's a brand out of Chicago. I grabbed another bag. So it's like a dark roast. Medium dark and a little chocolatey. It's pretty good too bad. The bags are only like eight ounces. And so like super concentrated. Well, no, I think it just drink it fast. It just disappears faster than say a pound, a one pound or 12 ounce bag.

Jamie:

It's a marketing strategy. It's all of the end quantity. It's all about marketing. You know, you know, we we did talk about some Super Bowl commercials in the green room. You know, one of which was, you know, I thought you were going to say in honor of the Super Bowl commercials. You went out and got Duncan Donuts coffee. Well, yeah,

Kurt Neiswender:

no. Well, I do. Well, I, I told you on my stop to campus on my drive. I do, I do pick up a little Dunkin Donuts.

Jamie:

Yeah. Just between us and the listeners. That's

Kurt Neiswender:

right. Yeah. So what about you? Tell us the story of the day.

Jamie:

Oh, it's just, it's all it is, is like, it's sort of in the same spirit of the Dunkin Donuts. It's the travel, it's the travel, it's the travel coffee. So we don't have the Tim Hortons here for the, you know, the quick travel coffee. But it's, it's a Bucky's coffee,

Kurt Neiswender:

still too, still too far away for up here in Michigan. I think I got to go to Ohio for that. That requires. Going to Ohio.

Jamie:

Right. Right. Right.

Kurt Neiswender:

So is it good, you know, cause you've given me grief about gas station

Jamie:

coffee. Well, I mean, for a gas station coffee, it's, it's, it's at least consistent and, and that's maybe not the right way to start out. But I'll say it's,

Kurt Neiswender:

it's, it's

Jamie:

fresh. It's coffee. There we are. That's the

Kurt Neiswender:

story. Yeah. I mean, we, we were joking about Jamie's in the proof of life route.

Jamie:

I need a newspaper. The closet.

Kurt Neiswender:

Newspaper

Jamie:

just out of reach.

Kurt Neiswender:

So. Yeah. Who's the president? What day is it? All those fun things. Well, we know where, I know where Jamie is. He's on, he's on this live stream. So. Yeah, here we go. Just proof, proof enough for me. So, you know, before we talk about the sketch, cause I know we're going to, we're going to dive right in to a fun sketch. We have hand gestures, signals, just feel things like that. Cause are those, are those minutes? Are you giving me, it's

Jamie:

like a shot

Kurt Neiswender:

clock. Oh yeah. How many grumbles? Well, real quick. And just because I already. I already acquired the time, you know, from, from the speaker.

Jamie:

Are you, are you, are you taking the floor and then also reclaiming your time? Is that what you're saying? I'm

Kurt Neiswender:

reclaiming my time. Yes. You know, we, this is just more like a, an announcement and thing to follow for us and, you know, say, you know, lob it into friends, like. Cormac and Evan at speak or our friends at practice disrupted, but there's an interesting goings on in the academic world between nab their crediting board for architecture schools and carb, which is the licensing organization that kind of takes care of testing and licensing and a CSA, which is a. Another scholastic or collegiate architecture member group. And I don't want to get into all the nitty gritty and all that stuff, but it does, it does bring up an end carb kind of landed with this an interesting point of view toward accrediting, making a four year degree in accredited professional degree, which could lead to. Shortening the overall time one would spend in school, which also then would short lower the cost, which would in concept, open up the opportunity to more people, you know, being able to afford an architecture degree. And a professional degree to get a license in architecture. So, so broadening the tent where we talked a little bit about bigger tents and. Inclusivity, diversity, equity, inclusion, stuff like that, getting more people to into the practice of architecture. So,

Jamie:

