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I was an art kid, for lack of a better term. And I grew up in a construction family: my dad is a superintendent, his father worked in construction, and now both my brothers and sister are superintendents. I would go with my father to job sites and I found that I was drawing or painting buildings. I liked the structural aspect and seeing things that were big — as a kid, that scale was really cool.
I went to school for architecture and was in Florence, Italy, for about a year to get my master’s degree. When I was traveling in Europe, instead of taking a picture, I liked to do a quick sketch. I found that I looked at things differently when I did that. I saw new details and got a different view when I analyzed the building for the sake of a sketch.
My interest in painting, drawing and sketching merged with what I'm doing now when I was working on the Somerville High School project. I would doodle as I was walking the perimeter, then I put those into pencil and ink sketches. I wanted to add color to it, and watercolor made it so I could layer in the colors without losing the lines and the quality of the sketch.
I shared that painting with my team and it eventually ended up in the hands of the mayor. It was a gift to him to signify the closeout of the project, and since then I've painted a few other Suffolk projects. I've been giving all my original pieces away. It’s become a symbolic handoff from the technicalities of construction — all the parts and pieces that go into creating a building — to something that has the character the end user experiences.
I liked the structural aspect and seeing things that were big — as a kid, that scale was really cool.
A lot of clients are surprised that somebody on our team is producing these, which is flattering. This has always just been a hobby of mine, and it's my first experience making my work public. So, all this is kind of new for me.
Kyle Regis is a project manager at Suffolk. His most recent work is on display at Suffolk's headquarters in Roxbury, Mass.
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