Friday, January 29, 2010





From time to time we stumble upon designers/illustrators/artists whose creative work we dig. When we do we feel the need to share and let the people in on the secret. Out on the left coast in the upper region of Cali (the San Francisco Bay Area to be right and exact), the designer/illustrator Kaseem Greene creates images for the music industry and drinks a lot of lemonade due to an unyielding pursuit of the perfect swig (of the juice).

Below is part of a convo with the designer and some examples of his work.

DW: Have you heard of the graphic designer Art Sims and his work? I'm a big fan of the design work he's done over the years. He's broken through some barriers.

KG: Oh most definitely I've heard of Art Sims, works with Spike Lee a lot. Done some other great things too. One of the first black graphic designers heavily involved in the whole Hollywood scene.
I really enjoyed the blog post you wrote about him, and the quote citations were a real trip too.
You always hear stories about how black folks are still treated as Second-class citizens in the Movie business; it's crazy it still goes on behind the scenes as well. But dude's done really well for himself for the sure fact that he refuses to quit, which I'm quite positive can be a harrowing experience giving those types of conditions. I would say even more-so now because of ALL THE PEOPLE that say or claim to be Graphic Designers, it's a real battlefield!

DW: Yeah. They tripped me out reading them at first as well. Had to throw those up for cats to taste.

KG: Happy you did put those up there, 'cause it let's you know it's not all good out there; the b.s still exists.

DW: Yeah. And it's the same in the areas out there in Hollowwood. I mean, I can't imagine the battles that Spike Lee has had to endure to keep going and not give up. Hell, russell Simmons and what he's done, especially when he first started out in the late 70's and early 80's.

KG: "Hollowwood", loves that! I feel it; it's just a part of the game I suppose. I remember reading an article in WaxPoetics with Bill Withers when he said that during the 70's, he went to a Hollywood meeting about doing the soundtrack for a film, and he brought up the subject of having BLACK writers WRITE the film (since it starred Black folks). Some cat told him to his face 'Black writers can't write." Bill said he was trying to hold back from hitting the dude. ILL stuff...

DW: Yeah. Hollywood and the record industry drove Bill Withers out of there... for years man! He was on NPR sometime last year, or the year before, talking about why he’s been away for so long. He said he had to jet.

KG: It's not for everyone; especially if you're used to being rooted in reality with real world consequences. A majority of the time you can just stop answering the phone and returning e-mails in the Entertainment Industry. Which ironically enough Bill Withers mentioned he couldn't get his own label to do for about 10+ years.

DW: Can you share with me your thoughts on your working within the graphic design and visual communications industries?

KG: From my perspective, it just appears that in recent years, there's been a huge influx of people believing they can become Graphic Designers because they think it's easy to do; when the reality is that it's really a daunting task. I don't feel like the love and respect is all the way there.

DW: But do you think this is because they think it’s a get quick rich scheme kind of thing? Because, as I’m sure that you can attest to (as well as myself), it is not the case.

KG: No doubt, I co-sign what you're saying; when I first got in the game, and even still to a certain extent now, considering the scope of some projects you may be working on, you still find yourself working for practically nothing / pennies on the dollar. But yeah, I'm sure a lot of people ARE thinking it's a get-rich-quick scheme; but it's probably not the only reason. In addition to that, I just think it's trendy to be a designer; something to say so you can appear cool / in-the-know. Sort of like being a DJ. EVERYONE wants to be a DJ now, and can't mix Kool-Aid.

When I make that personal observation of "ALL THE PEOPLE...etc", I'm not speaking on the people with a real passion for learning the craft of Graphic Design, that genuinely fall in love with it and are dying to explore; god bless them. I'm talking about all these folks out there running and grabbing Photoshop and Illustrator and Maya 3D, and haven't taken the time out to learn / explore how to draw or paint, or know anything about color theory, perspective, form, composition, layout, paste-up and drafting their own typefaces; or even take the time to research / read up on the history of what they're trying to learn. In a nutshell, fundamentals are essential to ensure a good 'shelf-life' for an artist; if that makes sense at all. Without them, designers drop off like flies, and believe me, they do.

And please don't misunderstand me, folks don't even NEED a fancy / expensive art school to learn those fundamental things I mentioned earlier; just have a serious passion to learn. I feel we learn best by just DOING, and making mistakes and taking @ss-whoopings. I'm not trying to judge and stamp people "Worthy" or "Unworthy" 'cause that's overstepping my bounds and exhaustive, but what I am saying is learn about what you're (generally speaking) getting into before you stake your claim; a lot of cats aren't doing that 'cause they're thinking "Well hell, I can do that!"”

