Todd Lynch ’05
Artist & Landscape Designer, Ecotropy
Current Vocation: Artist & Landscape Designer, Ecotropy landscape design
What were you doing before you applied to the Conway School?
In the years before Conway, I was immersed in making site-specific land art with found materials (both manufactured and from nature) that illustrated social, ecological and aesthetic narratives relevant to specific places.
What brought you to Conway?
At the presentations and information sessions, I was struck by the supportive yet demanding atmosphere of the school. Instructors had found the right balance of having high expectations and a humane approach to their students. I also appreciated that the majority of the students I met were (and still are) independent thinkers inspired by the love of landscape and a commitment to thinking creatively about design challenges in the world around us.
Imagine we just met, and recognized we had common interests. How would you describe Conway to me?
Conway is a place where you can steep yourself in your creative design problem solving methodology. You are given the framework of projects across scales and the support of a talented (and patient) faculty, to initiate and explore a process that you can implement in many professional and creative situations after you graduate.
What advice do you have for someone just starting out in the field?
Listen to your intuition and take the time to be clear about what you want.
What are you doing right now, and what do you love about it?
I recently began a collaboration with the National Park Service in Springfield, MA to develop educational programming around ecological systems and the creative process for the Springfield public schools. We have our first session scheduled for spring 2018. It’s a true gift to share my passions for art, ecology and landscape with children and to witness their imaginations take flight when they connect science and art.
List one or more books that you find influential in the field of ecological design and/or planning.
The books that stand out to me are Views of Nature by Alexander von Humbolt, and the Granite Garden by Anne Whiston Spirn.
What book changed your life?
The book that changed my life is A River Sutra by Gita Mehta. I love that it is a collection of stories that somehow all intertwine and that the unifying element is the River. A theme of connection and engagement in our lives is especially poignant for me during this time we live in currently.
What is your favorite tool?
My favorite tool is the draft/matic pencil. So simple, so many ways to employ it and I never have to sharpen it.
What blogs or podcasts do you recommend? Particular posts or episodes?
I enjoy following Piet Oudolf on instagram.
How do you think ecological design and planning can help make positive change?
Ecological design and planning respects the complexities and the poetry of ecological systems. When done well, it illustrates the connections we share to the many hidden process going on all around us at all times in the world. In so doing, it has the possibility of lifting our souls and respecting our planet.
Which aspects of your Conway education do you use in your current work?
That methodology I alluded to earlier is the most salient feature of my Conway education I use everyday. Listening to the design challenge, assessing what is happening through informed observation, and responding with appropriate interventions carries me through my art and landscape practice.