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APSU alumna's illustrations featured in The New York Times

Kaylie Fairclough(Posted on Monday, May 22, 2023)

Austin Peay State University (APSU) alumna Kaylie Fairclough regularly shares her artwork on social media, but she recently found a new platform when The New York Times commissioned her to create four illustrations for a widely read opinion piece.

Fairclough’s work was published as part of a story centered on increased office vacancies in the aftermath of COVID-19, and the job was a natural fit with her career as an architectural illustrator.

“It was an incredible feeling,” said Fairclough, who graduated from APSU’s art program in 2016. “To be published in the New York Times is like a dream come true for me, and I would love to be able to get into more publications. I hope my work inspires people to learn about architecture, see the world and experience different cultures.”

Fairclough has established herself as an artist in New York over the last four years by creating renderings of office spaces, apartment complexes and even the Chrysler Building. She said the Times reached out to her in February after seeing samples of her work on Reddit.

“They were just waiting for a piece that would relate to my art,” she said. “When the piece came up about the vacancies in office buildings, they contacted me … I did four different illustrations, and I started out by looking at lots of pictures on the internet. They wanted drawings of other buildings [from outside New York], so I spent a lot of time researching the buildings and sketching out the proportions to get it right.”

Fairclough’s illustrations depicted iconic structures like the Empire State Building and Willis Tower as reference points for the number of empty office spaces in metropolitan areas.

“When I was little, I always used to draw perspective stuff with skyscrapers and buildings, so I think it’s something that’s progressed through my entire life,” she said. “Drawing is something I’ve always enjoyed, so when I graduated high school and didn’t know what I really wanted to do, I decided to try out an art degree.”

As a Clarksville native, Fairclough decided to attend Austin Peay after hearing positive feedback about the Department of Art + Design and its professors.

“It definitely helped me understand the foundations of art with proportions and developing depth through contrast,” she said. “But I think the biggest thing for me was the community, and my time there was really special. They had all these live-in studios, and there was a lot of freedom and time to get to know the other students. We’d hang out, express ideas to each other and collaborate, and it was just a really good space for growing.”

Fairclough initially focused on mediums like printmaking and ceramics before rediscovering a passion for architecture during her senior year.

“I went with a study abroad program to Italy right after I graduated, and I stayed there for about six months,” she said. “Then I traveled around different countries [in Europe] for close to two years … seeing all the different styles of architecture and cultures out there in different countries made me really excited to draw as much as I could, architecturally.”

Moving forward, Fairclough hopes to grow her audience further and take on new commissions in order to promote an appreciation for architecture.

“I would love to get into more publications and have some [more] gallery shows here in the city,” she said, noting that she was previously part of a gallery show in Manhattan. “It would be great if my work inspired people to learn about architecture, see the world and experience different cultures.”