DW: Where is that type of thinking coming from?

KG: Technology. Especially with all of these fantastic software programs that are out; they create the illusion for some that "it's not hard to be an artist, you can do it too!" But the reality is that while the software programs serve as great tools, they're not the end-all-be-all in the design process. Again, I think technology made it a little bit more of a "Yes, you can do it too" reality for those less artistically inclined, or those without the ways and means (or talent) to receive proper exposure. In any event, the technology boosted their confidence to jump out there, whereas before they were even afraid to try, or willing to take a risk that could result in a lofty commitment where actual skill would have to eventually be applied to sustain life.

The convenience factor is there with technology, it's right at our fingertips. We (generally speaking) don't need to do a lot of the "heavy-lifting" traditionally associated with certain tasks, like design (like comping & setting type on Vellum). True for some, not all.... In some cases that's great (not having to do a lot of heavy-extra work), but in other cases it's a bad thing, because I think it's possible to lose some of the Passion associated with the process. Like Printmaking; There's a real passionate process involved in Printmaking by hand, damn near agonizing! Ha ha ha, but the results are so beautiful once you get it right. A designer friend of mine describes it as "warmth"...

I heard someone say (I forget who, forgive me) recently something to the effect that the technology benefits the artist by allows us to explore & push boundaries more (creatively speaking) than we previously been able to. While this idea makes sense and is valid, it kind of makes me think of Nuclear Energy. We can be inspired to do 'Good' things with our expanded knowledge, but we can also be inspired to do 'Bad' things with it. Maybe that's a $h!tty way to put it...

So if I'm Buddy X dude who wants to charge $50 for corporate identity, I'm just a font selection and a couple of clicks away from getting paid. Like "I'll make it easy on myself, whip up these logos real fast, charge $50 a pop, get paid" There's nothing wrong with hustling and making some quick bread, it's a 'Good' thing, but you can also get so caught up hustling you forget about the 'Bad' things that can happen.

For example, what if the company Buddy X gave the logo to for $50 blows the eff up and makes Millions; he's gonna feel pretty dumb for only charging $50 for a logo, AND more than likely being forgotten about by the client in favor of a big time studio with all the trimmings, who'll charge a damn sight more than $50 for the logo when they 'Re-Brand' it. May not happen like that, but it may.

But to say something positive in the direction of technology, the technology at-large has also allowed people an outlet to express themselves; you don't have to wait to be recognized anymore by Apparel, Music, Film & Video giants. You can control your own fate by creating your own products, sell & market them on the Internet. You can stop asking and start taking. But that doesn't stop those results of creative freedom from generating 'Good' and 'Bad' results.

All that to say, I guess you have to take the 'Good' with the 'Bad' and keep it moving.

DW: I hear this. but all you have to do is look around at all the really great stuff and you’ll clearly see the difference between top shelf work and really low end $50.00 logo design types of designers, etc. I can spot that stuff. I’m not mad at anyone for wanting to get in the mix. Do your thing. But it impacts all of us economically today and going into the future. We all should be able to make a good living working. But people getting photoshop and then offering their services for $50.00 to do logos and the like--low-balling/low bidding to get work, doing spec work and entering all of these design contests for free, only to not get awarded the project- It feels really exploitative- cheap.

KG: True, true. It's a given that you (as in DW) and quite a few others can discern between the cheap and the top-shelf, because you've tuned your radar a different way, you've studied, observed and experimented; You're the real deal because you're in the trenches (DW). But what about the public-at-large who doesn't really care about process, passion and warmth? All the people know is "I like It / I'll buy it" or "I don't like it / I won't buy it". What's twisted about that is, most of the time people don't even like things for themselves, it's because they've seen someone they admire or roll with co-signing 'X' product. So for example, if ONE talented Artist starts putting ill Skull illustrations in their artwork, web sites, logos, t-shirts, then you can expect 10,000 "not-so-talented" cats to imitate the talented artist, and make their OWN Skull-related design / artwork, and sell it dirt-cheap! I mean like $50-for-a-logo-design-DIRT-CHEAP! I'm not saying that the public CAN'T understand or recognize the difference, or even appreciate it, I'm just saying 'Herd-Poisoning' is very real.

