The Professor: Chip Sullivan, Landscape Architect

Info

Produced by 716 Productions, Inc.

Running time 48 minutes

Format DVD

About

 

Have you ever had a teacher whose enthusiasm was infectious? Who made you feel your ideas were valuable? Whose presence vibrated with possibilities for seeing and understanding the world? Well even if you haven't, you're in luck. Experience the story of Chip Sullivan, a professor in the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department at the University of California at Berkeley. Peabody and two-time Emmy Award winning director/editor Allan Holzman, captures the essence of this remarkable person's life on film.

 

Chip progresses from a curious kid who liked to play with trains, to an adolescent drawn to the down-home, seedy aspects of culture (pool halls, tattoo parlors), through to his twenties, informed by the transcendental kaleidoscope of the writings of the likes of Gurdjieff, Rudolf Steiner and Kerouac, followed by the spiritual quests of the 70's, as epitomized by Carlos Castaneda and fascination with the Hopis, dreams, and indigenous and authentic cultures. What stands out here is how Sullivan has expressed these investigations of his early life through his love of drawing, design and teaching.

 

Chip Sullivan is a twinkly-eyed Professor, brimming over with ideas and knowledge, nurturing those who enter his studio and classroom, both with generosity and a genuine ability to see how each person may be able to contribute to the beauty and mystery of the world. The film's final proclamation from Chip, "If it is impossible, then it can be done!" sums up a remarkable teacher's way of being. Chip’s fresh faced approach embodies the joy of making art. One of the distinct pleasures of the piece is the professor's take on the history of perspective in painting, illustrated by series of simple frames, showing how foreground, background and light have been used to create differing perspectives. His cartoon-like graphics bring us immediately inside the fun he has in revealing how landscape painting has evolved over time (it was film before film). He takes delight in a world requiring the European plein air painters of earlier centuries.

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