June 9, 2015
To: Tessa Lynch
Cc: Corrie Baldauf

Hi Tessa,

I hope things are going well, I understand if you're still working on getting things sorted. But I wanted to introduce you to a great artist who works in Detroit. Her name is Corrie Baldauf - you can see her work here

Tessa meet Corrie. She is a Kresge Fellow and an alumni of Cranbrook Academy of the Arts where we met through very good mutual friends. She makes very touching work and is good at getting a bunch of people excited to talk about art. Corrie is one of the hardest working people I know, a great artist and generally a great person. She was really open too to having some kind of dialogue between artists in both places and as both of us are ridiculously enthusiastic people at times I'm sure whatever happens will be very interesting.

Corrie meet Tessa. She is an artist that has pulled off one amazing workshop after another. Her work can be very involved while making it look really easy and she is unbelievably down to earth for all of her momentum. I know her because we were in the same MFA year in Glasgow and she was one of the most supportive peers while at the school and she would give me heaps of inspiration with how she approaches making her work and how unexpected it can be once it's made.

You are both connected. It would be wonderful if you both end up e-mailing each other or something that could be recorded. I hope you can find a way to get in touch if possible.


June 12, 2015
Tessa Lynch --> Corrie Baldauf

Hi Corrie,

Happy to be digitally introduced by Cedric.

(I'm also ccing Cedric into this thread as I think he is interested in recording dialogue between Glasgow and Detroit based artists.)

I thought I'd start a conversation by sending you the proposal I put forward for Over, Over, Over , the upcoming show that Cedric is curating at Simone De Sousa Gallery.

"Tessa Lynch - I predominantly make work in response to my immediate environment which I identify as a shifting/negotiated space made up of: the built environment, life logistics, part time work, financial commitments and human interactions.

Detroit is not easily imagined: a distant place the average Scottish resident would find hard to point to on a map, trace in cinematic history or define through its politics, ones only touch point perhaps being it's "motor city" moniker. As such, I will work with an approximated/fictionalised version of the city, a landscape woven together from imagery, news snippets and factoids provided through shared online interactions with Detroit based curator/ writer Steve Panton. Taking these interactions as my "immediate environment" and site for making. The resulting work will be a sculptural installation based on how I might live and work if based in Detroit. I will produce an approximated studio set up exhibiting motif-like sculptures alluding to my imagined daily life. Sculptures will be made by transforming hand drawn imagery to 3d form using digital routering technology, the visibility of the artists' hand in the work emphasising the fictive scenario."

I am unfortunately not able to make the trip out to Detroit now, so the work I'm making has changed quite a bit but the basic "approximated/fictionalised" elements will remain and probably be more prevalent as I won't actually see Detroit for real!

I am currently working on a series of drawn imagery that imagine Detroit. The resulting works will be digitally cut out sculptural and vinyl works looking a bit like these -

So with all this in mind I thought I'd mainly pose a few questions to you, if that's ok?(sorry this is a bit of a splurge, you don't have to answer everything.)

  • How would you describe the emotional impact of the built environment in Detroit? On your life and maybe art work?

  • How does Detroit, as a city, function/feature in your work, eg I'm thinking of the lovely Filters work you've done.

  • How would you describe the political mood of the city in 2015?

  • Are there any buildings/ specific sites in Detroit that you draw inspiration from/ find particularly interesting in terms of your practice?

  • How do you operate as an artist, do you have a part time job that you balance alongside making?

  • How would you describe your strategies for art making? - Do you respond to site? Research? Do you have a "go to" medium?

  • Where do you make work? What can you see from the window?

Ok I could go on, but I think I will stop there. I hope that some of your answers may go on to help produce the drawings I'm working on.

Best wishes


Corrie Baldauf --> Tessa Lynch

Hi Tessa, so good to be introduced to you through Cedric. I thought so many things while reading your letter.

And--the attachments, SO AMAZING! I have a term called the 'aesthetic of function' and another called 'memory marks.' I play a game where I look for examples for terms, and that couch with the attachments does both.

Thanks for writing me with questions. I'll paste them here and answer below. I can clarify if you would like me to describe anything in more detail. Also, would you be interested in answering your same questions? I like the idea to compare our answers with the questions as the constant and the answers may be the variables?

How would you describe the emotional impact of the built environment in Detroit? On your life and maybe art work?

  • The built environment comes with a range of emotions. Woodward was the first road that went through the Metropolitan Detroit area. My house is just outside of downtown, near the Eastern Market (bustling, bombinating frenzies of people gather here from everywhere on Saturdays) and Lafayette Park (calm buildings stretch along the edge of the park and spear into the sky--luxury swimming pool meets crimped mini blinds in the neighboring tower like buildings designed by Mies).

