JENNIFER NEWSOM + TOM CARRUTHERS

Dark Matter

a mixture of the unknown and the tangible - by Jennifer Newsom

Mentors, Part I

There are a number of people who have floated in and out of my life, providing real mentorship or simply dropping one-sentence phrases that have lodged in my mind. Some of these people are "famous," others are in professions where their accomplishments are less known. All of them are spectacular people, if for only having made an impact on my life.

To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.  - Brandi Snyder (who?? ha ha ha. is that even right? readers, please weigh in. . .)

I think I should start a running list of people - just changed the title of this post to "Mentors, Part I". To begin:

Lesley Naa Norle Lokko was the keynote pseaker for my conference at Yale School of Architecture in 2004 titled, Black Boxes: Engimas of Space & Race. She and I also touched base when I was living in London working at Adjaye Associates. Funnily enough, Ms. Lokko had just gotten her first book deal (she is now known as a successful fiction writer), so my event may have been one of the last architectural things she did. As I am now questioning my role as an architect and where I want to go professionally, she seems like a logical person to get back in touch with. Her keynote was fabulous - and a true inspiration to architectural students of color and white students alike. Watch this space for information on how to learn more about Black Boxes - workin' on it!

Walter Hood is a landscape architect whose path I crossed while working on Black Boxes. He is wonderful - gregarious, inspiring, and smart. While we were discussing the long path to become a licensed architect, he asked me why I felt I "needed" to get my license. I said something about finishing what I started and that "no one can take it away from me." To which he disagreed saying it certainly could be taken away (perhaps by having the passion pulled out of it) and probed me to question the urgency, necessity, and root of my desire. I have thought a lot about this, especially as I struggle to learn about dual-duct variable air-conditioning. . . Ha.

The mental list is growing growing growing - to come: David Adjaye, Dr. Cornel West, Milton Curry, Cynthia Newsom, O. Jerome Newsom (yep, my parents certainly make the cut!), Peter Eisenman (I'll explain), and more. . .