Bear Pause: Joe Kyle '14

Joe Kyle ʼ14 is an artist and designer from St. Paul, currently pursuing a Master in Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. When he’s not working on a studio project, Joe enjoys running, hosting friends for dinner and reading El Croquis. 

Q: What is your earliest childhood memory? 
A: I distinctly remember as a very young child climbing to the top of the playset in my backyard and attempting to touch the telephone wires above. I survived, but only due to an attentive caregiver and a very prompt time-out. 

Q: If you had an extra hour of free time a day, how would you spend it? 
A: I would let them accumulate throughout the week and spend seven hours of my Sunday painting. Is that cheating? 

Q: What are your three favorite smells? 
A: Oil paint (especially the toxic stuff). Cobalt and cadmium—yum. 
The corner of Snelling and Grand in St. Paul. The mixture of Dunn Bros. coffee roasting and warm Breadsmith bread is almost biblical. 
My 2002 Gold Ford Explorer Sport. It’s an old car with a lot of issues, but I don’t think I could ever part with it. It has a unique smell that somehow grounds me wherever I am. 

Q: When was the last time you were nervous? 
A: Architecture school reviews are high-pressure endeavors. Students must present their work to a jury of distinguished professors and guest critics. Despite enduring over a dozen during my first year in architecture school, they haven’t become any easier—my final spring review was just as nerve-racking as my first. 

Q: What teacher inspired you the most? Why? 
A: I’ve had many inspiring teachers throughout my academic and professional careers. Blake’s Bill Colburn [ʼ88], however, holds a special place in my journey as an artist. He modeled a quiet, enduring enthusiasm for artistic practice and was a comforting mentor both during and after my time at Blake. 

Q: What is your favorite family tradition? 
A: Despite our busy schedules growing up, my family ate dinner together almost every night. I don’t think I realized then how special this was, but I understand now how it contributed to my own values. 

Q: What is your dream job? 
A: Being a graduate student, I frequently ask myself this question. I don’t know the answer yet, but I think I would like to work as an architect on a variety of scales and building typologies (and hopefully have enough time to continue painting on the side). 

Q: Who is your hero? 
A: Anthony Bourdain. He embodied what it means to live with eyes wide open and truly, truly listen to others. His death was a tragedy, and I miss him dearly. 

Q: What is the most fun you’ve had this week? 
A: As is customary after a big review, last week, my architecture studio went out for ramen and drinks. It’s been lovely getting to know my classmates in person after a year of remote school. 

Q: Do you collect anything? 
A: There are so many things I want to collect—books, art, furniture etc. Unfortunately, I move around a lot and collecting is nearly impossible (especially when you need to fit your life into a 2002 Ford Explorer Sport). Friendships, however, don’t take up much physical space, so I try to hold on to as many as I can.