  • Downtown, and the first spot to pick up Woodward is about a half mile from the areas I described. The Downtown area is dense, clean and currently filled with effort to rebuild the rail (we have very little public transportation--so this is amazing). I especially like seeing the dirt get piled into a constellation of spots along the rail. Cedric taught me about angles of repose, which I love! Perhaps somehow related to your attachments.

  • Then, driving out of Downtown, the landscape leaps from tall to low and lacy. There are billboards that hold know board, just there own frame. Graffiti leads to large old houses that were built to house the successes of a past Detroit. Two of my friends, Chris Lee and Amy Feigley Lee, started renovating one in 2008. 
    Leaving the city, the tops of buildings are open, walls crushed in. Almost like the buildings are looking for air and light before walls.

    Continue down Woodward:

  • Ferndale (holistic, artistic, colorful and refreshingly liberal for the midwest). the buildings are dotted with rainbow Pride flags.

  • Berkley (music, cigarettes and the smell of quesadillas waft from the buildings there).


  • Birmingham (designer jeans hang dring in some of the windows from the singularly tall 555 building--the rest hug the ground with happy hours and tailoring.

  • Bloomfield Hills (nothing is viewed in the yards or windows), other than manicured lawns and trees and a quick friendly hello from old money folks. Cranbrook hides amongst a series of hand built hills designed by Saarinen. 
    Pontiac (a forgotten edge of Metropolitan Detroit, the turn around point for the Dream Cruise that happens on Woodward every year. An attempt to keep two lanes for day traffic and two for collector cars. Really cars are like buildings here, though the windows can be rolled up.

How does Detroit, as a city, function/feature in your work, eg I'm thinking of the lovely Filters work you've done.

The buildings are frames, the landscape makes compositions between and inside of these frames. I make smaller frames and think of them housing conversations and temporarily, people.
It is exciting to the point that I need a lot of solo refueling time.

How would you describe the political mood of the city in 2015?

Determined. I think the rail being rebuilt is one of the most active stances that each class is participating in. People without cars have been strangled by the lack of public transportation. People with cars are sitting in traffic.

Are there any buildings/ specific sites in Detroit that you draw inspiration from/ find particularly interesting in terms of your practice?

The Brewster Douglas Projects were torn down last summer, that space where they were still holds a presence without visual height. I've been thinking about that a lot.

How do you operate as an artist, do you have a part time job that you balance alongside making?

I teach art at a university here. Learning while I teach to inform what is happening in my art. Managing large groups of people is not natural for me, so it feels like a performance almost every time. I enjoy class by turning lectures into conversations. Fortunately I need art more than I need teaching so I make the whole thing into art. Especially the drive, this is where I get the most ideas. 

How would you describe your strategies for art making? - Do you respond to site? Research? Do you have a "go to" medium?

  1. colors

  2. people

  3. provisional or mobile arrangements

Where do you make work? What can you see from the window?

Oh! looks like I just answered this one. I do have a studio, but work more and more in a portable way. art is my way of understanding my environment.
My rooms windows face into our loft, because it used to be an office. I think it has turned out to be a surprisingly good way to get sleep and stay warm. Though we have one skylight that we gather under in our main room and a glass door to our deck. the light from both of these is restorative.

I am returning to Detroit now, from yurt camping. Thank you for these questions. I enjoyed observing what came to my mind since I am away from home.
to your project and I look forward to hearing what you think of!



June 15, 2015
Tessa Lynch --> Corrie Baldauf

Hi Corrie,

Thanks so much for your comprehensive reply. Really descriptive, you have a lovely way with words.

I am going to reply to the same questions in a different colour and will also maybe pick up on a few things you've mentioned. I'm also enjoying the terms you mentioned in relation to the works I attached, a really helpful way to think about them.

Ok so answers below in blue.

How would you describe the emotional impact of the built environment? On your life and maybe art work?

I have just bought a flat in the old industrial heart of Glasgow, Govan. The shipbuilding district on the banks of the river Clyde.
It is a really important area in terms of Glasgow's history both it's recent industrial heritage and it's ancient history. (Strange Viking stones were unearthed there that look like strange big cocoons but are really forms that are supposed to look like viking dwellings.)

There is now just one shipyard left, run by BAE systems who have just got a commission for a new warship so the industry is just hanging on... last week I walked by the shipyards at 4pm when the shipbuilders finish for the day and there were around 40 workers that left the builders, headphones in, walking on their own in different directions. At one point this industry would have employed thousands, Govan has hugely wide pavements( sidewalks) to accommodate the footfall, and all of the local pubs and shops would have been bustling after work was done.

However, a new industry has moved in, the newly refurbished Southern General hospital which is the largest hospital in Europe, apparently 1000 NHS staff will now be commuting through Govan each day, so I'm interested to see how this may change the feel of the environment. The wide pavements are already being shaved back to accommodate an expressway for the ambulances. I wonder if the large park in the area, once a place for the shipbuilder's lunch break, will become a place of convalescence?  Another proposed change is to build a bridge that connects Govan to the wealthier West end...I'm sure this will be years in the planning. To cross at this point currently you have to get a ferry that takes around 40seconds, it just runs in the summer and is run by one man and his dog!