And It is SUPER-exploitative! But it seems like you kind of have to allow yourself to be exploited to even get a shot; low-balling / low-bidding comes with the territory. A lot of cats aren't really concerned because they're just hungry, they're passion overrides any idea they have about monetary gain; and let's keep it funky, we've all been there at one point, still are to a certain extent. We'll take Shorts just to get our foot in the door to certain parties.

Contests are a real bug-out because what usually happens is, the person(s)/company that issued the competition have already gotten what they want, from who they want! Of course, PRIOR to stating there's going to be a 'Contest'. So they're getting all of this free work out of the artists, then using it as reference material or creating an 'Idea Bank' in which they can pull inspiration from later! What makes a Contest even worse is that, when you enter one, they stress in the application contract that (paraphrasing) "Any work you send will become to sole property of the Company, and can be used in anyway to promote, sell products."

Spec work is the same way to a certain extent, but a lot of the time, again, it's one of the only ways to gain entry into the game, including for the bonafied designers; you're going to do spec work at some point early on, it's just a way of paying dues; again, I think it comes with the territory. A friend of mine told me one day straight up "You've gotta get screwed, it's just a part of being a designer; it happens to everyone. You can't really avoid it; you're paying dues.

DW: Paying dues.

KG: I feel the true-blue designer deals with it by just constantly pushing themselves to create jaw-dropping, exciting work for the purpose of making themselves stand out more in the marketplace; and do it with a smile, in between all the grunting and cursing of course, ha ha ha ha. Not an easy task by any stretch, but well worth the risk. I don't think designers gain anything by being upset about the bandwagon-jumpers; it is what it is. Also you can never rule out the variable of X - the unknown, because you never know, some of those same people who aren't for real might accidentally give birth to a great idea, blow up and become well-respected designers. Some of the greatest logos in the known world were created by people who WEREN'T technically Graphic Designers.

DW: Yes, some of the greatest logos were designed by people who were not designers. A great example of this for me is Def Jam recordings founder Rick Rubin. He designed the world famous Def Jam logo himself as a budding record producer and NYU law student. Note: He did not design the Technic 1200 tone arm illustration though.

KG: I always heard that story about the Def Jam logo; that's a trip. Wu-Tang's "W" Bat logo has a similar non-designer-becomes-designer story associated with it as well. The logo was created by DJ Mathematics, the Wu's main DJ, who also dabbled in Graffiti. The RZA, so goes the story, asked him to create it in a last minute rush of sorts. I've read about it in many different little side pieces...They never really say much other than what I just mentioned.

DW: That’s interesting. I had not heard the story behind the Wu-Tang mark.

KG: What did you think of Snoop's first album cover "Doggystyle"? I ask you this question because the artwork has been up for debate since...well since the album initially dropped. Since we've been politickin' about Art & Design n' Stuff. This particular subject seems to be a hot topic among Hip-Hop Design junkies. The general sentiment amongst Designers is that IT SUCKS (as I'm sure you've been made aware of already by others); and only happened because the Artist 'Joe Cool' Arnaud is Snoop's cousin, which I've heard as being described as 'Nepotism at it's finest'.

DW: Well, I don't know the back story behind the politics of that album cover being created. However, you are right. The merits of the cover’s design has been a topic of concern amongst those interested in the design of album covers. It has been a debate for some years now. My opinion? I think the cover is fine as a piece of illustration. But in terms of album cover design, it does not work well as a piece of graphic communication. The piece just does not communicate well to the person viewing it (referring to the typography, color, etc.). It's just not clear.

KG: But couldn't that be something that makes this particular album cover great? The fact that it's not effective graphic communication in the way that we traditionally recognize and respect it as graphic / fine artists? It impacted people, albeit negatively, to the point where the controversy eventually lead to certain individuals wanting it banned from shelves (mf's were extra-salty behind that cover, all on MTV News with it); but it generated a reaction nonetheless, which propelled that cover into a nice little conversation piece involving the history / validity of certain album cover design; which is what all designers aim for; a reaction every time they create a piece.

The “Doggystyle” cover comes off to me as a perfect example of one of those things that the Public-at-Large doesn't care about; what I mean that to say is they aren't thinking about how unclear the type is*, or the fact that Joe Cool's drawings display no concept of dimension & form whatsoever... (*Yet it is hand-drawn typography which is the biggest thing going right now in Design, even the $h!tty kind.)