well, and trying to eliminate and trying to eliminate barriers. I mean, you know, it's a, you know, it's a, it's a very old system. That for very, for decades and decades, everybody's just recognized how old it was and any moves to alter it. We're all always seen and probably rightly. So as just sort of like playing at the edges you know, not necessarily getting to the core. You know, issues within the education of an architect and the practice of an architect and the maturation of an architect and and who those architects are. I mean, you know, God forbid we actually talk about, you know, what the complexion of the you know, of the profession is you know, percentage wise, you know, kind of where, who, how, you You know, all those types of things but all of those things now, and really in the last decade or so you know, and even more so probably in the last 5 years or so have really accelerated in terms of those discussions. And so what you shared with me, you know, as a current faculty member, kind of reading some of this stuff, and, you know, and me, I mean, I, I, you know, as a former faculty member, also somebody who was at the time they called it IDP, it's called AXP now, but you know, an internship coordinator and I was a faculty coordinator when I was teaching. So and then as a practitioner, I've had plenty of people, you know, that I've, I've mentored and supervised and all those types of things. So it is a, it is a complex process. It's certainly one that is not, it's not easy to look at even when you're in it. And kind of understand it. And so what you sort of shared about that, there's these kind of bigger, broader questions. Yeah, I mean, like, yeah, keep, keep, keep asking the questions. I mean, you know, I, I, I welcome it. I don't know if I completely understand all the things that were being positioned there. There seemed to be some financial kind of back and forth that, that to me sort of muddies the bigger issue, which is. No like you said can we have more architects can we train them in a different model that is shorter and netting and that reduces the barriers to entry and reduces the barriers along that system so that we don't lose people who are quality to our practice and then consequently also if we're training them do they have to traditionally practice as an architect to even be considered one. Can we have that bigger, you know, larger community of folks who are contributing to the practice of architecture or contributing to a dialogue about architects and the built environment and all the other things that oftentimes we find ourselves dealing with you know, in our communities, you know, sort of backing out, you know, in our communities and sort of all the other issues. So I, I, I think it's one that I think we should tackle a little bit more. But, but I think it's a great tie into the sketch today too, at least sort of as a sort of a tip of the iceberg not an ice rink for obvious reasons. That's the

Kurt Neiswender:

inside joke of the day. There we go. Yeah, so, like, in this case, it's,

Jamie:

yeah, so

Kurt Neiswender:

whoever's watching will, well, if, you know, you know, yeah,

Jamie:

gosh, I hope there's a screenshot of this

Kurt Neiswender:

we can. Well, we're recording. So, yeah, I'll grab that timestamp. So well, we recently passed the lunar new year, which, so we are in the year of the dragon. We are or. I thought, as I said, on your Facebook or Instagram post the year of the cracking, huh? Yeah, which is where we're getting into our inside joke. But well, why don't you explain? I mean, well, I'll just say it's a very fun. It's a sweet dragon drawing. You know, dragons are mythical creatures that have. Mythical powers and this is a pretty cool iteration or concept of a nice silhouette dragon breathing fire onto some mid century architecture.

Jamie:

Yeah, so I don't know if, if you've ever been there I know you've studied it in school but Taliesin West. So Frank Lloyd Wright, you know, had Taliesin East or the original Taliesin in Wisconsin, you know, like, you know, that's, that's one for the trivia night, you know, down the street. Where was Taliesin, where was Frank Lloyd Wright's, you know, first major residence and all that fun stuff, school, Wisconsin, who would have guessed it? But the Taliesin West is actually in Arizona and has. Developed into an architecture school and only very recently they've actually, you know, it lost its accreditation. So tying it back to your nab discussion there. And they've also closed the school. But the. It was Wright's residence and then he also had all his acolytes and students there for decades. I think the I believe the building was built in 37 and it's, it's a, it's a pretty sprawling location. I did have the opportunity to visit it once I actually got to take my students on a Maymester there and was able to go to some sites in New Mexico and then also in Arizona so Chaco Canyon and sort of the. New Mexico, Arcosanti in, in Arizona, Palo Saleri, as well as Wrights Taliesin West but in touring the site, one of the things that was a little bit of a surprise, because it wasn't something that I was aware of I had read of these connections to sort of iconography and things like that, and sort of, like you said, sort of this mythical images, but and we all know about his interest in Japanese architecture as well and the, so the dragon is, is an actual statue. It is a fire breathing statue on the, on the campus at, at Taliesin West so the, this, the sculpture actually does breathe fire, and so if you do the night tour, you know, this is sort of the, you know, insider knowledge is definitely do the night, you know, the, the late afternoon or evening tour so that you can see them like the dragon to it's, it's pretty great. Oh,

Kurt Neiswender:

that's cool. You know, I actually, the, the sketch has. Well, now that you've revealed that it's Taliesin West has the, the building in the background and the, the roof overhang with the sort of motif of a, of these sort of darts or arrowhead shapes that Frank Lloyd Wright kind of used. Throughout some of his textile blocks and things like that. And so I saw that little, just a little corner of the dart head. And I was like, Oh, I'm pretty sure this is probably a Frank Lloyd Wright building. And then I didn't actually know about the, the, the on campus dragon and the fire breathing. I actually haven't been there yet. Myself never made it. Quite there and and now so I lived on the west coast didn't make it that far to Taliesin West now I live in the Midwest. I still haven't made it far enough to Wisconsin To to get to the original Taliesin But I did get to the Johnson Wax building last. I

