Patrick T. Kerr sketches Seattle

Architects today seldom hunch over drafting tables andT-squares – they create on computers, like most of us. But some ofthem miss the tactile sensation of drawing lines on paper andgiving life to forms directly, through their hands. The old way,somehow, seems more like art.

And it’s art, decidedly, that Seattle architect Patrick T. Kerrcreates to sell in his small Pike Place Market gallery. Hispen-and-ink drawings of Seattle landmarks buzz with energy thatgrows out of meticulous, uncanny detailing. He’d draw at themolecular scale if he could.

“Most of [the drawings] have taken a couple of years to finish,”Kerr says. “I have four kids, and I’m lucky to be able to squeezein an hour or two on the drafting board at night.”

Kerr does it the hard way. For his portrait of the city’sItalian Renaissance revival-style St. James Cathedral, he parkedhis van nearby “about 100 times,” sketching the raw forms andjuggling proportions until he was satisfied. At home, working fromphotographs, he inked in the building’s lavish ornamentation.Because the work is so intensive, he never sells his originals.Except for some fantasy-futurist skylines that regress to hischildhood absorption with comic books, most of the drawingscelebrate Seattle landmarks: the cathedral, the Space Needle, SmithTower, Husky Stadium.

Remarkably, Kerr says he suffers from attention-deficitdisorder, but his passion for architecture is so compelling that hecan stare at a building for hours, mentally dissecting it. Thenagain, maybe that attention to detail is something he was bornwith. “My room was always spotless,” he says. “I was a prettydisciplined kid.” – Lawrence Cheek

Kerr for collectors

Prints of drawings by Patrick T. Kerr are sold at Pike PlaceMarket #323 (206/903-0993).

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