The people love / loved that album 'cause it's a classic (on the West Coast anyways). They love / loved it SO much, I remember EVERYONE in 'The Town' (Oakland that is) rocked t-shirts with the cover on them; cats walkin' around with the 'Snoop' and 'Rat-Tat-Tat' characters too, airbrushed on their clothes, hats, and cars! And not just The Town, back down to L.A., a lot of Young bloods was flossin' something from that cover. Then from that, it transferred over to the White kids, 'cause we were rockin' it so hard. So for me, yeah it's a huge piece of crap, but so are a lot of other album covers (ANYTHING done by Pen N' Pixel anyone?), that defined Hip-Hop and will stick out in our minds forever for whatever reason.

DW: Yeah. The argument is valid and it can go back and forth. I wouldn't say the cover's crap (but I'm not mad at you for feeling that way about it). I believe the cover works as an illustration piece more than a functional piece of graphic design visual communication (as we've come to understand graphic design in terms of the profession's principals). And just because the album was a commercial success does not mean the cover is.

KG: Maybe I'm being too crass:) It's not crap, but it's not great. Truthfully it could've been worse, they could've had Lil' Boogie n' Nem from down the street do it.

DW: I believe the cover works as an illustration piece more than a functional piece of graphic design visual communication (as we've come to understand graphic design in terms of the profession's principals). And just because the album was a commercial success does not mean the cover is.

KG: True, but on the strength of the album's success (the music), they were able to move A LOT of merchandise (i.e. - clothing, posters) just because the public wanted a visual representation to go along with the sounds they were feelin' / their love for Snoop. I think the cover illustration provided this by default. It was successful if for no other reason than because there was nothing else to put up beside it. Not because it was dope, but because that was all there was to consume.

DW: You could argue that Snoop's album's success is derived more from the success of Dr. Dre's “The Chronic”. If it was not snoop's project but someone else's, would it have been as much of a hit? Would the cover have found its way into so many people's homes where the argument for the cover’s worth/value has been raging? I don't know.

KG: I seriously doubt it! Definitely not. It would've went over with little or no fanfare. Maybe even been largely ignored. That brings up a whole 'nother subject too; How does the MUSIC itself influence the visual landscape? Like, even if the music is good or just popular, how do the visual elements that come with it in the form of videos & packaging become accepted?

DW: It's a similar thing with graffiti. A lot of people love graff but graff is not the discipline of graphic design. It is a form of illustration- fine art. And when you look back at some of the covers during the 80's, some of the covers are splashed with graff and they are not very visually communicative. But at the same time there are people who love graff and swear by its aesthetics.

KG: True, true. But you couldn't even share that with a lot of people, 'cause they wouldn't understand the point you are trying to make; especially when it comes to a Hip-Hop album cover. However these days, it does appear that Hip-Hop as related to Music packaging is trying to move away from Graffiti-styled covers. You may see an occasional hand-style "tag" writing for a track listing or something, but that's about it. A lot of the cats that do Graff are now moving into Graphic Design because they've seen it work for countless others before them. Not to mention, it's not like a lot of Graffiti writers outside of some of the Legends, like Futura 2000 & Haze, get paid handsomely for their efforts.

I've had conversations with Graphic Designers, Art Directors and Animators and do you know one of the most common things that comes flying out all of their mouths during a conversation? (Paraphrasing) "I always ask people first, 'Well can you draw?' And they typically say 'No'." That's crazy right? Not that we all SHOULD be able to draw, but it's one of those things that improve skill greatly and separate the real from the not-so-real. For example, we all love Pixar, but the majority of the guys that do those movies are traditional animators. They get hired on because of their skills with the pencil, then Pixar teaches them how to use their in-house crafted / generated software programs. Or here's a good graphic design one. Milton Glaser's, THE Graphic Design God, his favorite thing to do is Draw and Paint.

DW: Well drawing is becoming a bit of a lost art.

KG: And that's a shame to me, 'cause it should count for a lot. That was all I had for many years, before I touched a computer, from the time I was very young; Mama used to take us places, bring a notepad and some pens, and be like "I got business to handle, go over there, sit down and get busy...' Ha ha ha. So before I'm a designer, I'm an artist; the way I came up and my main influences were mostly fine artists. Comic Book Artists, Animators, Illustrators, etc.

On a personal level, I LOVE design, but I'm not sure if I'd love it like I do without first possessing a love for drawing; being the little dude sitting in class getting in trouble for drawing Heathcliff and Fat Albert instead of paying attention. Or flipping' out on Pedro Bell and Overton Lloyd on the P-Funk covers in Mama's record collection.

