Artists Profile: Jeff Curcio Nov/Dec 2017

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Title: Architectural Renderer, Owner of Point Of View, LLC | Age: 68

How long have you been doing this and what led you down this career path?
As I was growing up I was constantly drawing and loved art projects. But when I entered college I floundered with general art courses. A wise professor recognized this and suggested I look into some design-oriented paths. I switched over to Architectural Design and was surprised to learn that most assignments included doing renderings in perspective and color to show the instructor we could visualize the final design. While most of the class groaned at the notion of drawing, I was ecstatic. As a professional Interior Designer, I would get requests from my colleagues to produce some for their presentations. I made the decision to turn renderings into a business, and now I’m in my 36th year.

You have created a business around what can be considered a “lost art” in the architecture world. How did computers change the demand for hand-drawn architectural renderings?
I graduated in 1978 B.C. (Before Computers) so for me personally it was many years before Computer Aided Design (CAD) started to encroach on the hand-drawn market. As personal computers got more sophisticated with 3D capabilities, it seemed like everyone was getting into the act. This took some of my business away, but not enough to lure me away from the pencil. I also realized that even though the demand for hand-drawn images diminished somewhat, the recognition of the benefits and importance of renderings increased throughout the design industry.

And as you can attest, a lot of businesses and organizations still want that hand-drawn “look.” Why?
CAD generates an almost too photo-realistic representation for the design concept. As a significant part of design presentations, clients get more excited looking at a visual that has an artistic look. Another advantage to the hand-drawn method comes when the design is still in the conceptual stage. Computers can only convey specifics where art has imagination and can fill in the blanks.

Do you still love it just as much as when you started?
Absolutely. I consider what I do as providing a service to the architecture community. The ultimate satisfaction comes when the client regards my drawings as an essential part of their design process. I have a photograph of a CEO giving the press corps a tour of a new hotel during construction and carrying a stack of my renderings to show what each space will ultimately look like. That’s pretty rewarding.

What types of renderings have you drawn for clients over the years?
There are quite a few renderers who specialize in exterior building art, but few concentrate on interiors as I do. But that doesn’t limit the subjects that I’m asked to produce, especially in the commercial field. Hotel jobs usually include lobbies, restaurants, bars, guestrooms, pool areas, etc. Museum exhibits and custom trade show booths are always a treat because there’s usually a lot of fantasy involved. Of course, I always look forward to the house drawings for homeowners who want their dream home in art. Some realtors even give them as appreciation gifts to clients for choosing them to list their home.

Which ones are your favorite to do? Any drawing in particular you are the most proud of?
A real sense of pride comes from doing local projects, like when I saw my rendering of the Lynchburg College Drysdale Student Center on a couple of billboards. I’m especially proud of how the exterior of the new Lynchburg Humane Society building turned out, not to mention several views of the Randolph College Student Center and several financial institutions. My favorite ones happen when I can look at the design elements I’m given to render and instantly know if I feel a connection to the space and would like to visit it after it’s built.

Tell us how the process goes when you work with a client, from start to finish.
It all begins when a designer or architect gives me their design package that includes blueprints of the room or building, photos of furnishings and material samples. They indicate the viewpoint they’d like to show, and I visualize what all these pieces of the puzzle will look like as a final design. I email the drawing in stages for their input just to make sure they don’t have any second thoughts about their design. Perspective drawings have a way of revealing surprises even to the designer.

And computers can make things a lot easier at times, right?
Before computers I was creating renderings directly on illustration boards big enough for presentations, making changes and design revisions nearly impossible. Being able to scan the original to digital format, I can render a change if necessary in a separate drawing then cut and paste it onto the original. I consider this a supplement to my mixed media creation. And of course, emailing drawings saves me from delivery issues and connects me with clients all over the country I’ve never met—and they receive them instantly. In addition, as a digital image the client has the ability of sending the art conveniently to printing services to reproduce them in sizes from a billboard to a brochure.

What types of mediums do you use when creating a rendering?
Markers are my primary tool, and accents are made with colored pencils. In school, they teach the mechanics of creating perspective, but not how to render. I got my hand on every rendering book I could and studied different techniques and styles and marker seemed to be a good fit for me. Marker manufacturers have come a long way since the “Magic Marker” days, and now offer hundreds of colors and tones that give me more realism and flexibility. I’ve been able to develop a wash effect that many clients mistakenly identify as watercolor. And that’s all right with me!

What advice would you have for someone wanting to enter this field?
Expect to put any artistic ego aside. Realize not all design projects to be rendered are award winners, but treat them as though they are. My job is to convey the vision of the designer in the most aesthetically effective means and in the least amount of time possible. Having a design background helps in understanding the designer’s development process, but that also means accepting the constant revisions that occur throughout the drawing creation with grace.
How can readers get in touch with you?

My website: povrenderings.com or Facebook: facebook.com/povrenderings

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