Jamie:

know that was very a lot of envy a lot of envy A lot of architecture envy here for that. I, I'd say that, you know, one thing that, you know, with the sketch you know, and thanks for saying that the silhouette of the dragon was, was really effective. Because that's where the sketch sort of grew out of, you know, there's, there's many times where we talk about, well, how did the sketch start and kind of how did you plan it out? And so because it was the year of the dragon and, and I was trying to think of something that was architectural and, you know, honestly, some of the earliest, you know, thoughts that I had were you know, places in Japan, you know, that I'm, that I'm, that's a, that's a trip I haven't made that I, I would really like to do. And. You know, there's, there's a, you know, Eratos Isasaki buildings that I'm really fascinated with and Tadao Ando, of course, but this is one that sort of just kind of came up to the memory bank and I went and looked at some through some of my photo albums from this trip and. You know, had some where I was trying to capture the flame coming out of the dragon and all that good stuff. But it is, it's, it's a really, it's a really unique feature on the grounds. The grounds are beautiful. You know, you're in sort of that Sonoran type desert. Kind of that people think of Arizona and that area, you know, the desert. So this is, it's cool at night. And so this, it all sort of makes sense a little bit. But then the, the stone of the building. And that's kind of real Frank Lloyd Wright red that's that you're talking about with some, some of those architectural details, all very present you know, even, even in a sketch like this, you know, once it's sort of revealed, you know, what it is, you can start to imagine this black and white sketch with those kind of, you know, richness of textures and colors and, and flames, you know, got to have flames.

Kurt Neiswender:

You know, the last thing I'll say, in general about sketching, sorry if there's a little feedback, but the, uh, this morning with the sketch, I, I actually, I pulled pulled a little bit from our conversations and I asked the prompt today for, for a sketch for class was about a monument. Pick a monument, either Google one or from memory, which was the fun, the fun little joke we had in class was that like half, half of them, a quarter of them, I don't know, a third of them pick the Washington, but then I said, simple doesn't always make it easy. Right, you know, the obelisk shape of the monument. But I, I, I was thinking about, and I, for those that, you know, for those students that are listening, because they, they've figured me out, they know the podcast exists hopefully are looking, you know, watching, and, you know, the sketches that Jamie does, because It has crossed my mind to make the prompt, draw water or sky or fire for this case. And I'm not quite there yet. I'm going to, I'm probably going to get there before the end of the semester, but it will be fun to you know, in the vein of like how we go, it's kind of fun to look at your sketches again. Or, or do these podcasts with you and kind of think about, like, the, the various methods, you know, from a technique standpoint of, of drawing different elements you know, literally elements, right? Fire, air, water, things like that, that, that have, you know, there's meaning, but there's also, you know, complexity and difficulty and how to render these sort of things. And, and Yeah. And I had a little moment of the feel goods after class, and I asked a few of them that were kind of hanging around and, and they, they did, they do still appreciate this exercise. It gets them to kind of wake up a little bit and, you know, use their limbs, you know, they're sketching limbs and all that.

Jamie:

Well, it's, I mean, I still do that. I mean, I, it's, that's, I've said it many times is that I need it to kind of, you know, kind of clear out the cobwebs, you know, in the brain and and challenge myself. I mean, you know, and it's, even if you're sort of feeling a little unfocused or something like that, a really good 10, 15 minute sketch can really, you know, help you think, you know you know, even if it's not a, you know, a fully fleshed out drawing or something like that, I think just the exercise and like you said, the challenge of it you know, the, this one was the challenge of, you know, okay, I got to get this fire, right? And, and what's, and what's that going to be? You know, in this case, it was a lot of stippling. I was, I was trying to figure out how to, to do it when I knew that there was plenty of texture in the background that I also wanted to pick up on. And you know, really that, that silhouette of the dragon came through 1st and that was, that was the easy part. And then it was, how do you start to layer those spaces and these other things? There's some. You know, lots of plants and sort of things like that. So it was like, you know, keeping those super simple you know, real quick lines, quick gestures. So they, they have a little more ethereal quality. But yeah, the, the stippling on the fire you know, it's, you know, it's, it's okay. It's not great. But it was, it was a, it was a good attempt. I'm, I'm glad I tried to do it.

Kurt Neiswender:

Well, I think it's like, it's pretty good looking fire, but yeah, no, thanks. The I think, I think Jamie's, Jamie's going to give me the hand signal. Insert

Jamie:

fire emoji right now.

Kurt Neiswender:

No, thanks. This, this is a lot of fun as, as always. And yeah, I think there, there's some traction and momentum going with the sort of. Parallel activity of the classroom of what's going on. So I have a stack. It's a little messy in this home office because I got stacks of students sketches everywhere that I need to scan and get uploaded on it. But but I'll, I'll let you go and you know, look forward to the next chat.

Jamie:

Yes, absolutely. Thanks, man.