DW: Yeah. Well, the hand skills is an important tool to have. Cey Adams used to teach em that all the time especially in terms of designing logos.

KG: That's dope to hear. Cey's a real legend in the game; crazy inspiring dude. The Drawing Board crew brought forth a lot of great work, and a lot of brilliant designers, like Mr. Darius Wilmore; look him up right NOW!


Kaseem Greene is a Graphic Artist / Illustrator based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

He was born in Oakland, California in 1979. His love for drawing began at an early age

when he discovered the Parliament-Funkadelic album covers in his mother’s record collection.

Largely self-taught, Kaseem began his career designing flyers in the San Francisco Nightclub

scene. He currently maintains a thriving freelance design business, creating t-shirt graphics,

packaging, logos and spot illustrations with clients ranging from Corporate to Creative. Some of

Kaseem’s notable clients include Ubiquity Records, Latchkey Recordings, Graphis Inc., Ninja Tune

Records and now 2K by Gingham. His work has appeared in Design Is Kinky’s Semi-Permanent

2008 book, and on MTV’s ‘Run’s House’. He is obsessed with hand-drawn typography and is in

constant search of the perfect lemonade.

To see more of his work, please e-mail him @


A pervious post here on the StereoTyped blog gave some exposure to some of the illustration work of Artist/illustrator/professor John Jennings, Associate Professor of Graphic Design, Chair of the Graphic Design program, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prof. Jennings who, dedicated to exploring and teaching students about the relationship between visual communications and music (especially rap), teaches a class on the visual culture of Hip Hop. We found his MF Doom face mask design student assignment and final student work inspiring and interesting.

According to Artist/illustrator/professor John Jennings,

"These images are of MF DOOM's mask. It's a project that I designed for my VISUAL CULTURE OF HIP HOP course. The mask is used as an artifact for a series of form studies."

The artwork of DOOM can be seen below.


Gift of Gab's "Escape to Mars" album packaging design and illustration by the Drunk Park Studio.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


"hip hop culture has taken things considered garbage, has rescued them and
taken things that have been considered dispensable and made them indispensable"


Hip Hop Meets Architecture

As a graduate student in Cultural Studies at the University of Minnesota, Craig Wilkins was struck by how people define space at hip hop raves. In the midst of dance, human presence defines architecture, not the other way around.

An avid dancer, Wilkins hung out at raves in the Minneapolis area when Prince was rising in popularity. He was fascinated with how music and dancing creates an identity and function for space.

"hip hop culture has taken things considered garbage, has rescued them and taken

things that have been considered dispensable and made them indispensable,"

"No matter how many different kinds of people come to a rave, there's a moment in that rave where everybody's on the same page. Everybody's in the same place, whether that place is in a warehouse, an open field… I'm like, man that's a phenomenal, wonderful thing. Are there any other ways that can happen? How might I be able to make that architectural? Basically what architects do is shape space. If music can help create space and can help create identity, what kind of identity would a hip hop space make?"

Fast forward 20 years, Wilkins is in Detroit, a professor of architecture at the University of Michigan and the director of the university's Detroit Community Design Center. He dances less, but retains an appreciation of hip hop and the notion that human activity defines architecture, not the other way around.

Wilkins, an African American in a field representing few like him, has combined his hip hop ideas with mentoring young African-American students in an innovative book, "The Aesthetics of Equity," published last year by the University of Minnesota Press. A manifesto on hip hop architecture for professionals and students that challenges the traditional view of architecture and its inclusion of African Americans, the book is written in two voices – that of a scholar and a student. The hip-hop sections tend to be shorter and wittier, but no less complete than the academic sections, written in proper scholarly rhetoric.

Born in the poverty of the Bronx, "hip hop culture has taken things considered garbage, has rescued them and taken things that have been considered dispensable and made them indispensable," he says. The use of turntables and scratchy LPs, at a time when CDs were defining recorded sound, became a laboratory of sound. "What they did was rescue the turntable, and they used it in a way that it was not designed for. The turntable is a passive instrument. You play a record on it. They used in a diametrically opposed way. It's an active instrument now."