There are limited shops and businesses that are still open, the ones that still are cater for families on low incomes or advertise for budget criminal defence lawyers. Which is a sad reflection of affairs. But maybe when businesses and industries move out, artists move in?

Having said all this, I love living here, bright red tenement flats flank the quincunx design of Elder park, I can cycle in to town, I pay very little for a large flat, and from anywhere in Glasgow you can be at the foot of Loch Lomond, the gateway to the highlands, in 30 minutes (the scale of Glasgow is probably tiny compared to Detroit.). Glaswegians and Govanites are so friendly, people are always ready to lend a hand or offer a witty comment. Although I still have problems with some really strong accents even after 12 years of living in Scotland. (I'm from Surrey near London)

Glasgow, post-industrial decline, wasn't given much credit as a city and during the 70's a motorway system was built right through the city centre, which is really unusual for a UK city, where most city's are by-passed and the centres choreographed around important historical buildings. I feel that this makes the city a place that you really have to negotiate to get anywhere, not to mention the amount of semi private space, bollards and gates now spring up all over the place and you are not quite sure what is private or public anymore. (This is a UK wide problem.)

Steel framed buildings sit on a large grid that make up the city centre. The builders of Glasgow apparently went on to build NYC, translating the grid and expanding the height of the buildings to fit on Manhattan island. ( Probably historically inaccurate.) The city centre has three main pedestrianised shopping streets, most shops are chains that can be seen on every high street across the UK. I remember Cedric and Rachel thinking it was funny that many shops seemed named after people and sounded fairly well-to-do - eg - John Lewis, W.H.Smith. Although recently we have seen a flurry of Burger bars open up with really Americanized names - Buddy's, Five Guys etc.

Glasgow is well connected by public transport- good bus links and the subway, Locally called The Clockwork Orange. It is branded in Orange and takes a circular route underground the city. Trains take commuters in and out to satellite towns.

I would say Glasgow doesn't have a notable skyline.

(I could go on, but will stop here.)

How does Detroit, as a city, function/feature in your work

I am constantly inspired by the physically changing shape of Glasgow in terms of industry and function -eg at the moment a new college is being built on an old factory site, manual labour exchanged for education. The building is being erected with a pioneering concrete pouring system operated via satellite!  (I guess this is another thing that I am fascinated with, industrial fabrication techniques and how these can be applied to art and somehow comment on the built environment.)

In regard to framing, I like to think of the roads that carve up Glasgow and how they section it off in to smaller landscapes/ locales. ( In a film I recently watched on Barbara Hepworth, she describes "Roads as defining form" which I really like.

How would you describe the political mood of the city in 2015?

Frustrating.  There was a strong sense of disappointment following the referendum results on independence last year, Glasgow felt like a city in mourning. However this translated in to Scotland voting for a majority of Scottish Nationalist Party candidates to represent Scotland in Westminster in 2015's general election, so  there is a sense of anticipation as to what will now unfold. Glasgow City Council seem hell bent on privatising land, building luxury flats and closing down venues. Just last week The Arches, an arts, clubbing, music venue was shut down after 22 years of activity, because of drug misuse... suspiciously there is a planning application for a new hotel next door.

Are there any buildings/ specific sites that you draw inspiration from/ find particularly interesting in terms of your practice?

I really like the Palace of Art (part of the empire exhibition 1938) and the Govan Graving Docks, both visually and functionally.

How do you operate as an artist, do you have a part time job that you balance alongside making?

I work at Glasgow School of Art doing support work with students who have disabilities or injuries. So I help fabricate art work and also note take for deaf students. It is a hugely rewarding job and I love still being in the art school environment and being around undergrads is great, they have such a uninhibited attitude to art making. I also run workshops at Glasgow Sculpture Studios and do some adhoc teaching. It is a constant juggling act, but like you I try and think of these commitments as all part of my wider practice, I love interacting with other artists and makers and sometimes find this more valuable than being in the studio.

How would you describe your strategies for art making? - Do you respond to site? Research? Do you have a "go to" medium?

  1. Walking

  2. People

  3. Mimicking

Where do you make work? What can you see from the window?

I have a studio in an old whisky bond building (firstly used for storing whisky and later for growing mushrooms!) by the canal which connects Glasgow to Edinburgh. It is part of Glasgow Sculpture Studios, which comprises of studios spaces, workshops, a gallery and social spaces.

I can see the canal with some yellow/green sprays of foilage either side, a new outdoor gym that has been put on the canal path to encourage fitness in a fairly unfit Glasgow, old factory buildings cum luxury flats, 2 x large electricity pylons, 5 grey plasticy office blocks.

Sorry a bit long winded!

Tessa x

To be continued