Culturally, hip hop created an avenue for "dispensable" people to become "indispensable." To get out of the Bronx, "you either had to be shockingly brilliant, which is almost impossible to do with the quality of the schools, or you had to be physically talented; you had to be a basketball player, a football player, something. ... Hip hop changed the rules. You could take a cassette player, go in the basement of your parent's house and rap all day, come out and sell it and become an entrepreneur. And eventually you sell it to a record company and how you become a recording artist. From there you become yet another kind of entrepreneur."

"Some of their edgy styles and use of raw materials, whether they admit it or not, (has) urban feel, urban character."

Wilkins reasons that you can also make "dispensable" material "indispensable" in architecture. "(Hip hop) had huge possibilities in terms of sustainability ... If it can be realized, it is groundbreaking. It would bring together all of the things I want to do in my architectural career -- not only doing aesthetically pleasing work but do work that means something beyond the fact that it is a beautiful object; it addresses a critical, meaningful concern.

"We don't bulldoze buildings like we used to, because that just creates waste. We now deconstruct buildings so we can those materials again. The entire argument for sustainability comes out of the hip hop mentality. What sustainability is about is using things in an efficient manner, rethinking how material gets used and how material gets made.

"What we've come to understand about space is a very Cartesian (philosopher Rene Descartes) view of space – this wide, that long…that abstract notion of space. Hip hop space is not like that at all. Hip hop space is a space that only becomes a space when people are in it; when people interact with it.

"How do we know we are in a classroom? From a Lockean (philosopher John Locke) perspective, we know we're in four walls that have defined the space… from a hip hop perspective, those things don't matter. The reason you know you're in a classroom is because there is a teacher and a student and they are interacting…and that teacher, in that interaction, can become the student, as the student can become a teacher."

Wilkins' connection between architecture and music is both traditional and innovative, says Kenneth Crutcher, president of the Detroit Chapter of the National Organization for Minority Architects and adjunct lecturer at Lawrence Technological University. Architecture, he says, has been referred to as "frozen music." What's different is that Wilkins says hip hop not only defines the artistic appearance of a structure, but the function of its design. Most significant, hip hop "is an African American invention." Our perception of space and aesthetics are based on Western tradition, he says, concurring with Wilkins. "To apply an African American art form like hip hop to architecture is significant."

Crutcher, whose architecture firm, Crutcher Studio, designed Lola's restaurant in Harmony Park/Paradise Valley, says that hip hop has permeated culture on all levels and has become a universal music genre. Many architects have drawn their ideas from hip hop, though few may have noticed. "Some of their edgy styles and use of raw materials, whether they admit it or not, (has) urban feel, urban character."

As an educator, Crutcher also appreciates Wilkins' effort to write the book in a student dialect. Chapter 4, "Space-Action," is required reading in his design studio. The concept of space being taught when he was a student was not something familiar to Crutcher's experience growing up in Detroit. "There was no translation. You had to do a lot of reading and some of it didn't make sense" Wilkins explains that "this is what the professor will say to you and this is what he's really saying."

In the "Remix" section of Chapter 4, Wilkins writes: "So dig. There is another way of looking at space, eh? Who knew? Actually, there is a shit load of ways, but first, let's look at ol' Lockey (John Locke) boy again. He really believes that the only way we can know space is to touch it or see it. That's an interesting point – but is that really true?"

Although Wilkins' book is directed to African American students and colleagues, it has a universal quality. "A lot of the themes I talk about in the book are beyond people of color," he says.

"a rupture in the dance is necessary,"

"When you talk about the way in which we are taught to see the world … it allows for certain things to happen and it excludes certain things. When I talk about looking at space as designers – not from an abstract perspective but from an engaged perspective, a real perspective that puts people at the center of the creation of space, not on the periphery of the space, that transcends color; it has nothing to do with color.

"What it comes down to, as a designer, what do you think your responsibility is? Is it to the form of the building or the people who inhabit it? Is it to the client who pays for the building or is it society that has to interact with that building? Those things have no color."

If architecture abruptly changes, like break dancing, this could be a moment where "a rupture in the dance is necessary," says Wilkins. "The old solutions no longer apply. Our problems at this time are different. Architecture should be about that, about responding to society now, all of society, for the future."

In a place like Detroit, where there hasn't been much building going on lately, and many questions loom about its economic and social future, Craig Wilkins projects a street-smart prophetic vision: "Let's get started ... It's gonna be a lil' sumpin' sumpin' special."


TUESDAY, MAY 12, 2009

Dennis Archambault lives in Detroit and writes for Model D. Send feedback here.